The eagle has the longest life-span of its species. It can live up to 70 years. But to reach this age, it has to take one of the hardest decisions in it's life. At 40, it cannot grab prey and its long and sharp beak becomes bent. It's ageing feathers become stuck to it's chest and makes it difficult to fly.
In this predicament it has only two options - die or go through a painful process of change which lasts for at least 150 days. But this change will require that the eagle fly to a mountain top and be alone for the whole 150 days. So it's only a few eagles that can actually embark on this journey of renewal. 

The eagle begins by knocking its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. After plucking it out, it will wait for the beak to grow back and then pluck out its talons. When that one also grows back, then it begins to pluck it's own feathers. While still on the mountain top, it plucks out every feather on the body until it is completely bare. And after five months of enduring a bloody beak, removal of foot skin and the mountain top cold, the eagle takes it's famous flight of rebirth and lives for another 30 years.

"But those who wait for Yahweh shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint," Isaiah 40:31

Renewal is to give fresh life to something.

It can also be described as the restart button on your pc. When your laptop or phone hangs, there's nothing else to do than restart or sit and wait forever.
The interesting thing about life is that sometimes our "operating system" needs a restart but we rather not do anything about it. Sometimes because we actually don't know how to navigate through the confusion and turmoil.
So decide to refresh the dead things in your life today!!

Renewal comes in two forms; 

1. When we decide to turn a situation by changing our position, attitude, actions or heart. eg., We sometimes feel stuck in a job, church, or a location and decide to change for the better.
2. Circumstantial renewal eg, in a divorce you are forced to renew yourself. 

Change happens whether we like it or not but renewal is what we can do with the change around us. To renew is optional. Change is what our soul requires but renewal is what our spirit needs. 

King David was a master of renewing himself. He started as a shepherd - musician - Soldier - Head of the army - king. Thats why he said in Psalm 51:10, Create in me a clean heart, and renew the right spirit within me. A clean heart meaning a fresh start or clean slate.

When God called me into planting a church, I knew I had to renew myself. It took me 3 years and that was my path. It might take you less or more years but its about walking with God and where ever he leads you go. It took King David about 14 years from when he killed Goliath to when he actually became king of all Israel.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

These are 7 steps to begin the path of renewal


The eagle has to admit to itself that it has lost it's glory of haunting and flying before it can master strength for it's renewal.

recognise the problem;
"Guy A" was sawing down a tree and there comes "Guy B" asking him,
B: What are you doing?
A: I’m sawing a tree.
B: How long have you been at it?
A: 4 hours so far, but I’m really making progress
B: Your saw looks really dull, why don’t you take a break and sharpen it?
A: I can’t you idiot. I’m too busy sawing!

question: what do you tell yourself?
Are you truthful to yourself? Are you quick to tell everyone else what you see and you can't even look into the mirror and tell yourself some plain truths about your circumstances.

three steps to locate your truth;

1. locate your misbelief. 
2. Remove them (argue against them) 
3. Replace your misbeliefs with the truth

You can be religious and still be negative in your thinking. Jesus said to Mary Magdalene "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? John 11:40" There is glory when you believe. Cast out the negative and embrace the positive. I know you see all the evidence and you have all the stats but have faith and work it out and see how things will change for the better!!

KEY INSIGHT - "It is not what people say or do that creates your emotions, but rather what you tell yourself about what people say or do to you."


Ask yourself what should happen at the end? At this point think possibilities only. Create a mental picture of your future (God asked Abraham to lift up his eyes and see). Like a blueprint of a building. 
The eagle must see itself flying so high again. It must see itself hunting with precision, and begin to miss how it used to do it before it decides to change it's destiny again.

Write a Personal Mission Statement (PM Statement) this can be your guiding light when things get dark in your life. King David said "As I walk through the valleys of the shadows of death, You are with me", So here we read that his PM Statement was "God Is With Me". He believed he could do everything because of his PM Statement and he actually did. So what is yours?

Your purpose in life, your mission and values are expressed everyday by how you live whether you admit it or not. When I look at your monthly expenditure, your phone browsing records, who and what you spend your time with, I can mostly tell where you are headed in life (Edward Snowden...wink wink). Now if you do a google search of your name (vanity search), what will you find? what should people associate with your name? 
Write one word to describe you. 

I did a test in one of our Sunday services. I asked everyone to write what they thought about me in a split second, what comes to mind concerning me. I was actually surprised. People see what you think they don't see. Try it with a few people to help you with this test and see if you are in line with your goals.

Your personal mission statement should be value based. 

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Your vision should be daring, and a bit frightening. Else you are undercutting yourself.


I have heard lots of people talk about ideas being the "be it all", but I believe planning is above ideas. I have met a crazy number of people with ideas and no plan. That is all talk and no action. The eagle goes to the renewal mountain-top with a plan. First get the crooked beak out, then wait for the beak to grow back and pluck out the dead skin on its talons before lastly plucking the old feathers to make way for the new ones. So even the eagle has a plan.

At the planning stage, you should write down a step by step process of how your plans can come to pass (sequencing). It's the process of thinking about and organising the activities required to achieve your desired goal. Have a strategy to fulfil your purpose. 

Plan to succeed, not to fail. Never bring your fears to the planning table, never!! Developing a plan also requires time, attention and knowledge. Grow in the dark. Know what you want to achieve and work slowly at it. Believe me when I say real change takes time. See what's required to accomplish your goal. Develop as detailed a plan that allows you to see the achievement of the goal. This level requires serious quiet time and prayer. Proverbs 19:21 Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.


Be aware when you're using destructive thinking - replace the bad with the good; Some of us have an "I can't" mentality and live in a state of choicelessness. We build our own prisons with bad patterns - we stop trying new things for fear of looking foolish, ridiculous or vulnerable. This step is difficult because you'll have to deal with your fears and the things that make you uncomfortable.

We mostly get comfortable in our misery. "At least that one we know" we often say. But sometimes we need to break that old pattern even in tears and fears so we can win our race.

Here are some common recurring, negative behaviors people deal with in their lives on a day-to-day basis. If any of the incidents below has happened to you at least five times, then it’s likely to be a pattern attributable to you:
  • Being late for appointments
  • Not meeting deadlines
  • Being absent-minded
  • Getting together with the “wrong” guy/girl, resulting in destructive relationships
  • Sleeping late; not being able to wake up early
  • Emotional eating
  • Not exercising even though you planned to
  • Getting into arguments or losing your temper
  • Giving up halfway through whatever you’re doing
  • Staying back late at work; getting burned out

I see that I have a lot of stuff to work on this coming year. Pray for me!! We have to die to certain things to gain the glory and life promised us. Unless a seed enters into the ground and dies.....

Discard what is worthless!!

Every Wednesday evening I put our trash outside for pickup the next morning (I often miss but you get the point, lol). I don't go to bed thinking of my trash outside because its just things I don't need. Everything that is valuable is locked inside my home with an alarm. If I don't learn to be tidy and keep my home clean then very soon I won't even be able to walk in my own house. So always be on this renewal path, always discarding thoughts and old patterns that are not needed. Put out your trash!!

There's a story about the first time the alumina mineral was discovered (for making metal). One tribe embraced it and the other saw it as superstition, and that the gods don't approve of it, and all that jazz!! So guess which tribe defeats the other in a battle? Of course the one who embraced the new discovery won by fighting stones and clubs with metals. 

I am not saying throw out the baby with the bath water. No, see what works and what doesn't and eliminate what what keeps you bound. Ask yourself - Am I fighting through life with sticks and stones? Stop defending your failures, outdated cultures and patterns. Rise up and renew yourself!!

Remember it's about dealing with wrong patterns and not old patterns. 


In our current world, one of the biggest problem we face is patience. It's a virtue no longer encouraged or required. Sometimes I wonder if the younger generation know how good they got it. I'm very young (cough cough) but I still remember telephones with wires and internet with phone wires and how we had to cope with life. We all hate waiting in line these days. We even get frustrated with our high-tech gadgets, at the microwave, dishwasher or wash machine. To a village boy like me from the Eastern Region of Ghana, West Africa, these appliances are daily miracles. Patience is a virtue worth developing or pursuing.

Imagine that it takes the eagle at least 5 months for a true and real transformation. After hitting its beak on the rocks to break, it will just sit and wait for the beak to grow back. And the beak alone can take like a or two to month to grow back. After which it plucks the talons and wait again for new skin to grow back. Then the last which is the feathers and again wait for it to grow back. Imagine the eagle on the mountain top in the cold with bare skin waiting for new feathers. That's why Isaiah equates eagles to waiting on God. After which they mount up. 

growing in the dark
In your waiting period, you should research and learn new tricks or patterns and test them all alone. There's so much stress and anxiety because it will seem like everyone is passing you by in life but you are stuck. So be prepared to feel that way. The eagle doesn't go through its renewal in public, but rather in secret on the mountain top. Don't expose your process and planning too early. Always present your finished package rather. Learn to be by yourself sometimes, learn to party by yourself sometime (just throwing that in there)!!

There's no substitute for waiting. Believe me if there was, I would've found it by now. Waiting is crucial to your renewal. Jesus asked his disciples to wait in Jerusalem. And when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, then they move and act. I don't think it was pleasant for the disciples. Just sitting and praying for 50 days. But their obedience brought them a spirit of renewal and refreshment.

You have to slow down to speed up.  The “slow down” period is why so few people don't want to reinvent themselves. It can be very uncomfortable to keep your focus on your intention, while everyone wants you to justify your choices.
But when things pick up again, everyone will like to know your secret.

If you don't plant yourself in the ground and "die" there is no fruit.
John 12:24-25 validates this: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth (hangs on to) his life shall lose it; and he that hateth (surrenders) his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."


Putting knowledge into action is wisdom. The power of God is when we practice the knowledge of God to it's fullest. Same as power is your knowledge in action. So when you are wise, you become powerful. An abused woman decides one day to take her power back by walking away from an abusive relationship. POWER is also recognising your inner God-given strength and taking action to change your circumstances. The eagle looks at its dilapidated state at decides to take action. So rise up and act now!!!

steady movement forward
Sometimes we think of actions as lightning fast. But the steady forward movement is mostly the best way. I realised that when I play musical phrases fast it doesn't mean I can play it well, but if I can play it repeatedly and constantly slow then I know I got it. Strange right? Take your time to build. Yes, I know that it looks like everyone is going pass you but thats why my Bible says the rejected stone will be the chief corner stone. King Solomon realised this and said something in Proverbs 21:5 "Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty".

Fear is a stumbling block for action
anxiety |aŋˈzʌɪəti|
noun ( pl. anxieties ) [ mass noun ]
1 a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome: 

There are many writings on dealing with fear and I will recommend you check some out. But I will give you God's blessed assurance concerning fear.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 ESV

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 ESV

Book of Haggai is for builders and action takers so I will recommend it for you.

Fear is not a bad thing until it prevents you from moving forward. Fear actually makes us know we are aware of what we are getting ourselves into. But it shouldn't stop you. Cry, fear, breakdown but never ever give up. Press on and don't be afraid of their faces because your heavenly father is with you and He will protect you on this life journey I promise you, He will!!


Don't be a loner, get support from like minded people. Seek them out and ask for help. This will be the best thing you ever did. Why because you'll rarely find encouragement amongst family and friends. They might be confused about your whole renewal path. At this point branding sucks. You have been branded a certain way and loved ones feel safe around you because they kinda know your moves and your ins and outs. So renewing yourself raises lots of questions in their minds. But understand that the fact that people don't support you doesn't mean they don't love you.

We live in a world where you have to play it safe and get by. That's why you need to seek support through your parents, pastor, mentors, books, etc. Believe me, someone has been through what you are going through. If you can only find them, you will learn a lot. Even in their mistakes, is immense knowledge.

I have never done anything without mentorship or thorough reading and research. I remember one day Teddy Osei, leader of the band Osibisa called me and from then on for a while he mentored me. Can you believe that almost everything he told me actually happened? Like a prophet he was. Since then I have always had mentors in most areas of my life to help guide me. 

Whatever you are feeling or going through right now, there's someone who has "been there and done that." So tap into their knowledge and humility is required else don't even try to be mentored. Because mentors will correct and rebuke and you might shed a few tears but it's good for you. I really need that because people are full of praise which is okay but you need a few folks who will speak directly to your weakness and encourage your strengths truthfully with love and understanding. 

 So look until you find a support system. It is very crucial to your success else you grow paranoid and then think you need to change your friends and reject a few family members. I have seen quit a number of people go through that phase where they feel misunderstood or abandoned by people they love because of their renewal process. 

Getting someone to mentor you will help in your renewal.
Don't try to do this on your own. Even though the eagle goes through renewal alone. You don't have to do it alone at this phase, because the eagle ain't got family and friends getting uncomfortable with their renewal process. So know where you are and apply wisdom as required. This is the best time to find new friends without discarding the old ones of course, join a group or find a people with the same thought as where you want to go.


1. Write down one change you fear will make you look foolish, ridiculous or vulnerable 
2. Why do you want to achieve that change?
2. Write down possibilities to make it come to pass
3. What are some old patterns in your life you need to change to make the change
4. How do I acquire knowledge for change. Does this need researching?
5. How can I gradually implement this new found knowledge into my life patterns
6. Who do I need to connect to to help me reach my goals
7. When can I start my renewal

I highly recommend that you pray before every step. Sometimes if you think the next step will be difficult, please fast if you can. Renewal is also a spiritual exercise so go about it as such.

Proverbs 19:21 Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.

I will leave you with this...

The word for human in my native Akan language is "nnipa" and it's root meaning is; good works. The concept is that we are created by God to do good works with and for each other. Let your light shine and be a blessing to someone else. Be a nnipa!!!

God bless you,

Berima Amo

October 1968 – at the Mexico City Olympics, die hard spectators waited for the last few finishers of the marathon. The race was won by Mamo Walde of Ethiopia, one hour before.

The crowd started to leave as it was getting dark. However,news was sent through that there was one last runner. The crowd could hear police sirens away off. John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania was making his way slowly to the end after having a bad fall – his leg was bandaged and bleeding.
When he hit the last 400 metres, the stadium rose and applauded until he reached the finish line. Awesome. He was asked the question,“Why did you finish the race when you had no chance of winning a medal?”

My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”
God hasn’t marked out a race for you to begin,but one to finish. God has given you a vision to complete. And the way we finish is more important than how we begin. And how we finished, is determined by what’s in us.
Any true vision for life will increase our ability to give and receive love. What’s the point in life if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? The test of any vision is how much love you have as you journey to its completion. 

According to doctors, stress is the most significant contributor to disease. Your body simply responds to the demands placed upon it by your brain. It's amazing that one of the things we can't stand is stress, yet we are surrounded by it all the time.

Our brain is an amazing organ. In fact it's an effective pharmacist. In times of stress this cerebral pharmacy releases 3 major hormones into our system.

a) Adrenalin - which pumps glucose into the body and gives you a sudden energy boost. It gets you ready to fight or take flight.
b) Noradrenaline - which causes your blood pressure to rise and your muscles to go on red alert.
c) Cortisol - which suppresses the immune system, which makes you more open to that cold you've been avoiding.  Cortisol is very important in your stress response - keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure up to help you escape from danger. Too much of cortisol can cause fats and sugars to clog up your arteries and blood vessels and it's even linked to loosing of brain cells.

So actually what is stress? Know that it comes from within. It's the response we make to certain physical stimuli. These days, stress is a major health hazard. It can trigger asthma or can lead to strokes and coronary heart attacks.

Does God have anything to say about stress? I'm glad you asked because this is an area of health which the Bible has most to comment on. Here are a few tips to deal with stress.


1. Develop A Generous Spirit
There's something therapeutic about giving to others: giving time, money, encouragement and the benefit of your experience. Giving to others helps you to recognize the good things you possess (Matthew 10:8), and investing in the lives of others does tend to take your mind off your  own problems. Can you imagine Mother Teresa needing deep therapy?

It's more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

2. Take Responsibility
As far as God is concerned, you are not responsible for what other people do to you, or what circumstance throws at you. But you are responsible for how you react to these challenges. You don't have to be helpless or hopeless.

In Robbin Island prison, Papa Mandela decided to take back his power by deciding how fast or slow he carried out the commands of the oppressive prison officers. No matter how they beat, scoffed, pushed and screamed at him he decided his pace.

Also in a German Prisoner of war camp, Victor Frankl realized that although the guards could take away every physical thing he owned and make things tough for him, they couldn't take away his right to choose how he would react! He could always decide what kind of person he would be. This is real strength; when you decide who you should be and become it no matter the circumstances or pressure.

When Judas Iscariot came to betray Jesus with a kiss, the first words Jesus said to him were, "Friend, do what you came to do" (Matthew 26:50). Friend!!! Surely you are mistaken Jesus! No, Jesus knew He could not change what Judas had freely chosen to do, but He did have control over His response to it.

Don't live with a victim mentality, always blaming everyone else for the way your life has turned out. Do what you have to do and get out. Decide that you're going to keep control over your own heart. 

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

There's a powerful blog on why you should guard your heart. Click here to read it.

3. Practice Forgiveness
This relates to the number 2 also. Forgiveness is a decision you make, not a feeling: it's an act of will not whim. Unfortunately we all have trouble forgiving, that's why we need to experience deep forgiveness for ourselves. We each need to see our own hurt in proper perspective. Whether you like it or not, it's a fact: you've offended God much more than anyone has ever offended or hurt you. When you feel the deep inner peace that comes from knowing you are forgiven by God, forgiving what others have done to you isn't so hard.

 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you. “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:40-47

4. Bring emotions into line with will
Discipline your emotions and mind so that you are not emotion-driven but decision-driven. Learn to talk differently about those who have let you down.  Be vigilant when people try to drag you into their beefs with others, or incite you to say things about events or people you might not know. Be understanding and supportive of what your friends have gone through without bringing others down with your words.

Just as there are six major food groups for the body, there are also six major food groups for the spirit;
  1. prayer 
  2. Bible reading 
  3. meditation (not the chanting kind, but chewing upon what you read in God's word) 
  4. fellowshipping with a church group, mentors and folks who are like-minded. 
  5. sharing your faith 
  6. giving
A daily dose of each helps you keep your emotions on a short leash.
We are 3-dimensional beings-spirit, body, soul- and if we don't engage all three, our emotions automatically lead our lives.

As I was typing number 3 of overcoming stress, everything began to go wrong and anger overcame me; funny eh!?! Because I was in deep thought as I was writing what God has placed on my heart. But my wife and daughter kept interrupting me and to top it all of, my laptop went off and I had to retype most of what I had already written. So out of stress I started screaming at everyone. How funny life can be sometimes. And the interesting thing I realised was, I could only retype after I had calmed down. I had to control my heart before I could move on. Control brings productivity. There's always a prize to pay for your blessings and productivity and it's control of your heart and your mouth. Train your emotions.

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NLT)

5. Trust God
You can learn to trust God with your problem even when it seems outside your control. In fact, it's only when you can no longer manipulate things yourself that you can really trust Him at all.

I realised that for some of us, trusting God with everything is a learning process, and also for some it comes a bit naturally. But in all your ways trust Him. Realise that it's a way/path. Trust has to do with a certain path you take in your heart and through your actions. It's all about knowing where God wants you to be or a stance to take concerning your situation. Trusting God is also a knowing that God is with me no matter where I am or what I'm going through.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

6. Accept Yourself (Without Neglecting Self-Improvement)
In summary do your best to look and feel healthy; make the most of your natural strengths and improve where you can. All this is honouring God and a sign of self-respect. But don't sacrifice yourself on the altar of physical perfection. Life's short enough as it is!

"And Paul entered Rome wearing an Armani suit with Gucci shades with crocodile leather shoes". The bible doesn't say that. In fact the bible says little about fashion, cosmetics or body mass. Why? because it's not that important to God. I don't know what Jesus wore to church. But what I do know is every notable man or woman in the Bible had an attractive heart.

The Bible says, "man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). That's not to say that how you look is not important at all, because your outward appearance is a measure of how we feel about ourselves inside. Any self-respecting person will try to look their best with what they have.

Fashion, if that's your interest, is also a great way to express your God-given creativity. I like fashionable people, because it takes a lot of thought to put it together and it's pleasing to the eye. When we dress well we are implying that we take what we are about to do or an event serious enough. But you can't impress God with your outward appearance-He knows you too well. What pleases God is the way we arrange the "furniture" inside.

If we keep the need to please God above the need to impress people, the "beauty thing" won't be such a stressor. Sometimes the best things or people for your life don't come in neat packages.

Like I said above, we are spirit first, then we are given a body, and we intern develop our soul (heart & mind). Accepting yourself without neglecting self-improvement is the fruit of a developed mind.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

7. Separation
Sometimes, separating oneself from an environment, situation or person for a while is what you need to deal with your stress. Sometimes emotional distance is good for gathering your thoughts and picking yourself back up.

Don't feel guilty if you need time alone. Stress starts with outside stimuli which affects your inside. So also check the folks you hang out with. Based on the situation you are dealing with, pick the people to hang around or avoid. And if you are forced by circumstances to see them on a daily basis then withdraw emotionally for a while so you can deal with you first. It's even best to let people know that you need some time to deal with your issues.

There were times even Jesus will separate himself from the crowds and even His closest disciples to be alone. Jesus created emotional distance from the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus also separated himself to fast and pray before He began His work. Before you can give others your best, invest in your strength. Else you soon become like a well that is dried up; it only produces dark water which can be toxic for anyone that drinks. 

So when you realise that you have become a bit toxic, you are tired, easily irritated, then take sometime out to regain yourself. Remember, you the spirit is responsible for your body and soul. So guard and cherish it.
But also remember that, separation for a long time is not good. Because before depression is always separation. But there's also no growth without some alone time. So strike the balance. Know when to withdraw and when to hang out. There's a time for everything under the sun.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 (NIV)

In Conclusion
Sometimes, because of where we are going in life, we come under immense stress. So if you do all the above and the stress still persists, just be patient and stand firm through it all. It's amazing what time will heal if we let it, in the process of making life happen. 

Have a wonderful day and a stress free life!!

First my condolences goes to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones to this preventable drowning and fires. May this be the last time our leaders murder our own people through their bad leadership.

So many folks have asked my opinion about fixing the problem in GHANA after reading my comments on facebook. I propose we start a project I call the NEHEMIAH PROJECT. Very simple title so every Ghanaian can understand. this is not the 10 commandments so it can be modified. I call it Nehemiah Project because Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem and reinstated Mosaic laws that benefitted his people like cancellation of debts and ending servitude contracts that where overdue, interest free loans and gleaning. Mind you, it's the principle that counts. Nehemiah even refused a full salary and his daily share as a governor, and that's the kind of leadership our nation needs. Sacrificial leaders. 

This was my facebook comments that sparked the debate.

    Our nation doesn't need prayers. the west didn't build their infrastructure through prayers. this flooding and deaths can happen next year if we don't fix our nation. Prayers is not a substitute for good governance. the nation is grinding to a halt because of rain. common rain. shame on us. the west tends to intellectualize foolishness, and we Africans tend to spiritualize foolishness. am sad and angry at the same time. me feelings ay3 basaaa!!!!

Remember that this pointers are not for the faint hearted. So let's begin;

1. Have a referendum to end the 4th republic. because it's constitution is very idealistic. with it should go parliament forever, ask the layman on the streets what parliament does. And they don't even know. Ghana has more 275 parliamentary seats whiles the whole continent of America has only a 100 senators. WHY??? How many deputy ministers does some of our ministries have? The waste is too much. A small nation needs a small government. I see our present form of government as a money laundering scheme. One party complains until they get into power.

2. We should write down a pragmatic infrustractural program for the whole nation-NEHEMIAH PROJECT. For example; what infrastructures should a village have? also what amenities should every town and city have in our nation? So for an example; every village should have a school, roads, a clinic with 1 nurse etc. Every town should have a bank, high school, police station, and every city should have .... etc. So we then build our educational system to meet these needs. The details can be worked out with planners. We can truly build a nation of the future with this Nehemiah Project principle.

But the question is how many villages, towns, and cities do we have in Ghana? We don't know because there's no planning. With a grand project like this, people might not be so eager to leave the villages anymore, thus building our nation through farming which is the backbone of every strong nation. Instead of selling all our village lands to foreigners these days. The journey that takes me 1 hour in Holland will take me 4 hours in Ghana with the same kilometres. And why do politicians make bad roads then they in-turn buy 4 wheel drives for themselves and their families whiles we suffer with simple cars? It just doesn't make sense.

3. We have an interim council who will oversee this NEHEMIAH PROJECT. We can give them 10 years at least. this council should be made of sociologists, politicians, thinkers alike and it should be a free service they give to their nation. 

It's undeniable that the best run services in Ghana today is churches. So what can we learn from them? Can the pastors help? Lets put together people of character and righteousness (do the right thing), with less talking and more action. The orthodox churches are in almost every village in Ghana even before the birth of our nation. Can we learn something from them? 

The principle here is there's an inherent way things can be done that works well for us. The west might not like it but if it works it works. We have become so bent on looking outside the box as if our own box has nothing to offer.

4. We raise additional taxes with our traditional nnɔboa system, thus at least half of the funds for the project can be raised that way. Every village in Ghana has ways of raising money for projects. lets tap into that. Why we are so blind to what works for us as Africans is beyond me. With one announcement from one king like the Asantehene, Yaana, Okyehene, Ga Mantsɛ, etc, they can rally more hands and labor than all the parliamentary people put together.

During the reign of King Frederick William III of Prussia, he found himself in trouble. Wars had been costly, and in trying to build the nation, he was seriously short of finances. He couldn’t disappoint his people, and to capitulate to the enemy was unthinkable. After careful reflection, he decided to ask the women of Prussia to bring their jewelry of gold and silver to be melted down for their country. For each ornament received, he determined to exchange a decoration of bronze or iron as a symbol of his gratitude. Each decoration would be inscribed, “I gave gold for iron, 18l3. The response was overwhelming. Even more important, these women prized their gifts from the king more highly than their former jewelry. The reason, of course, is clear. The decorations were proof that they had sacrificed for their king. Indeed, it became unfashionable to wear jewelry, and thus was established the Order of the Iron Cross. Members wore no ornaments except a cross of iron for all to see. 

Even Moses asked for the people of Israel to give their possessions for the building of the tabernacle in the book Exodus. So we can apply this principle. But it will only work effectively if we have leaders we can trust.

5. All political parties dissolved and all hands on deck. One day Nkrumah's friend asked him, why he was dissolving all political parties and adopting a one party state. He replied, "I have built industries and great projects and almost all the people who can run them are in the opposition party whiles the industries are dying down". And when you look at our nation today, our problem is politics, one party waiting for the other to fail or make a mistake. This notion that "I'll wait for my party to come to power before I help my nation" is killing Ghana.

Lest we forget, at the time that Africa ruled the world, it wasn't with western democracy. I don't support a one party state, but we have to find a system of government that works well for us and not one that pleases the west. We have to admit to ourselves that the democratic experiment has failed the Ghanaian people.

One funny observation is any time someone speaks out about the problems of our nation, people tend to first listen to find out which political party he is in, without thinking whether what the person is saying is true or false. Everything we do is viewed through the lens of political partyism. A tragedy of the feeble minded. It used to be back then that people wanted to know your age when you spoke.

6. Return our educational system to the O and A level. Because that is what is recognised around the world. a nations education system is what plugs her into the global village. Her shared experiences with technology, ideas and innovations will make her a force among other nations. With the world being a global village we need an educational system that is recognisable by all educational institutions across the globe. When I applied for music university here in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, my SSS certificate wasn't respected at all. Because no one knew it. It had to be sent to somewhere to be translated to a universal context. I know friends who had to start their courses all over again because their private university certificates weren't recognised.

So now imagine what will become of the SHS certificates or whatever certificates they are giving out now. In my time at Legon Presec, text books with carriculums weren't even written yet but the SSS program had already began. My caucasian friends couldn't wrap their heads around this concept. They couldn't get it that this sought of thing can happen to a whole nation. Ghanaian students are some of the brightest in the world but we struggle to get into universities and colleges abroad. Almost every great university on the globe has at least one Ghanaian at the top of his/her class. But there's no production to show for our bright minds. We have become a nation that hates intellectualism. We are very good at frustrating people with knowledge. So they will rather clean a hotel in the west than sit in an office in their own nation.

One English headmaster replied "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance". Unless our education system is connected in the global context, we are still ignorant. This is one of the reasons our arts and culture doesn't make it outside our borders. Nigerians are always ready to take our arts and make it global. That's why most folks in the west think Azonto is from Naija. We create it, Naija exports it. How we get mad when we here things like these.

Though we call ourselves an English nation, our people still have to write an english exam at the British council. It only tells you the lack of confidence the Brits and other nations have in our educational system.

You have a thick skin if you made it this far. Congrats!!! What are other pointers you might have to add? Please leave your comments in the comment box below and share on your facebook and twitter pages.

Let's educate ourselves because only then will we live free as a people under God.

Thank you

The African church in my opinion is one of the most exciting churches to attend. And we’ve come a long way. But like any organisation, there are always ways to improve. In a 10 year span, I have worked with at least 70 churches in Europe through trainings and workshops. I have seen a lot and tried to help where I can. Lots of musicians and pastors around the world contact me  with their frustrations or often to seek solutions. I believe I stand in a unique position, in that I pastor a church and run a thriving music business where I specialise in Gospel & African music. And my perspective is unique because of it. So I have compiled a list of some of my observations. Maybe you might even identify with some of my pointers.

1. Sound is inconsistent and most of the time too loud. 

In a lot of our churches, you can’t tell what is going to happen with church sound. It has become a hit and miss game. A few times good, but mostly bad. Sound men have never been trained. Some sound men are willing to learn and some are very arrogant. At least know what causes feedback, signal flow, and the sweet-spot of your auditorium volume-wise. I have been invited to some churches by some pastor friends to help the sound man and most of them have a know-it-all attitude. Sound men will generally not attend worship workshops or read on the subject for improvement. Because they see themselves as different from the music ministry. Remember that there’s a way to do loud. There’s loud that is annoying and loud which is appropriate. We call the annoying sound “Gragra”. 

I once went to a church to fix their sound. Their hall was very small. It can seat maybe only 50 people max but they had 4 sub woofers and 4 tops. The pastor to my amazement actually told me “they needed more speakers, that way the sound will be better”. The church which I pastor, God Center Amsterdam, only uses 1 speaker in our 60 seater auditorium. When my pastor friends come to preach, they always wonder how my sound is that good. Less is more. The worse thing that can musically happen to a church in my opinion is loud over the top music or preaching. It’s beautiful to listen to TD Jakes preach because the microphone is well set for his kind of voice. So set the church sound well and don’t allow many hands on the mixing board. My question is; why is it that the African church seems okay with distortion?

2. Invest in the right ministries & equipments. 

Churches invest more in instruments than training especially in the area of sound. And its true that the music and sound ministries are the most expensive in church but check were the money is going. There’s a story in centuries past about a city with fortified walls. The enemy couldn’t penetrate for months and months. They eventually bribed the gate keepers who where been payed poor wages and eventually destroyed the whole city. The gatekeeper at church is the sound man. If he is not treated right and trained right, your fortified wall is for nothing. No matter how nice Cece Winans’ voice is, if the sound is not right the singing will not be right. 

One day, a pastor friend of mine came to my studio and I played a song for him. He loved the song so much and pleaded with me if I can arrange for the singer to come and minister at his upcoming conference. I laughed and told him it was his own lead singer from church. He couldn’t believe it so I had to mute everything else in the song for him to hear his wonderful singers voice to his amazement. He asked me how come she didn’t sound like that at church. So I used the opportunity to talk to him about the importance of his sound. 

I know pastors who go to music stores by themselves and buy equipments and expect it to work. One pastor bought a keyboard with “many knobs”, because in his thinking that means it is better than the one with fewer knobs. I have seen some ministries with quality microphones for the preacher and bad once for the singers or vice versa. What you are saying is, "my Praise & Worship is not that important". I know lead singers who bought their own microphone for church so they can sound great rather than help solve the groups problem of poor microphones. She only helped herself and left the other singers still stuck with a problem she should be helping to fix. Chords needs to be changed frequently, at least every year or two depending on whether you build up and tear down every Sunday or you have a fixed installation at church. Check the frequencies of your cordless microphones. Sometimes some of them don’t work well together. Ask the store for the church to test equipments at your church location on maybe two Sunday services before buying it. Sometimes the problem is not the poor sound guy. There’s a lot that comes into play. One rule is never buy something you can’t use or control. What is good for church A might be bad for church B.

3. Preparation. 

The first songs are mostly a mess on Sundays. Because the sound man is now checking the sound and setting everything whiles the service has already began. Singers or ministry leaders come to church late, etc. I must admit that most African churches struggle with lateness. The first song in our services becomes a sound check. But the sound check should’ve ended at least 20 minutes before the service begins. We behave like the Holy Spirit hates preparation. But know that God loves people who prepare for His coming. Moses had to prep the whole nation for 2 days to meet their God. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. Unfortunately we see all spontaneity as the “move of the spirit”. Preparation brings about excellence. When we prepare well, the congregation connects to God in a beautiful way. The sound, music, atmosphere, ministry, flow and transitions must be consistent, clear and spirit led. How you prepare tells God whether He's welcome or not. And sometimes singers just pick the mic and lift the song without the band being ready, no interlude to ease God’s precious saints in. If there was proper practice, a prepared singer will make sure the band is ready. Song intros have become a strange thing in our churches. 

Most singers don’t understand the “Selah” moments in music and how beautiful that can be. Where is the order? The world won’t even permit the things that pass in our church on their ungodly stages. You see, we can’t take this for granted. Everyone that has a revelation of heaven will tell you of the order and excellence that permeates through everything they experience. So give your best even when everything is against you. Passion is evident in preparation (input) and not on the stage (output). The military have a saying, “prepare well, and bleed less in battle”. At GC Church, I remember we even practiced communion time and other church activities. How strange some found it, but how thankful they were for not having to figure it out for themselves on the spot. I can’t expect from people what I have not taught them. So let’s not run our ministries on assumptions.

4. Wrong people in the wrong ministries. 

I think most of the problems of the African church begins here. Wrong people at the wrong positions. Sometimes you think to yourself, “this person shouldn’t be singing or ushering”. Truth is, in Christ, we promote based on faithfulness. Why because no matter how nice a Celine Dion concert is, God doesn’t attend it. He rather comes and listens to our “cockroach voices”. That thought just amazes me. But our bible teaches us that every Christian is called in an area of giftings, and it should be our joy to help them discover it. Else as we all know, every lady in the church will flock to the Praise & Worship team. Some sing because they think its nice to stand on stage. Others, think they can sing because they sound great in the bathroom, some, because they see a need and try to fill it which can be a good thing but comes with frustrations. Church atmosphere keeps getting toxic because of this seemingly small problem. To be a good singer/musician or to exhibit an excellent spirit in the African church sometimes becomes like a “curse” because when you raise these kinds of issues, it can be used against you later. 

There are spiritual gift tests online. Please find one that suites your ministry and let your workers take it. Your members would love you for it. At GC Church Amsterdam, we give the Growth track to all our members. Actually this summer, we will begin the whole growth track for a few members that joined. I'm excited and eager to see what spiritual gifts come with the people God has put in my care. Over 60% of Christians today don’t know their spiritual gifts. That’s serious. So offer training for your singers. When people come to church they are asking for 2 things mostly. (1) Make me feel significant, I’m important (2) Train me, lead me to where God wants me to be. Pastors, lets train our leaders until they get it. Repeat yourself until they get it. Find every possible way to do it. Find what works for you. 

There was an experiment done with a 1st and 2nd team of a football club. They where asked to play each other but the 1st team had their positions changed; that is defence where now striking and midfielders where defending; in short they where all over the place. Now the 2nd team played their positions. Guess who won. The 2nd team won even though the 1st team were better technically, they lost for playing the wrong positions. People never win in life if they don’t play their God given positions. And even if they are at their God-given positions they need a spiritual coach, which is you their pastor. A great coach doesn’t necessarily have to be a great player. But he finds his player’s sweet spot and guides them so the church can grow. The advantage of playing your God assigned position is that, that person carries the internal fuel for it. I don’t need to call them daily to encourage them to do what they love. My words of encouragement becomes bonus. Thus relieving me to have more time for prayer, the word and family.

5. Challenge the status quo. 

Challenge your Praise & Worship team to attempt a song that you even know they can’t sing. Never write them off. Dr. Myles Munroe said that great leaders will take you to where you need to be even if it feels uncomfortable. I remember Mr. John Teye betting on us playing a solo that we sometimes knew we can’t even play. Yet we will attempt it anyway. He will give us time but still dare us. That’s how we grew as musicians. He will celebrate even when we couldn’t play the whole song. Mr. John Teye might still give you the money he promised even if you didn’t do it perfectly. Sebastiaan Van Wessem, Lead Pastor of Thousand Hills Hilversum, put his youth band on the spot by letting them play one whole night of praise and worship at church. It challenged and pushed them to greater heights. They have now become the main band for their new campus in Huizen. Amazing!!! Hillsongs did it with their youth band also. Like these examples, your people might not be there yet but still push and nudge them into greatness. 

Remember a push is effective with compliments and encouragement. Anytime you push with criticism, your people will feel like you are out of touch with who they are and their needs. Before you challenge, always encourage with compliments first, especially in public. When they are singing a special song, stand and sing along. Let them feel you are in with them. Bishop O. A. Bernard will stand when I ministered even when the whole church was sitting. That was so encouraging. One time I made my choir, Ghana Community Choir (pictured above), sing Richard Smallwood’s Total Praise in Ghanaian Akan language. I know right? It's a difficult song to even sing in English, but they almost pulled it of in Akan. I used that opportunity to encourage them never to stop trying the impossible and it made the other songs seem way easier. 

The best way to gain respect with followers is with your ears. You are always preaching/teaching them every Sunday. So from time to time, give them the opportunity to speak to you. Listen to their concerns. Ask them for what they think about their ministry. Anytime one of my people is talking with me, I take my book and write. It encourages them because they see that I take them serious enough to write down their thoughts. So when I tell them to write down my sermons on Sundays, they don’t struggle. Always expressing your hunger for excellence without encouraging and complimenting others makes you look unappreciative. Because we leaders are driven, we don’t see it when it’s happening. Encourage even though you let them know they are not at where you want them to be yet. One trait of a great leader is swallowing your feelings and letting certain things slide. Remember you are an ambassador of Christ. So speak like one. 

An opera titled “Man of La Mancha” is about a rich knight who believed in a prostitute even when she couldn't believe in herself. She didn't expect anything high of herself. But he saw a bright future for her and declared it and even began to call her a new name, Dulcinea, to signify her new life. But she resisted his genuine love and his believe in her because it seemed strange to her. No mater how she slipped or behaved he made her know that he strongly believed she can do better and reach impossible heights. On his death bed he sent for her and looked straight into her eyes and encouraged her to do better. Dulcinea only turned her life around after the knight died. He didn’t even see his labor of love. Believing in people is such a powerful act. It still changes people even when we are not with them anymore. I know some of us have lost faith in humanity because of what church members have put us through or what some pastors have said or done. Please take this to God in prayer. God can restore your heart. i have trained so many people that left me at the end. But I can’t punish those who are still with me for what someone else did by withdrawing my trust. And sometimes we observe each other with suspicion. It’s so much hard work to guard the heart from hurt and pain but ask God for the secrets to unlock your heart. Because the people we say we love always end up paying for the sins of the people that hurt us. Never loose your smile, encouragement and compliments. It’s an integral part of our calling as leaders. “And David encouraged himself in the Lord”. Why did he do this? So he can win the battle ahead of him. And he did win!!!!

6. Lots of distractions during service. 

Once I heard a pastor say “Excellence in church means no distractions”. Please don’t strike a chord that takes me out of the presence of God. Sometimes it’s the microphone getting loud all of a sudden. Sometimes its the musicians, sometimes the kids, sometimes the singers. Just interrupting worshipers. Ever seen a singer or musician give too much and try to show off? I just saw a quote on Facebook saying “When a fool shows off he/she sees it as glory”. A pastor told me how once he saw a keyboardist showing off during praise time meanwhile the keyboard itself wasn’t even plugged-in, while everyone was thinking “this guy can really play” because of his over the top expressions. The chords or scales might be nice but inappropriate for the song and move of God at that particular time. We must be sensitive to the leadings of the Spirit and to the one standing with the lead microphone. 

When you are playing under the pastor’s preaching, its advisable to use strings or pads softly instead of “attackish” sounds like piano, guitar or ep. So the strings/pads can be a bed on which the speaker’s voice can lay on. Use the pads/strings to create an atmosphere where the Spirit of God can flow through the speaker and not necessarily your instrument to be heard by everyone. Musicians, when in the middle of a song and the lead singer or pastor begins to speak, please play soft or even better allow only the keyboards to play. Sundays have become a volume contest. Church singers tend to loose their voices after Sunday service due to screaming because they can’t hear themselves. The stage monitor levels can only go so high before feedback sets in. For solutions check speaker placements in your room or speak to a specialist. For some churches putting the drum in a booth has even destroyed the attack and beauty of their sound. If the mix is bad, then the drum booth will even make it worse sometimes. In film they say the story line is king. Same as in music, the melody or lead is king. Accompany and don’t overtake. Unfortunately, we have turned the congregation into spectators with our riffs and runs. We call it Gospel music for a reason. Let us hear the Gospel clearly being sung, backed by the music.

7. Nothing is written down.  No repertoire

I have a sharp memory (well, so I have been told), and sometimes it causes me to not write things down for those who are following me. Everything can live happily in my head. So that causes people that follow me to fumble and I then get frustrated because they don’t “get it”. My wife kept telling me to write things down because everyone is not in my head. So I eventually did. But I will admit it feels good when people just “catch me”, or when we click. It's just a warm feeling folks. But in leading others, clarity is more important than “feel me catch me” or "click". They say, "a broken pen is better than a sharp mind". So what is your church music repertoire? There’s a reason why everyone sings along to hymns so easily even though the melody and lyrics are sometimes complex. It’s because its clearly printed and in the right key for everyone to sing along. But with some of our churches, nothing is written down and nobody knows the keys to any song. And at every practice we have to spend time finding keys to songs we have been singing for months. Imagine Israel Houghton coming on stage and not knowing the key to the song he’s about to sing in. But we do that always in God’s house. 

There should be a book with the songs for the church. Every singer should also have a special book for songs and with each song the appropriate keys. So, write everything down, not on papers, but in a book set apart for your music ministry. Any music ministry without a repertoire written down with the appropriate keys is not serious enough. In a lot of our churches, the beamer lady even has all the songs we sing already typed down on the church PC. So start from there. Even the 4 creatures and angels in heaven have a repertoire, and at least we all can tell that “Holy Holy Holy” is one of them, lol. Imagine if all our favourite hymns weren’t written down when they where composed? Think, how many ideas have you lost because they weren’t written down. I have heard great men say “ideas are the greatest thing to have”, okay, but let me introduce you to the pen. It’s the most powerful. Those that wield it decide our culture and create history. I have built a culture of writing at GC Church, and not just with music but with preaching and announcements. Most Sundays I remind the church the importance of writing. We even have notebooks and bibles to sell at the back of the church. Members are also allowed to use their phones to record or write at our services as long as it doesn’t ring. The word “Discipleship” means student. We have become students who don’t write anything down. Yet we expect to not fail our “life’s exam”. Any teacher will tell you. Write!!!

8. Infections - Attitude - Rehearsal is a very jovial affair. 

People that don’t take the process serious are dangerous. I call them infections. Apostle Paul was very tough on people who infected his churches with bad habits and attitudes. And you should too. Back in the day at John Teye School, one of the principles I learned was our director took rehearsals very serious and our real ministrations rather light. He wouldn’t mind so much if you made a mistake at the gig, but you dare not make a mistake at the rehearsal. Because of that we always came prepared. He understood that if we get it at practice we won’t fail at the gig. In travelling around the world with various bands, band members have commended or disliked me on this particular habit of been too serious with practice. I didn’t even know it showed but that was what was drilled into us back then and it has helped me to stand on any stage in the world. Singers don’t come ready to practice or to sing at church practice. They don’t know the song beforehand. Understand that at practice is where we put the harmonies together as a group. 

Several times, I have kicked people out of a group because of their attitude. Again I say, be very careful of infections in your groups. One person can bring everything down with their attitude. They easily frustrate those that are faithful to you. You need to be aware of folks like these. Some singers think they don’t need practice for some strange reason. They give you an attitude when you talk about practicing. Others think because church work is voluntary, nobody should tell them anything. They think to themselves "the church is even lucky to have me do what I do". Some want you to implement what they used to do in their former church or the nation they are coming from. I recall one lady telling me that she is a natural born alto so I can’t tell her to sing any other part. I gladly accepted and disallowed her from singing in my workshop. As a leader of your group don’t allow anyone to destroy what you’ve built. Deal with toxic people and infections with tact else they will discourage those that are eager and passionate about your ministry. I know you are thinking Jesus won’t do that but please read your gospels well and you will find Jesus not tolerating infections especially from the Pharisees and Sadducees. On one occasion Jesus had to even tell his closest pal "Get behind me Satan”. I always feel uncomfortable reading that but that’s our savior disallowing infections in his destiny. Always deal with the issue without attacking people’s characters. Know when to be firm and when to walk in grace. Walk the balance of patience and firmness. You are accountable to God as a steward in his vineyard. 

Learn how to move people from the wrong ministries with Spiritual gift training classes. I personally think we waste time with bible studies on sunday mornings. We can use that spot for spiritual training rather than members having to hear 2 sermons in one day. I remember the first time we did the growth track, people where literally in tears because it was a confirmation of what they had been feeling for so long. We tend to call difficult people in our churches "witches" and write them off as no good, whiles we fail to even spot the real witches. Sometimes the real problem is leadership and not witchcraft.

9. The leadership crisis in our churches. 

Sometimes we pastors undercut our ministry leaders. Give authority and not a position. What that means is that, only set clear goals and objectives for church ministry in church and allow the ministry leader to run it. It’s called buy-in. Stop micro managing. I have caught myself micro-managing a few times. Maybe it’s trust issues after all my disappointments. But anytime I do that, I imply that my leaders are not good enough for the task. Members shouldn’t be coming to me with every problem. There should be a chain of command. One big problem in African churches is everyone wants to deal with the Lead Pastor directly. This character of ours causes most pastors to make arrangements with members without the knowledge of their ministry leaders. A house divided against itself can’t stand. Sometimes the music ministry leader doesn’t have what it takes to lead. So then train them my brother. If you are not training then you are not pastoring. Every Christian is called to preach in some form or another. What sets the pastor apart is his leadership and training others. Get specialists to help from time to time. As a pastor I feel frustrated when someone else says something at church that I have been saying for a long time, and the church pretends like they are hearing a new revelation for the first time. But thats the nature of our world. That’s why bringing in guest speakers and specialists. It helps because what you've been saying for a 100 years becomes fresh when another person says it. When you want to reward a singer’s faithfulness with a promotion, first train them. Set goals, guidelines and evaluate from time to time. Remember that real growth takes time. I'm very suspicious of one-day-wonders. It takes patience.

The African church suffers from a leadership crisis. Understand that the fact that you can cook doesn’t mean you can run a restaurant. Same in church. Preaching and leading are two different things, same as singing and leading. But they can be learned so train leaders. Give them tools so they can do the work well. If you have to correct something every sunday then you have a leadership problem. I was to give a workshop to a church choir once. When I entered the auditorium I discerned in my spirit strong divisions in the choir. It was so bad that the choir didn’t even sit for their voice parts-soprano, alto, tenor, but rather according to the factions that they belonged to. My wife will tell you that generally I’m very patient with singers, fixing choirs and music ministries. But with this particular case, I immediately picked up my stuff and left because the choir didn’t need fixing, rather the music leadership did. I understand that leading in the black church can be hell. But you can’t build on division. Where there’s a leadership crisis, nothing can be built. We are quick to fix others rather than look at our style of leadership.

10. Clear Vision. 

I personally believe if your vision can’t be said in one breath then it’s not worth following. A vision should arouse an emotion. e.g., LET MY PEOPLE GO!!! Moses returned to Egypt saying these simple but powerful words. It was easy to understand, clear and on point. The explanation of it can be long but the vision sentence should be clear. I was just reviewing a book on amazon titled “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. I find the title so direct, simple and everyone gets it. Don’t complicate things. The best way to cast vision for the music ministry is to show them what you actually mean. Concepts and words can be misinterpreted so find a singer or church on youtube you like and watch it together with the whole team. I remember Mr. John Teye will get the latest Integrity Music video tapes and gather us all to watch and discuss. Best way to practice is to emulate.

The vision for the music ministry should be practical & reachable. It should be a balance of what you want and what the congregation wants. Speak to your church members, ask them the kinds of songs they are listening to now? You’ll find a common thread within them all. Take that 50% and add your 20% and finally the lead singer’s 30%. See your singers future even before they do. And tell them boldly what you see. Push them with encouragement. Listen to them. You will be shocked that most of them will be on the same page as you but they are quiet because of a few issues. In so doing you’ll arouse their inner passion. Show by example, before you preach, sing some of the songs you wish to hear at church. Even if you don’t have the best voice. At God Center, I want there to be a flow between the singing and the preaching. The songs should border around the theme of the messages. It is very hard to hammer this concept down because a lot is done by only feeling in our churches. But with prayer and patience we will get there. They will catch you as time goes by. Never underestimate your authority, members tend to like what their pastors like. So press on.

In conclusion (know that when a pastor says in conclusion, it means nothing, lol!!), Don't be afraid that you'll offend a few people. Your action or inaction will offend people anyways. So at least let people take offense because you walked the path God called you to walk, rather that members getting pissed at you for not giving clear vision and direction. My dad told me something when I began ministry. He said, "In ministry you can do everything right and everything will go wrong, or seem wrong, but press on". The truth is I didn't get it until I was in the fire. John Maxwell has an article on how to win difficult people over. Find it and chew it.

What makes church ministry sometimes challenging is that, it's voluntary. And especially in the African church culture, some members won't take lightly to you demanding excellence. I believe that there're some few people in your church and also the next generation who are ready for the changes that I have stated above. So gather them round and read this with them, ask for their opinions and start a whole new movement within the church with these hungry souls. I don't try to understand everything the youth are into. But I learn from them really fast and I make them know I'm in support of them whiles showing genuine interest in their lives. They love me for it. 

So if like me you are hungry for change, I ask you to join me today to bring revolution in our various church music ministries for the glory of God!!!

So, what are your thoughts? Maybe I have left something out that you’ve observed. So please share and leave a comment below. God bless you

Your humble servant,

Berima Amo
Founder / Lead pastor
God Center International Church
Amsterdam, The Netherlands