Friday, November 13, 2009

End of the Romance: Why Mavuno is Only About the Harvest

If you recently joined Mavuno Church or were planning to, don’t cancel the membership in your current church. The grass may not be as green as it may have been purported. Being a current member of the church, you may want to listen to my reasons for raising this alarm.

Some good friends of mine have been planning to get married for a while now. They had joined Mavuno late last year, just as myself, and the lady even went through the Mizizi course. This is a 10 week 'life changing' bible course that sets you back six thousand shillings - and helps reset your faith clock. It is through this cost insensitive course that we were acquainted.

Mavuno has been marketed as the Church where one is accepted with all their blemishes and evil with the expectation that they will meet God and be transformed. After all, the doctor comes for those who are ill. This has been a source of controversy for the church whose mission is to “Turn Ordinary People into Fearless influencers of Society. I am one of the few who quickly understood this strategy in all its nobility and novelty. I have therefore been an ardent supporter of the Church. From cafeterias to parties, I have been a self appointed ambassador of Mavuno, defending the Church from false accusations from people who knew little about it and were only displaying such ignorance.

Mavuno has been the church where those who have not been going to church feel welcome. The music in church, in addition to being spiritual, is not so different from what you get at the clubs so a Sunday morning service would in fact help to relieve the hangover. The sermons are not too spiritual or so full of judgement-threats as to make the experience uncomfortable for some of us still stinking of sin. No wonder the membership has grown nearly as fast as Equity Bank and is still growing. A no discrimination policy.

But someone is sleeping on the job or if they had blinked, it was a moment too long. Some pastors have sneaked in that holier-than-thou attitude into the house of God. Someone has returned to the point of judgement and they shall hence surely be judged! After months of being faithful attendees of service, paying tithe and offerings, my good friends were denied the opportunity to be wed by a Mavuno pastor! Just when you thought church would now return the favor!

Forgive me for imagining that after all the contributions, church should be there for us during our important days like christening of children, weddings and funerals. Anniversaries, birthdays and graduations would be asking too much, even though you could get those in some churches. Just those three, for all the fundraisings, community projects and fellowships we have participated in. My friends were denied this privilege because the groom is not born again. What hypocrisy!

Forgive me further for remembering that no one has ever asked for the salvation badge when passing round the offering basket or when clearing the tithe cheques. Neither is my memory lost on the initial invitation I received to join Mavuno – that these brethren, unlike all the others, would not deny us the benefit of church based on our unbelief. That is the reason why Mavuno exists; to Church the unchurched! But I must blame myself for not reading the fine print. As they say, the devil is in the details.

I was further to learn that it would have cost the couple KSh 30,000 anyway for the pre-marital counseling and pastoral time – venue not included! I don’t want to mention a lateness fee of KSh 10,000 since no African weddings are ever late – even when the bride’s aunts have refused with her at the gate! At this rate, why not have a ‘One-partner-is-not-yet-married’ fee!?

I am mad, just like my friends were mad. I am not mad because of policy to discriminate only when it is the churches turn to give, but mad because of the deception that is the very basis of the churches success. Why allow non-believers to be members of the church in the first place if you do not find them worthy of your services? Are you only a mentorship program and does your weekly contract end after I have paid my listening fee into the basket? Should I start demanding receipts?

Their excuse: 2 Corinthians 14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?

My response: What business did Jesus have with the Samaritan woman or the adulteress? Was he insane healing people before they believed? Had he lost his mind dying for everyone even before they first accepted Him? He went against the contract - where you receive from everyone first and then you choose who to give! He gave first, then waited to receive.

I would like to send the pastor, who asked my friends to break up because one of them was not saved, back to theology school. Go back demand a refund because you were taught nothing about life. If anyone lied to you that the making of successful marriages is in the saved-ness of the spouses, they are big liars. Otherwise, no Muslim or Hindu marriages would be successful. But many are. In fact Abraham and Sarah would have had a failed marriage for they were not saved. But they didn’t. If the couple you rejected are in love, who gives you the right to speak a separation into their lives! Have you forgotten Esther’s story? What if she was meant for a time just as this? What if God’s plan for her husband shall be executed through her? But I must forgive your naivety. It must emanate from the fact that despite having a marriage counselors’ role, you are not married yourself! I hope you are at least dating otherwise you must be kept away from the teens and youth lest you mislead them with such ignorance.

Allow me to inform this pastoral novice that one pastor senior to him had overturned his decision and was willing to proceed with the wedding. But no thank you. Another church had countered the offer at a fee of KSh 5000 inclusive of pre-marital counseling and no asterix about lateness! What a deal! Mavuno has for me represented all those things that I could never find in other churches. Well, at least those things that don’t much matter. The few things it seems not to care about matter the most in any church member’s books. Birth, marriage and death. Christenings, weddings and funerals. I am squirming, imagining my pastor asking me from my casket if I am born again, and if not, boycotting the prayers to send me to a nice place in purgatory. I will not rest in peace.

I have always believed that church is big business. Grow it even more, but keep your end of the bargain. Your clients are largely non-believers in need of the aforementioned services only three days of their entire lives. It is ungentlemanly to go back on your word. Care not to find yourself at the dock on judgement day charged with misrepresentation of God’s will, guilty misunderstanding of His word. Your members may not be as brave as I, but they will judge you accordingly on this bad business decision.. We don’t want the subscriptions falling. We want to keep the word going to those who need it. Plant where you intend to harvest, Mavuno.

For my dear couple, am glad your wedding date has not changed. The Bible says that a man shall leave his parents and be joined to his wife; not leave his parent, get born again then be joined to his wife. Do not worry, it is the same God who will bless your marriage through a less conceited pastor. What God will put together, let no man ever imagine they should put asunder. May you live happily ever after.

The Tin Man.


  1. Dear Tin Man,
    I appreciate your views and you got a right to express yourself... However, i beg to differ... It was sad that the couple (one saved n' the other unsaved) were informed that Mavuno cannot partake in such alliance but i support Mavuno's cause...
    Just because Mavuno appeals to the 'unsaved' and saved alike doesnt mean that they do not have policies which govern the church... how can Mavuno preach the bible of 'do not be unequally yoked' and in the same breathe 'yoke an unequally 'yoked' couple? Just as a 'favour' because they have been attending the church n' attending mizizi/functions etc!!! My goodness, that is so exasperating!!! The kingdom of God is not about extending favours that look favourable to individuals (even while in a compromising situation) but obeying the word of God... PERIOD! It may be harsh but no one said that entering heaven was easy! Remember, its easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle in many situations than for most people to enter heaven...

    As a matter of fact, the professing believer in the relationship ought to know better than expecting the church to yoke him/her to a non-believer... how can you allow your father in law to be the devil himself and seek assurance from the church?

    Can you imagine what would happen when you have marital issues and expect the same pastor who joined you in 'holy matrimony' to counsel you using the bible as a reference point yet one of 'em does not believe in it? Can you imagine the upheaval? But anyway, i am not surprised... the bible clearly says that in the last days, people would be lovers of themselves n' would love 'to hear what their ears ache for' rather than the truth...

    Do not be deceived... a man shall reap what he sows! One professing to be a believer oughts to consider what is more critical for them... approval from God himself or from the rest of the world...

    Unfort. Mr. Tin man, you seem to speak from an uninformed platform... In a believer's realm, being 'in love' is not the only criteria for determining whether two people should be married... One's first priority (a saved person) should be whether they abide by God's word... n' the other issues follow thru... as for the issue of tithing n' paying offering... it is never forced... its out of one's free will... (so it has nothing to do with the church returning the favour)... and it aint relevant to the issue at hand...

    As for the couple, all the best and i pray that one day the 'unsaved/saved' one sees the light... n' be transformed to be a fearless influencer...

    Untinned One.

  2. Dear Untinned One,

    I applaud your loyalty either to Mavuno or to Christianity. However, as you insinuate that I speak from an uninformed point of view, I would like to make it clear, if it wasn't already, that at the time of penning the article I was a Mavunite. I am a fearless influencer and it doesn't have to be in Church. I see you invoke a new argument but before I respond, let me come to the defense of my good friends the couple. They are both believers in God, one born again the other not. Would you deter a catholic and a born again protestant to wed? You do know Catholics do not get "born again", don't you?

    On the matter of being unequally yoked, I would like with your permission to label you a Cafeteria Christian. This is a Christian who believes and observes selectively the Pauline laws, very much like selecting food from a cafeteria menu. Remember Paul was against women speaking in Church before men, why do you condone that today? Did he send another letter that only you received? An email perhaps? Eating unclean foods? Women having to cover their heads? Even the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15 allowed for debate on some principles taught by the apostles. Imagine the proposition that uncircumsised Christians are not to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they did not oblige a Jewish custom.

    So in today's general acceptance of Cafeteria Christianity so as to make religion relevant in a society that is increasingly becoming averse to religion, then you become hypocrites when you victimise individuals who have chosen their favorite principles and left the rest on the menu. If you have accepted women preachers against Paul's opinion, then it follows that you can accept "unequally-yoked" members so named by the same apostle. If today you eat meat containing blood despite the decree at the Council of Jerusalem, then where do you get the audacity to point fingers! Better still, if Jesus accepted Mary Magdalene before forgiving her and went ahead to build a long and lasing friendship envied by the apostles whoa re you to determine who is righteous and who is not.

    Paul taught in Corinthians 7:10 that according to the Lord, divorce is an absolute NO. But according to him, there may be exceptions. A Pauline privilege. How does one determine whether teaching is an opinion or directed by deity? How do you choose what to take from the menu? Mavuno seems to have changed their mind after deeper thought. Maybe someone mentioned the cafeteria menu. You remain stumped in your selective belief. I am an agnostic. Maybe even an atheist. But I am a fearless influencer just like you. When I see hypocrisy I call it what it is, especially when perpetrated by the Church.


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