By Desire Ncube
First, let the founder and face of the church spend the year away from home. Then do nothing as congregations dwindle and people lose interest. Finally, throw in a few “false prophecies”.
And it doesn’t hurt if the founder/face of the church decides to relocate permanently from the country, preferrably some 14 000km away to the United States. This formula is working well to end Kingdom Embassy Church, headed by Prophet Passion Java.
Prophet Java returned to Zimbabwe last week after conducting – by his count- 254 services in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and North America since January. While he planted churches and claimed miracles all over the world, his local church was in decline.
The Sunday Mail Religion visited some Kingdom Embassy services in the past two weeks, which were each attended by about 30 congregants under the tutelage of his prodigy, Pastor Israel Matthews.
And sources in the church said Pr Matthews – who was overseeing the ministry in Prophet Java’s absence – could take over the ministry full-time as his mentor moots migrating to the United States.
That is not all.
Congregants were left bemused when Pr Matthews made a number of “prophecies” that they simply said were off the mark. The version of prophecies – as has become the norm in modern charismatic movements – had nothing to do with people’s spiritual wellbeing.
They included a claim at an all-night prayer last week in which Pr Matthews described a library that a congregant named Vongai had in her Chitungwiza home. Vongai, looking uneasy, had to tell the pastor that her house had no library.
The silence was heavy.
“Uuum but I never missed (a prophecy) and my father never missed,” Pr Matthews said, staring at Prophet Java.
Prophet Java had arrived for the service around midnight, and introduced the pastor saying: “The man who is about to come here is my first son, my very own son, you will know that indeed he is my son because of what he will do today.
“I will leave this time for him, he will preach and later on prophesy. After him then kobva kwauya ini chibaba chacho (I will then come, the father of them all) to conclude the night.”
Soon thereafter Pr Matthews tried to convince Vongai that she perhaps she did not have a library, but at least must have somewhere – anywhere – where she stacked books in her house.
It was embarrassing. And Pr Matthews went on to deliver a few more “prophecies” that had congregants wondering what was going on and what would become of Kingdom Embassy.
“What he had done (Pr Matthews) was good, the Word was very powerful. He only missed it when he started prophesying – that was embarrassing,” a congregant said after the service.
Church members are worried.
“The major problem that we are facing is that our prophet is spending much time out of the country thereby leaving us without a shepherd,” said one lady at the all-night vigil.
“Branch rino ranetsa. People only come kana prophet varipo because hapana umwe munhu angarisimudze. And what the prophet is doing today is to raise Pastor Israel so that he leaves him heading this branch,” another said.
Prophet Java’s cellphone number was unavailable as he was said to be in South Africa at the time of going to print. The Sunday Mail