The rise of Pentecostalism in Zimbabwe is indicative to the fact that there is an urgent need to meet the spiritual needs of the Zimbabwean society, which are many, at such a time as this. In Zimbabwe today it is not uncommon to find posters announcing Christian crusades, seminars, workshops and revivals, stuck on every tree and wall, which is evidence that today many Zimbabweans are hungry for a message of hope, because the situation in the country has made them hunger for more of God’s word, in order to get leading and guidance on a daily basis to find peace and direction in their lives. In order to get the message of hope across to as many people as possible, many Christian evangelists are now beginning to compile their sermons and repackaging them to books.
This was noted by Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa, wife of Zimbabwean businessman, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, of Econet Wireless International, in a foreword that she wrote for a book titled, “Breaking The Invisible Barriers”, which is authored by Pastor Charles Magaiza, an author, poet and a motivational speaker. Mrs.Tsitsi Masiyiwa noted that many Christian evangelists are now busily making God’s Word more understandable and ‘digestible’ to Christians. She noted, “A decade ago it would have been sufficient for a pastor in the church to deliver a sermon through a few scriptures, the generalities of life and a nice encouraging word to sustain one for just the rest of the day. Today, the Christian is seeking answers to real problems.”
In his book, which is titled, “African Christianity in Britain”, Reverend Chigor Chike, brings out some thoughts and his view of African Christianity as opposed to the Eurocentric understanding of Christianity. Reverend Chigor Chike, who is a minister of the Church of England, writes that unlike in the West, where guilt is the main issue in salvation, the issue for African Christians is the battle for life against the many dangers that they see in their traditional world, which plays a major part in their hearing, understanding, experiencing and application of Biblical salvation.
The book also highlights that there is a deep-seated belief among African Christians, in the spiritual existence of supernatural forces that intervene and alter human destinies for good or ill, and goes further to say that since African Christians’ salvation covers the whole person, spirit, soul and body, the needs that African Christians are seeking from God, include deliverance from the power of evil, being at peace from one’s self, neighbours, environment and God, financial and health progress, having children, being blessed materially, victory over human and spiritual detractors, victorious deliverance from evil forces, prosperity and general well being.
It is pleasing that the Pentecostal church in Zimbabwe emphasizes much care for society’s poor by assisting people who are hard hit by diverse adverse circumstances in their lives, such as widowhood, being orphaned, lack of housing and sanitation and extreme poverty, just to mention a few. Many Zimbabweans, through no fault of their own, have no choice but to rely on public support for the progression of their lives. Christian ministries in Zimbabwe seem to adhere to John Ruskin’s sentiments, in Undo This Last, when he spoke the following words on the subject of poverty. “They (the poor) may be what you have said, but if so they are holier than we, who have left them thus.”
For many people in Zimbabwe, who are living on a shoe-string budget, or who are trying desperately to make ends meet, Pentecostalism has offered to them hope in the desperate situations that they encounter in their lives, which have often been deemed by the world as hopeless, even though, the Bible asks, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord.” In this day and age when life seems to be moving at a very fast pace, the new Testament Apostles constantly remind us that we must not just listen to or read God’s word but to put it into practice in our lives. Many Zimbabweans have witnessed miraculous signs and wonders that are performed through God's Word and in Zimbabwe, Pentecostalism has had an overwhelming response and many families have to the call by Christian evangelists to shift from following their African traditional religion in favour of Christianity, which they believe can transform their lives for the better through this charismatic type of worship.
The influx of new membership to Pentecostal Church Ministries has continued to swell due to the fact that many people have through Pentecostalism had their physical and spiritual problems solved and have also discovered the root causes of generational curses which run through their ancestral lineages and have also managed to solve many baffling and mind-boggling family misfortunes that may have perpetrated in their extended family for many years.
Christian evangelists in Zimbabwe, who often gave up everything in their personal lives, including their careers, for the sake of the Gospel, are always on fire for God, and are very keen to spread the Christian faith and to give warning to the people of God in Zimbabwe and the rest of the world that the Kingdom of God is close at hand, as well as to empower them with teaching from the Bible. The Pentecostal movement, having experienced much rapid growth in Zimbabwe, often targets its Christian message to the rural folk who are deeply steeped in traditional African religion, as well as urban dwellers. Deeming the worship of other gods as Kunamata vanaBahari , the evangelists desperately try to bring families, “out of ‘darkness’ and into “God’s marvelous light.’
In the past, when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was first brought to Africa, which was often referred to as, “The Dark Continent”, by the Europeans, those who first brought the Gospel were often met with resistance and were alleged to have arrived holding a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other hand. But nevertheless, they persevered in their quest to bring God’s marvelous light to the African continent and to Zimbabwe and relentlessly continued to share their message of Jesus Christ, to those who cared to listen to them. In the pursuit of their calling, many missionaries however did fall away from their original God-given command to spread the Good News, but became involved in other personal pursuits, such as colonialisation, that was not auctioned by God, and which brought disrepute to the Kingdom of God. Some of the noble missionaries even went on to build mission schools and mission hospitals in a bid to adhere to the key Christian principle of meeting both a person’s soul and body needs. This brought much help into the lives of many local people, who were expertly educated and given medical treatment for ailments that had bedeviled them, because they previously had had no medicines and vaccines to conquer them.
Even the modern day Christian evangelists, are also aware they in their service to God, they are treading upon shaky ground, and they tread carefully in the execution of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ , for they are often met with great resistance from non believers, who can even cook up stories about them to discredit them. Many Christian evangelists are hated passionately by those who cannot contend with the message that they preach and some have even gone to the extent of writing scandalous and libelous articles about various men and women of God in the press, to discredit them as well as the Kingdom of God. These none-Christians vehemently refuse to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ but to hold onto their fervent traditional belief that the invisible world plays an enormous part in every day life, and in this regard, it cannot easily be ignored. These staunch traditionalists often give accusation to the Christian evangelists of discrediting and belittling vadzimu , and often cite:.
“Every individual, whether living or dead, is deeply rooted to his or her departed ancestors through the mudzimu spirits but these ‘over-zealous’ Christian evangelists want to erase our traditional culture and to spurn our ancestral spirits. Do they not realize that life does not just end here on earth and that the soul continues on in another spirit form and in another world.They should be aware that just as living elders are given great respect, even more so should the ancestral spirits, who are to be remembered and respected by giving libations to them regularly.The supernatural status and power of the ancestors endow them with supernatural powers and we must continue to pay much reverence to the vadzimu because in our continued physical life, the ancestral spirits take an interest in our daily affairs."The Christian evangelists however, do not allow the apathy of some of non-believers to diffuse their holy ghost fire and anointing and they relentlessly continued to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to those who care to listen to their message. The Christian evangelists declare what the Bible says, “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve. “ ISAIAH 61:1-3
In the work for Jesus Christ many Christian evangelist in Zimbabwe have witnessed many miracles performed, not by them, but by the power of God. When they preach demons and evil spirits cannot stand the heat and come out of afflicted persons, sometimes even before they even lay my hands on people. God protects the Christian evangelists from those who wish to do harm to them. For instance, a certain man of God once recounted how a demon possessed man advanced towards him with a sharp edged knife which he intended to dig it into the Christian evangelist’s chest but miraculously, the man fell to the ground a few feet away from the evangelist.
Many people have surrendered their satanic and evil possessions which have been burnt in the name of Jesus Christ.
A certain Christian evangelist prayed for a woman who had been bed ridden for six months and by faith she was able to get out of bed and was ever so grateful to God for healing her. God gives some Christian evangelists a word of knowledge about problems being faced by various people and they speak into their lives through His word. A certain woman confessed that she was a witch and told a certain Christian evangelist that she wanted to be delivered. He prayed for her total deliverance and God removed the spirit of witchcraft from her completely and she now serves God. The list of miracles that have happened in Zimbabwe, due to Pentecostalism are endless and each day many Zimbabweans are becoming “born-again” Pentecostal Christians.