I am quite happy this matter has come up this year. It has conflicted me at previous years' Greater Works conferences but admittedly has never been on this scale.
Let me be clear, I have no problem with people 'sowing seed'. Not at all. Indeed, it is done in many shapes and forms in many churches, both 'orthodox' and 'charismatic' (whatever those tags mean).
It is ok for people to activate their faith via their voluntary seed-sowing, and indeed many people have testimonies of resultant blessings. No problem there.
However, when blessings or miracles are packaged and categorised with specific amounts to be paid for different categories, then certainly it becomes a completely different thing, and I am very uncomfortable with it, and cannot justify it by any stretch.
Now, here's the amazing thing: seed-sowing is not even done in ICGC, at least at the head cathedral, Christ Temple, where I worship and where Mensa Otabil preaches.
I have worshipped at ICGC Christ Temple for about 10 years. Not once have I seen or heard a call for seed sowing of any kind in our services. We simply do no such thing. All we do is the normal offertory and of course, you pay tithes if you wish to.
No other money-collection formats. No 'Kofi ne Ama' like we do in my beloved Methodist church, no 'Harvest', no seed-sowing, nothing beyond normal offertory and tithe. That is the ICGC I know.
However, for 1 day every year, 1 day out of 365 days, 1 day out of the 5-day annual Greater Works conference, a guest preacher comes and does his brand of seed-sowing call that I have always found odd. He's done it in previous years, but certainly took it to a much higher level this year, with Dollar-Cedi exchange rates and all!
Sad thing is, this guest preacher always delivers such deep, beautiful sermons, but always ends it with this his rather commercial-sounding seed-sowing call.
And I've always sat there thinking, oh my God, this is so un-ICGC-like! But alas, year after year, he comes and he does it and makes me very unhappy.
But I have no issues with him. My beef is with Pastor Otabil and his team. How do you sit by and let your guest come and do something you never ever do, and at your flagship annual conference? How do you sit by and let something that is alien to your church, become what the church is now perceived to be dabbling in? So the blame falls 100% on the leadership of ICGC, not the guest preacher who came to do this in just 1 day.
And of course, this is Ghana, we just loooove it when someone 'brings himself' to be grilled. We go all out and grill people well, well, when 'their matter come'. Especially, if that person happens to be the type who holds himself out as prim and proper. So Otabil has brought himself. No mercy for him. Lol.
I even see some persons, for reasons best known to them, are circulating an out-of-context excerpt of a video, claiming it is Pastor Otabil's response to the current matter. Such mischievous persons are best left to their God and/or their conscience or motivation, whichever of the three they may have.
So, me, I'm happy. Hopefully, the leadership of the church will ensure that in subsequent Greater Works conferences, no guest preacher will come and do any non-ICGC act, because the many Christians from other churches who attend the conference, as well as observers and commentators, may never know that it is not an ICGC norm. The norm, to them, will be what they see at the conference. Period.
And to disappointed ICGC members, have no issues with the guest preacher; our issues will lie solely with Pastor Otabil and his leadership team, should they let this happen again.
Quite sad that it's gotten to this, but very happy that it has come up!