Rev. Dr Antoine Rutayisire, senior pastor at Anglican Church of Rwanda-Remera Parish, had an exclusive interview with The Gospel Time’s Frederic Byumvuhore, in which he noted that Rwandans need to pray to God and ask Him to experience new revival.
“There was a huge movement of God in the 30s and 40s which brought a very sensitive transformation. Unfortunately, it did not last long because it was quenched by the bloodshed of what they called the social revolution of 1959,”he explained.
What is revival?
My simplest definition of revival is when there is a manifestation of presence of God that leads to life transformation for the better. You look in the Bible or any other place you will find that the first to happen is presence of God and the second thing is transformation of life, transformation of society. Do Rwandans need positive transformation? Yes, we need revival. When revival happens churches become more relevant, more meaningful, and transformative.
There was a huge movement of God in the 30s and 40s which brought a very sensitive transformation. Unfortunately, it did not last long because it was quenched by the bloodshed of what they called the social revolution of 1959. One of the worst things that can happen to a nation that kills mutuality is murder and a lot of people were killed between 1959 and 1963 and even after. Actually, the fire of revival was quenched by the blood of innocent people. That’s why we need to cry to God and ask Him to experience revival again. We need to see God moving again and see new transformation.
Pastoral work is a calling, but the government has required all pastors to attend the school of theology. What can you say about it? What are the consequences the church will face when pastors are not educated?
It is already a problem to have uneducated pastors. I know many pastors who say no and defend themselves that Disciples of Christ were not educated but they are wrong. For three years, the disciples on daily basis went around with Jesus, sharing with Him preach, getting explanations from Him. All Disciples of Christ were educated by the best professor. Paul had a PhD from Gamariel. The move for me is a blessing. I am a born again Christian, I was a preacher before I studied Theology but I realized the difference. It is like these African Footballers from Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Cost and Egypt among others… when they are in Africa, they are not good players but when you take them to Europe they become professionals because they train and coach them. Today, we have wonderful players from Africa. In Europe, they meet good coaches and academies. If they had stayed in Africa, I am sure that they wouldn’t be shining. What makes the difference is the coaching and training by people who are well equipped.
When we train pastors, if I was a good preacher, and then I learn how to shape my sermon with purpose and for sure I will preach better than I did before.
What are the main challenges you have faced during your pastoral work? How did you overcome them?
I think a hardest Challenge was working with people and then you realize that they are not working with Christian values. Other challenges were easy to handle because they are part of what God sent to us to confront. Also, there were challenges of Christians who do not act according to our faith. People who do not understand the gospel or misunderstanding you because you are a pastor is normal.
Some churches are fighting; I remember when I was a commissioner at Unity and Reconciliation. I was in charge of Religious forum and had files full of letters from pastors, Bishops full of betrayal and slanders written to Ministers and President. God’s people are not supposed to do this. For me that was the greatest disappointment and it is still.