The Good News Theological Seminary (GNTS) has established six skills development Centres in the country, as part of efforts to help equip people in ministry, who have financial difficulties.
The skills development centres are located at Ziope, Wudzedeke, and Dramave in Agotime and Ziope Districts and Sremanu in Akatsi District, all in the Volta Region; Akyem Breman in the Eastern Region and at Oyebi, in the Greater Accra Region.
The skills development centre in the Greater Accra Region, which is the biggest, is yet to be commissioned.
In addition, the GNTS has also opened an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Centre at Ziope in the Volta Region.
Reverend Professor Thomas A. Oduro, President, GNTS, disclosed this at the 19th graduation ceremony of the Seminary at Oyebi near Accra.
He said the opening of these skills development centres became necessary because some poor and unskilled preachers resort to extorting money from church members for their daily sustenance.
At the congregation, 21 students graduated with Bachelor of Theology, Diploma in Theology and Advanced Certificates in Pastoral Ministry.
Rev Prof Oduro said: “The trend of doing Church and Ministry work has changed tremendously and will keep on changing. Some men and women of God are looking for powers from all sources to do Church work. In fact, to most people, church has become a hardcore business and highly materialistic in many respects.”
“In spite of this, there are some pastors who are poor and unskilled; they depend on their members who are also poor for their daily sustenance. Whilst the former avoids seminaries like Good News, where ministerial formation is the priority, the latter and those who are aware of being called by God to do ministry are skeptical about the future,” he stated.
“The Seminary being aware of the poverty level of those in ministry, has veered into extra-curricular programmes, meant to equip them with skills that will enable them to minister effectively without resorting to unacceptable schemes to enrich themselves.”
He said the GNTS had acquired 50 acres of land to serve as demonstration farms – 20 acres at Triboni and 30 acres at Wugladza.
He said the skills development centres serves close to 200 people including pastors, church members, traditional leaders and Muslims.
He said at the centres, learners were equipped to know how to do improved farming technology with the help of agricultural extension officers, bake bread, and weave kente.
He said their ICT Centre at Ziope in the Volta Region had already trained over 50 people free of charge.
He said the centre of excellence at Oyebi was near completion, and that, people who were targeted to benefit from the courses offered in leadership and development, were residents from Frafaha to Dodowa, who were single mothers, junior high school graduates, widows and widowers and all who desire to attain one form of skill or the other to live self-dependent lives.
“Once it is completed, the much awaited courses in human resource management activities needed by the Church; especially, will be organised there to hone the skills of our pastors and indeed, anyone who desires to study to better their lives,” he noted.
Rev Prof Oduro urged the graduands to be servant leaders in all aspects of life and to be worthy ambassadors of Christ.
Dr Nicoletta Gatti, Lecturer, Department of Religions, University of Ghana, urged preachers of the gospel to uphold the principles of the sound biblical doctrines and to resist the temptation of materialism.
She advised the graduands against using illegitimate means to pull crowd to their churches in the bid to grow, enrich themselves and become famous.
The GNTS is an interdenominational seminary established in 1971 to provide sound Christ-centred education to the Church and Society, fully equipping both men and women with character, knowledge and skills for servant leadership in the African context.
It is a seminary that is fully owned by African Instituted Churches.