From music concerts to the pulpit. . . Charamba says it's God's calling

GOSPEL music power couple of Charles and Olivia Charamba last year surprised many when they left the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) to form their own church, Rooted in Christ Ministries. The couple, undoubtedly the most successful gospel duo with several hit songs under their belts and multiple music awards, launched their service at the Zimbabwe College of Music. 

The Daily News on Sunday’s Assistant Editor Maxwell Sibanda caught up with Charles to talk about his new mission and the vision ahead for his church. Below are some excerpts from the interview:

Q: What is the difference between being a musician and being a church leader?
A: In music, you get preoccupied with the art of song crafting and delivery. At church, you become more of a leader, torch-bearer. You offer a shoulder to people more than you do as a musician. You are also a part of the solution to people’s problems while leading them to Christ. A song teaches in five minutes, a live sermon goes beyond and you speak to be clearly understood.

Q: What do you want people to know you as — preacher, pastor or prophet — what is the difference among the three?
A: There is not much in these designations, they can all be found in one individual. A preacher has the task of sharing about God’s goodness in any manner, whether vocally or in exemplary lifestyle. A pastor shepherds the flock. Peter, having been appointed an Apostle, he was told to ‘shepherd’ people by Christ Jesus, three times he was requested in one talk. I am a pastor who can prophecy yet my main preoccupation musically has been evangelistic. I am Charamba, a teacher of the gospel as well.

Q: When did you start feeling that you wanted to be a church leader; did God communicate with you about this mission?
A: It took a number of years but intensified in 2015. All along, we thought we could fulfil our purpose in the setting we were. 
The Lord impressed it on us that we should start ministering separately from our parent church. We were told that we are not the only ones being called out; there are other gospel ministers whom God is raising for His work. Comfort zones are a great hindering factor when it comes to answering God’s call.

Q: Most of your followers; what age group are they?
A: It’s a mixture of age groups. Frankly speaking, we are not yet speaking of numbers at the moment and we have not performed even a single Fishers of Men song as yet. 
Time is coming when we shall do so, for now it’s strictly pashoko mode. Jesus’ audience started off as 12, then 70, and 120 a few days after ascension. It was on purpose for that moment. In a little moment Peter was already heading one that had 5,000 people (Acts 4:4) but he wasn’t greater than Jesus.

Q: What kind of gospel do you teach at your church; i.e prosperity gospel or what?
A: We preach “Christ crucified, Christ resurrected”. The true gospel should prosper a person physically and spiritually. Yes “prosperity” is perceived differently, it’s subjective.  We are not advocates of poverty, anguish and pain; as such we aim to create a balance in the life of a believer. When people came to Jesus during His days in physical form, they were healed, fed, delivered from evil spirits and taught to grow their faith. Jesus catered for their physical and spiritual needs though the principal agenda was to usher all mankind into eternity through the sacrificial death in the cross. We preach a gospel that creates relevance to the believer in this life while preparing for eternity in Jesus Christ.

Q: Prophecies; if God communicates with you, do you share your visions?
A: I usually seek audience with whoever would be the recipient of any insight or message received. If I can’t access the person physically, I may call, meet them or speak to their representative. If it concerns the church congregation, I communicate within the setting. Though it is not my primary gift, prophecy takes place on a number of scales and can be targeted at individuals or collective bodies, it all depends.

Q: Do you see yourself spreading to other towns and cities?
A: This is kingdom business. The church that Peter led was not given boundaries. Lost souls need salvation and we shall do everything we can to play a part in spreading the word, teaching and transforming lives. We will not hesitate to broaden if the Spirit leads us that way.

Q: What are your big plans for this year? Any major crusades lined up?
A: For now, much of our time is directed towards the laying of our foundation. Yes, crusades will be some of the main activities. Videos for our yesteryear releases shall be out in a week’s time. It’s going to be on, non-stop.

Q: Amai Olivia Charamba; how does she fit in the church?
A: She is a very important person in the pursuit of this vision. She is a trained theologian who also has some attributes different from mine which allows for a good complementary relationship, just like we do musically. She is a leader just like myself, as Rooted in Christ, we shall not limit women from preaching the gospel because Jesus set all humanity free that’s why He revealed Himself to Mary, not Peter and John during the machira chete incident. Mai Charamba also ministers together with praise team.

Q: As a music power couple; how are you going to embrace the music ministry within your church?
A: Music is a very important component of worship; we are making sure that we give it some space and due recognition. We are going to compose more music that should broaden the song-bank for the broader family of churches; it’s a responsibility that we should take care of as composers or recording artists. We will utilize our abilities, talents and gifts to fulfil this.

Q: How busy have you been since launching your church and how are you balancing your activities?
A: It’s been very busy for us but not regrettable. We have so far taken advantage of a relatively laid-back schedule that characterises our calendar every year, which has a huge breather in the first three to four months of the year. The musical interlude offers us an opportunity to be at church more frequently. We do a lot of counselling and carry out different devotional programmes.

Q: What is your vision for this church?
A: We are called to be the salt of the earth and being light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). The main thrust of Rooted in Christ is to bring lost souls to Christ and get them to have to have a better understanding of the scriptures. We itch and aim to see Christians being more stable, established in faith which is backed by knowledge. Knowing the truth sets us free (John 8:32). The church shouldn’t survive on superstition but on a child-Father relationship with God.

Q: How do you finance activities at the church since you are just starting up?
A: We are doing much of the financing on our own; the church is learning to embrace some duties and responsibilities. We are yet to receive donations from those who may want to partner and sow through our preaching. We trust God, where He calls, He leads. 

He shall provide us with the resources that we need from land to evangelical/outreach equipment. He is just and faithful all the time so we shall continue to use what’s available until He multiplies. 
Resources seem to be the most hindering factor to many who are called to preach, we shall not be deterred by lack of it and we encourage those whose calls are limited by poverty to trust in the Lord.


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