WALTER Magaya, founder of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) — has revealed that he shares what his church gets from God including resources with the poor and the disadvantaged in society.
The popular preacher, however, does not disclose how much he is worth save to say being rich is not a sin. In an exclusive interview with a South African television channel Magaya justified prosperity gospel and the wealth associated with latter-day prophets like him.
“Prosperity is something that has been there in churches from long ago. God says I’m the owner of silver and gold and if you are one of the children, why shouldn’t you have the money?” Magaya told Africa 360, a programme aired on E News Channel Africa (ENCA).
“Being rich as a pastor is not a sin. You only resemble your Father who owns everything.”
Magaya has interests in real estate while his church also has interests in football and owns a tele-evangelical production which owns Yadah TV.
The PHD leader is known for his modest dressing and the lower end type of cars he drives, a lifestyle he defends as being consistent with his followers who come mainly from impoverished communities.
Zimbabwe has witnessed the proliferation of prosperity and deliverance gospel churches led by prophets who go on to live in opulence.
But Magaya told Africa 360 that his riches were more spiritual as evidenced by his works that include charity and compassion.
“I can say I’m a rich pastor in the spirit, not in the material. Whatever I get in my life I share with others,” said Magaya.
“If I get $100, my policy is I share the $90 and I keep the $10. I believe if a man is rich, he is rich because of the poor who are behind him and he must support them.”
“I’m not really sure what I’m worth because whatever I get passes on to someone else but I can’t tell you how many I assist. For instance, I have 5 000 families under my care and thousands of children in remote areas I pay fees for.”
Magaya is arguably Zimbabwe’s most followed preacher as evidenced by huge crowds that attend his church services and special events.
Social commentators say the desperate situation in Zimbabwe has forced people to run to prosperity and deliverance gospel
University of Zimbabwe’s professor Ezra Chitando said pentecostal churches thrive where governments have failed the people.
“…citizens in the region are struggling against hope, goods of expansion in terms of development, so the rise of pentecostal churches has almost been a replacement of the State as it were in the provision of hope and social services,” said the academic.
But Magaya told Africa 360 that his fortunes were not built from the poor man’s troubles, describing himself as a businessman and claiming that his ministry depends on goodwill partners.
“I encourage people to work to be innovative so they improve their own lives. Offerings are not really hundreds of thousands of dollars as people think,” he said.
“Many people count the heads and they calculate with some dollars and they come up with an amount. “The fact is most people are coming to be healed, helped and delivered. They aren’t coming to assist the ministry but to be assisted.
“We actually depend on partners from all over the world not offerings.”
More than 75 percent of the country’s population live on an average of $200 per month, according to the latest Finscope report.
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government are blamed for presiding over the collapse of the once prosperous Zimbabwe economy which is now a basket case.
However, Magaya still believes Mugabe remains a gift to Zimbabwe.
“With his character, I can safely say one of the most peaceful countries in this world is Zimbabwe and he is one of our gifts. No one is scared in Zimbabwe,” said Magaya.
“Look at David, when Saul was the leader he said, who am I to kill a leader who was blessed by God. Everything happens for a reason.”