By Veronica Gwaze
Zion Christian Church (ZCC) leader Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi has kicked off his yearly pastoral tours across the country to strength ties with his congregants.
The tours, running under the theme “Chiyedza Chenyeredzi yeZion”, will culminate into a massive conference set for the National Sports Stadium from March 2-4.
Bishop Mutendi said since taking over from his father 41 years ago, ZCC is entering into a new dispensation, just like the children of Israel.
“This year we are on a mission, this star must shine and so we are saying God must bless His people in this Zimbabwe, not only ZCC.
“We need to give people hope that when the star shines, it should shine with blessings just like the star that the wise men followed when they went to see baby Jesus,” said Bishop Mutendi.
“We are going to be preaching the shinning of the star and that it is the year to be doing good. We need to be asking ourselves if we have done good. This is why we are asking our followers what good they have done in their villages to help those in need.”
ZCC traces its roots to rural communities.
“The shepherd must smell the sheep and because ZCC was founded in the rural areas, its biggest population is in the rural. I as bishop have to meet every sheep before the end of every year.
“Whenever we go to Gokwe ‘Defe’, because of the larger congregation, I am unable to pray for all of the congregants.
“Hence I saw the need for these tours so that I can meet the congregants in smaller groups and even pray for them individually if the time and the size of the group permits.
“So far I have toured most of the provinces and we are looking forward to the last and most anticipated one for this year, here in Harare at the National Sports Stadium,” said Bishop Mutendi.
Bishop Mutendi said because the larger population of ZCC followers survive on agricultural activities, he always conducts his round-up tours during the rainy season so that he can personally assess how well the congregants are carrying out their agricultural activities.
“Because we teach them that to please God is to serve other people, we want to see if they are helping others in their communities as well. Charity begins at home.
“I am sure I have been in every corner of the country to meet the people, and see what they are doing, to rekindle their hope and give them assurance.
“People in the rural areas are always excited to see me but they do not know that I as well am more excited to meet them at their homes,” he said.
A number of budding ministries with popular religious leaders have developed payment systems for members to fork out money to have a one-on-one meetings with their religious leaders.
Bishop Mutendi said his tours are meant to demonstrate that his followers do not need to fork out a penny to have that encounter with him.
“During these tours, I always come back with a large file of requests, some requesting for schools, some for clinics and other facilities.
“Now we are advising them to desist from worshipping in open spaces. We are saying let’s build churches and in so doing we are also helping the community who come for prayer and healing in the church.
“We also call these churches ‘wellness centres’ because a lot of people receive help here,” he added. The Sunday Mail