Religious Organization from a Political Perspective
I have identified to visit a local Baptist church, where I will carry out my research. The history of the Baptists churches is said to have been established in the mid 17th century. Its history and reality is explained in several theories, one of them is secessionist theory. In this theory, Baptist church traces its origin to the succession of John the Baptist.
Members are said to be properly baptized, and adhere to the principles of the Baptists. The aim of a church is a place where people gather to listen to the word of God. It is clustered to have a preacher, who is commonly termed to as the head of the church. He is followed by other denominational leaders, as well as elders. The church is subdivided into different departments, depending on its responsibility. For example, there is a division solely responsible for the development of the church, and there is another department which caters for the welfare of the choir members.
In addition there is the young, which comprises youth members, and their primary role is to cater for the cleanliness of the church and its surroundings. The church have visited was constructed in the 1980s, with the help of the sited member of parliament by then known as John Kenneth. It is since that time that this church has rooted its history in political influences. Apart from the political influence, I found it to be a church with a vision as well as mission. It has several projects in operation, and yet it is on its plan to set up others. The church has three services every Sunday, and in addition it runs other services such as peer counseling.
One of the projects the church wants to put in action is to buy a church bus. But this is still a long term plan, for it requires a lot of cash. In this particular church, there is much of political influence according to some members I talked to. Politicians find a way to get to the congregation and voice their strategies. It is evident that there is a lot of political influence in this church because some of the projects currently running have been funded by some of the politicians. One of the projects is a borehole which the church members use to get water from.
Another major influence politicians have is on electing the church leaders as well as the elders. What some of the members told me is that, a leader or an elder to be elected has to be in contactwith a political leader. The reason for this is that, when he or she is elected, he or she will have to bring a political leader to the church during fund raising, and assist in running the expenses and putting up additional projects for the church. In addition of having political interferences, the church is actively involved social responsibility. It has established a children home, which caters for those children from less privileged families, as well as the physically challenged one.
Nevertheless, there is still political interferences in running this home. As I was told by some members, there is politics in who to admit in the home. This is a challenge that the members are trying to overcome by not involving much of politics in its endeavors. Another social responsibility I noticed from the church is that, the local community uses water available in the church in cases of water shortages. The church also offers jobs to its members as a way of improving on their living standards.
The money theses people who work at the church is gotten from charities donated by privileged members, but mostly are donated by the politicians.Initially, the women did not have many activities in the church. Most of the church work was delegated to the men. This is no longer the case. Women have voiced their capability and have been given influential positions both in and outside church operations’.
Case in point, in this church where I did my research, the treasurer is a lady, and the church choir is led by a lady. In addition, on the several occasions I visited the church, I noticed most of the ushers were women. To most of the members, they loved women taking part in the church proceedings because they are said to be more thorough in their activities more than men, and they happen to be more dedicated than men. This is because they have less commitment outside the church unlike men who have to interchange both the church and their family life. Women have also shown high competency and effectiveness to delivering services to the church. This is in line with a testimony I was given by one of the church elders.
He told me that women are dedicated to the development of the church more than they were perceived before. He added that, on some occasions it’s the women who conduct the whole Sunday service. Political influence has been a major debate on most of tthe meetings held by the church leaders, as well as elders. On one of my visits, I witnessed a meeting were the main agenda was eradication of politicians during sermons. The elders claimed that politicians took most of the church time campaigning, thus jeopardizing the vision and mission of the church. The mission and vision of the church is to preach the gospel to its followers.
This was being compromised by giving politicians a chance during service proceedings. As a result, they deviated the sermon to a campaign arena. The meeting did not reach the appropriate conclusion since some of the leaders were for the idea of allowing politicians, and a few were against. After the meeting I talked to one of the elders, and he attested to me that politicians were the pillar of the church, and that they had substantial effect on the church. Another reason I discovered during a visit is that, there was political influence on a land that the church wanted to buy to establish an academy.
This was politically influenced in the sense that, the proposed land was left for another which belonged to a politician, who sold it back to the chance under some conditions. On doing more investigation, I was told that the politician proposed that after building the academy, substantial percentage will be going to him. This has roused eye brow to many of the members, but they have nothing to do. This is because the politician has money, and according to a member I talked to, with money, no one can argue with you. To the member, money is power.
The church also is curtailed to favor politicians in the sense that it offers campaigning support to the politician. I proved this by the banners I saw on the walls surrounding the church. On finding out more, one of the youth members told me that the politicians give them money to stick the banners around the church and campaign for them. To some extent, the politicians offer the youths the opportunity to hold youth games such as football. It is during these games that the politicians find an arena to campaign. In my opinion this is a good incentive because it keeps the youth busy, and as a result they will not indulge in mischievous activities such as drugs.
I approached one of the members of the church, and he supported the idea of youths participating in games, only that he provoked the incentive politicians use to get their support by giving money to the youth.