Apostle Professor Kwadwo Nimfour Opoku Onyinah is a Ghanaian theologian, a televangelist, a composer and the fifth chairman of The Church of Pentecost, serving from 2008 to 2018. He founded the Pentecost International Worship Centre, a ministry of The Church of Pentecost, in 1993.
What is the ministry like in your context right now?
Most of the things I do now, teaching and preaching are on zoom. Most of the invitations come in the form of virtual presentations on zoom. It appears these ones are becoming more than the invitations which I needed to attend by air or vehicle.
What relationships or partnerships are being formed across denominations or faith groups?
Denominations have now come together more than before. Christians leaders such as heads of churches, their secretaries and para-churches organisations have begun a once a week prayer meeting on Zoom. We have a group in Ghana called National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Right and Family Values that includes Muslim leaders around education related to family values and sexual behavior. Opportunities were given to this group to minister on various TV and Radio stations. The churches came together to organize a full week of prayer — Pentecostal, mainline, Catholic, evangelical churches, and others came together. People see the need to come together and seek help from their God.
What are the lessons you have learned about faith and your people that will outlast this pandemic?
We need to depend upon God in all our plans and agendas more than we used to believe we should. Before this pandemic, people were planning their lives in short and long terms. We had drawn a calendar of activities. But in the blink of an eye, everything has changed. Our budgets, our travel plans, all of this has changed. We need to depend on God, and trust God for our lives, like waiting for the manna. The world was, before, moving so fast. It made us feel that we could do anything, and ourselves and our human lives had taken over the important places. We didn’t feel we needed God. Now, it is more clear than ever: we need help from God, from the supreme being, because we are not as much in control as we believed we were. God is the only one who knows the future and can sustain us. It is God who sustains the world. And we also see that we need to come together. In Ghana, when this began, the President had to invite all the opposition leaders to come together so they could reason together on what to do next. It is through coming together that we’re able to find the answers to these challenges.
What has the COVID-19 pandemic revealed about global realities, particularly for the most vulnerable populations?
For me, COVID-19 makes all people the same. It doesn’t matter who you are, it can attack you. The pandemic does not respect strong or vulnerable people. It appears that the rich people even fear the pandemic more than the vulnerable ones. The poorer nations are suffering because of closed borders, and feared for their survival. Many people suffered a lot. Those who are suffering need help.
On the other hand, what I’ve seen that helped Ghana, is that people started to create new things. Young people were creating electronic sanitizers. People began manufacturing things. Nations were doing things themselves, in Nigeria for example. If some of these nations are giving support, we will be able to be more independent and support ourselves, and depend less on the West for survival.
It has opened our eyes that we must support one another and help the vulnerable.
How can we shape the post-pandemic future to look more like God’s kingdom for those people?
This reminds us that our God is real. He is the creator.
We need to remember the charge given to us in the Great Commission. We need to continue to present the simple message of the power of the Gospel. We need to put into practice the kingdom principles such as allowing Christ to rule in our hearts, loving and respecting one another, and then sharing one’s resources with others, especially the poor and needy.
We will increase our way of sharing the love of Christ to people, because our God is real, and what God has told us is real. The message is the love of God — which should be extended to all people. When we let Christ rule in our hearts, then we will see the kingdom of God being built. We will see people sharing, justice being done, accountability wherever we are. We will see that we have done the work that we’ve been called to.