Mario Maneville and Reformed Faith Mission Community Church – 2015 Annual Report Part 1:
As a popular charismatic preacher using drugs and alcohol and on the verge of suicide, the Lord radically saved Mario. (Read his testimony here.) He started listening to sermons from men like Conrad Mbewe and Paul Washer in 2005, and God used these men in a special way in his life. Is it any wonder that the Lord would now use Mario to lovingly speak truth into the lives of Pentecostal pastors, prostitutes, and drug dealers? In this first excerpt from his annual report, he shared about ministry to pastors in his community.
January Pastors’ Seminar
“January was a busy month as we were preparing for the first Pastors’ Seminar of 2015. Our theme was “The Biblical Standard for Leadership.” One of the highlights of this seminar was the Q & A session. Questions that came from the floor were: What are the qualifications for elders/pastors? When is an elder/pastor disqualified to lead and for how long will he remain disqualified? Are women allowed to preach in the church and to be appointed as elders/pastors? What are the qualifications for apostles and should we still appoint apostles? Is it possible to have such a powerful “worship” experience that we do not need to preach the Word?
These questions are the issues that the Pentecostal churches are confronted with and it was a huge blessing to see them ask these questions themselves. God used the speaker in an amazing way as he pointed people to the Scriptures in a humble and gracious manner. We’ve actually had two of the Pentecostal brothers that regularly attend these seminars enter into further studies. (In October both these brothers left their Pentecostal churches. One of them has joined us).
May Pastors’ Seminar
For our next Pastor’s Seminar in May, we decided to have only one session in the form of a worship service, and afterward have time to reflect and repent and share a love-fellowship lunch. The message was “Back to the Bible, a Holy Life and Repentance”. The message was a rebuke and a call to repentance, holiness, and commitment to the Gospel. The easy believism so often preached is a violation of the Gospel message and is directly responsible for fuelling the spread of drug abuse, prostitution, HIV, domestic violence, crime, etc. in our communities. The Gospel is the only answer for all our social and spiritual problems.
After the preaching of the Word we spent much time in prayer. My heart was moved to hear men and women repent and pledge to turn back to God and His Word. During our time of fellowship, we experienced an attitude of openness and trust between the men and women as they talked about the challenges they face in their ministry and personal lives.
There are some of the pastors that are not happy with these seminars. The main reason would be pride and simply the fact that we (or shall I say the Scriptures) challenge many of the traditions and teachings that they hold to. They are also very upset that we don’t give them a platform to preach or promote their ministries. This impacts the attendance of the seminars as these men encourage other pastors not to attend. We do not promote any denomination or church at these seminars. We only promote the Word of God.
July Pastors’ Seminar
In July we had our third Pastors’ Seminar for the year. We decided to continue with a Gospel theme to combat the series of damnable heresies being preached in our communities. The theme for this seminar was “The Gospel Alone is God’s Power for Salvation.” We had three sessions: 1. What does it mean to preach the Gospel? 2. What is the content of the Gospel? 3. The impact of the Gospel on the pastor’s life.
We had nineteen people in attendance of which fourteen were pastors. During our fellowship time after the sessions, two pastors confessed that they never really knew what the Gospel was. Another pastor told us that he only now understood the gospel and why people are leaving the church who supposedly “gave their hearts to Jesus." He confessed, “It was because I never preached the true Gospel!” Another pastor said that he realizes now that those who went before them never taught them what the Gospel is, only what the Gospel can give you. Praise God for the impact that these seminars have on these pastors.
About a month after the seminar, one of the pastors approached us to let us know that his elders called him to a meeting to find out why his preaching had changed. They wanted to know from him whether it was the seminars that he attended with us that had changed him. His reply to them was that the seminars were only teaching him to go back to the Bible and that he wants to be Christ-centered in his preaching, not man-centered. He said his answer satisfied the other elders. He asked if we can have a seminar for all the congregations of the pastors that attend, so that their people can also be exposed to rich biblical teaching.
It has become a trend for some of the Pentecostal pastors to visit our Sunday services on their weekend off. Their reason is that they know they will get fed when they visit us and they just need to get away from the noise for a while. We also get invited to preach at Pentecostal churches. We were so encouraged when, at one of these opportunities, after Quinton preached, a so-called “apostle” started repenting publicly about his pride and his need to make right with God. This is a huge deal for us and a foreign thing to come from these ‘high profile’ leaders. This is why we have Pastors’ Seminars and why we contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We thank the Lord for showing us that He is at work and that our labor in Christ is not in vain – knowing how weak our faith is, we thank God for every green leaf of hope.