Good books: This pastor doesn’t fleece his flock
He has more than 1,000 church members, and he makes sure they all know exactly how their tithes are spent
The spending habits of some local church leaders have been under scrutiny recently, but one pastor in Sebokeng, in southern Gauteng, says he makes sure his congregants get a finance report every quarter.
Dan Motaung, the pastor at Word of Faith Christian Centre in Sebokeng’s Zone 13, said when he opened the church almost nine years ago, his goal was to change lives through the word of God.
“This church is not a business for me, and I’m not in it for making money,” he told Times Select during a visit to the church premises on Thursday.
Workers were busy with final touch-ups to renovations to the church building, which shares the premises with the Sebokeng Technical College.
“On Sunday, this will be our church, and during the week the school will use it as a hall. The community will also use it as a hall to hold community meetings,” Motaung explained.
He realised in November his church was growing too fast for the classroom he was using. He had 13 church members – mostly relatives – when he started preaching nine years ago. That has now grown to more than 1,000.
“If you were to arrive after 9.30 here on a Sunday morning, you wouldn’t find a space inside the church, and that is what made me to realise that we need to extend the church,” he said.
The church leadership began with the groundwork, sourcing building plans and quotations of how much would be needed to do the work.
Initially, their estimated costs to upgrade their church came to about R1.2m, but costs escalated, and they ended up spending about R1.6m for the projects.
Where did the money come from?
“It was the generous donations from congregants. No one was forced to give any set amount. Our members really opened their hearts and pockets,” he said. “We are very transparent with our finances. Every quarter the head of finance gives the church members a financial report to show how much was collected and how it was used,” he said. The church hall, which Motaung said had a capacity to accommodate about 1,600 people, will not only benefit his church and its members but also the school where it is housed.
“We will also allow the local community to use it to hold meetings, trainings, memorial services and funerals. This is for the greater use of the community,” Motaung said.
“We see this is God’s sanctuary and as a sacred place and events that are to be held here must all be in accordance with what we purposely built this for,” he said. Motaung said people, who mostly gave anonymously, had been very generous with their donations to the building project. “Right at the beginning of the project, someone donated 300 bags of cement, and right now someone donated tiles. Another one donated paint and will also be paying this painter that you see working right now. I don’t know who bought the paint, or even who is gonna pay that painter,” he said. For now, Motaung trusts God to help them find their own land where they can ultimately build a big church to accommodate more than 4,000 people. He wants a piece of land big enough to allow the church to build a skills development centre where the youth can be taught much-needed skills. Church member Mamokete Konyana said she joined the church five years ago while going through a tough time in her life she did not want to talk about, except to say Motaung had been very supportive. “He is such a giving person and very patient. He is also a great adviser when it comes to life issues,” she said. “Prophet” Bushiri, leader and founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church, is well-known for his extravagant lifestyle. He and his wife were arrested in early February on charges relating to fraud, money laundering and organised crime.
Congregants from provinces including Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape have since come forward to say they have lost millions to investment scheme Merger Chen Solutions, which is linked to Bushiri. Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the allegations are being looked into.