Updated: Oct 21, 2022
The Vision of the Institute for Christian Impact (ICI) is to see the African church engaging biblically and effectively with the complex realities of the African context. It exists to mentor and equip leaders to meet the needs and challenges of the growing Church in Africa and to meaningfully bear effective witness by integrating Faith and Life.
As citizens of the kingdom of God, Christians are enjoined to live responsible lives of integrity, to pray, and to bear witness to Christ. Yet we are also citizens of earth, with a responsibility to respond to governance issues. What is the responsibility of Christians in democratic societies to issues of unresponsive political leadership, lack of integrity among the political class, and policy decisions that negatively impact the vulnerable? With political instability on the rise in the sub-region, and the perception of increasing disconnect between political leaders and the masses of society, how are Christians called to respond both individually and collectively to these challenges?
Considering the above background and in response to it, ICI held a consultative dialogue on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 5:00pm at the Assemblies of God Head-Office conference room in Accra drawing on audiences from the political, business, and professional spheres of engagement. The theme of the dialogue was “What Shall We Do? The Challenge of Integrity in Governance and the Responsibility of Christian Citizens”. Discussing the topic was a panel of three members: Dr. Yaw Perbi, Bernard Avle, and Rev. Akua Ofori Boateng. Also, Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee chaired the event as Hon. Emmanuel K. Bezdrah, the president of the parliamentary Christian fellowship and MP for Ho-West constituency gave an insider’s response.
The purpose of this dialogue was to think through together the gaps that existed in the kingdom agenda and the practical aspects of what we do in the Kingdom. It also served as a forum where we highlighted the need for the impact of Christians and the Church as a whole.
Ps. Mrs. Francisca Ahwireng joyfully invited Dr. Femi B. Adeleye, Executive Director of ICI to welcome the audience. Dr. Femi used the opportunity to remind the gathering that we, all gathered are Africans by God’s appointment according to the Holy scriptures in Acts 17:26. He leveraged on that to mention that we are here to serve God’s purpose towards a mission for a bright Africa. He indicated that the territorial integrity of any nation is dependent on the moral integrity of its citizens, particularly, Christian citizens and for this purpose, we are gathered. He then welcomed all attendees and subsequently introduced her to the gathering.
CHAIRPERSON’S OPENING REMARKS
Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee, affectionately called Auntie Joyce was the chairperson of the consultative dialogue. Being full of life, Dr. Joyce Aryee complimented all for gathering for such a noble purpose. She remarked on integrity and iterated that the dialogue is geared towards personal integrity. On this foundation she stated that integrity is the guarantee that there will be significant impact in the society as individuals and organizations foster it. Auntie Joyce stressed that the Christian citizen has a responsibility as the witness of Christ in our world. Summing up her address, she quoted Pope Benedict XVI: “A big part of the vocation of Christian lay people is their participation in politics or in governance in order to bring justice, honesty and defence of true and authentic values and to contribute to the real human and spiritual good of society. The role of a Christian in a temporal order and especially in politics is key for the evangelization of society”. She then introduced the panellists to kick start the discussions on the topic.
Prior to the panel discussion moderated by Mr. Edem Senanu, Board Chairman of the Advocates for Christ Ghana, each panellist was given the opportunity to share their thoughts on the topic after which questions were taken from the audience.
Below are some highlights from the presentations:
No effective Christian can be a bad citizen! - Mr. Bernard Avle.
As a Christian, in speaking truth to power, you must be righteously true to yourself and mercifully kind towards others - Mr. Bernard Avle.
The power of a journalist is in his independence from the person he is covering - Mr. Bernard Avle.
In calling out wrong, we need to follow biblical patterns as Christian citizens - Mr. Bernard Avle.
If the church gets it right, Ghana will get it right as 71% of politicians are Christians according to statistics - Dr. Yaw Perbi.
We need a reorientation of our minds and a reordering of our actions if we want to see change- Dr. Yaw Perbi.
Our “doing” can only be effective and sustainable when it comes from our being - Dr. Yaw Perbi.
Only transformed people can transform society - Dr. Yaw Perbi.
We need to define corruption and integrity in a very simple but memorable manner. Naming something is half of the battle to taming it - Dr. Yaw Perbi.
Integrity is simply keeping your words even when it hurts - Dr. Yaw Perbi.
Creating laws with no intention of keeping it is only creating an environment of impunity - Dr. Yaw Perbi.
As Christians, we need to place a premium on what is right and deem it important to do it - Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng.
Integrity in governance begins at the individual level - doing what is right and what is acceptable before God as a Christian - Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng.
As Christians, we must provide effective moral checks and balances for those in government to ensure that they are doing what is right and acceptable before God - Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng.
Christians must participate in the succession plans of our nation if we want to see integrity in governance - Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng.
The level of integrity we want to see must begin in our homes and when we leave our homes, it must reflect in the way we do business, drive, speak to each other and even the way we choose our leaders - Rev. Akua Ofori-Boateng.
As believers, it is our responsibility to hold the moral compass of the nation - Hon. Emmanuel K. Bedzrah.
God expects us to show forth His glory as Christian politicians wherever we find ourselves- Hon. Emmanuel K. Bedzrah.
As Christians, we must practice personal integrity, then, God will stretch it to territorial integrity - Hon. Emmanuel K. Bedzrah.
Feedback from participants:
I think we talk more than we do as a people, but Integrity is doing more of what we talk. We need to learn from Christ who talk less but does more and even with Jesus' less talk it was about repentance. My question is, what kind of people are we if we are to be defined by our actions or deeds? – Isaac Frempong
I think, there is hope for Ghana for a great transformation if parents at home especially mothers in Christ do their work well because Ghana is a youthful population. Let focus more on the children and the youths now and not focus much on the problems of the already grown politicians. The future is the children and the youths now, so let us focus more on the ones coming and help them to change their mindset. The development of a nation is not dependent on its resources but its transformed mindset of the people - Victor Huago Love
To God’s glory, the dialogue saw the attendance of about eighty (80) live audience, an active participation of hundred (100) persons across the nations on ZOOM and some others joining through Facebook.
To God’s glory, the consultative dialogue made a great impression on the attendees and kick-started
further conversations. We use this opportunity to thank all who have contributed to its organization and participated in raising a voice in Africa through the lens of Ghana.