Today is the Day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Today Nana Osei Darko becomes a Bishop. I am excited to witness and be a part of this great investiture.
In the year 2013, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. As fate would have it, I was posted to Wa to do my National Service. While I was there, I found myself in the Wa Aparche of Lighthouse Chapel International pastored by the then Rev.Nana Osei Darko.
I cannot overemphasize what a great mistake it would have been if I had gone anywhere else. My being in that church not only built up my Christianity but also introduced me to one of the best shepherds I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. (I didn’t know this at the time).
Quite recently, I have been reading Bishop Dag Heward-Mills‘s What it Means to Become a Shepherd and I can tell you for a fact that Bishop Nana Osei Darko is a perfect example of who a shepherd is. For the benefit of those of us who are not familiar with the term shepherd, it is God’s preferred way of referring to and relating with his people. Psalms 95 :6-7 says that we should worship our maker because he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. In Matthew 9:36, Jesus refers to the people as sheep. Again many times in the 10th chapter of John, Jesus referred to himself as a shepherd. The word translated as shepherd from the Greek language is POIMEN. It is also the same word translated pastor. A shepherd is a loving, caring guide to the sheep. Like Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, I also now prefer to use the term shepherd instead of pastor because it helps you to focus on your work which is looking after sheep. It also helps you not to see yourself as a “man of God” which usually leads to bigmanisms in many cases.
In the book, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills simplifies and categorises the main duties of a shepherd as follows:
P – Prayer
V – Visitation
C – Counselling
I – Interaction
When faced with the temptation to focus on administration, Paul points out that Prayer is the most important aspect of the ministry.
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4 KJV)
That is why Bishop Dag, teaches that Prayer is the cardinal sustaining force of the church. The fact that the Wa church has thrived under Nana Osei Darko, followed by the decision to consecrate him as a Bishop is evidence that he is a prayerful man. I can personally attest to this fact because not only did he consistently encourage us to pray every day but he prayed with and for us. He even organised special Lunch Prayer Meetings in addition to the already existing prayer meetings.
Another important aspect of the shepherd’s work is Visitation. In Jeremiah 23:2, it Is apparent that the shepherds of the day failed to visit the sheep so they scattered as a result. When shepherds fail to visit the sheep scatter.
Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23 : 2 KJV)
Although I didnt live with my family, I never lacked visits while I was at Wa. Bishop Nana Osei visited me many times. If I decide to count the number of times he actually took me home as visits (because he mostly spent some time before he left), I’ll need a whole blog post for that. Visiting your sheep stabilises them.
The next aspect to consider is Counselling. Counselling involves ministering the counsels of God to people. You can do this through teaching a congregation or an individual. According to Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, counselling entails more than just the one-on-one format that we know and call counselling. Effective counselling should be done from both the pulpit and then one-on-one. As Paul details in his letter to Timothy, a Bishop must be apt to teach(1 timothy 3:2). A good shepherd is a good teacher of the word. Bishop Nana Osei Darko was and still is one of the finest teachers of the word you’ll ever find. I really enjoy listening to him teach the word. He speaks from a place of wisdom, understanding and authority.
The last aspect of the duties of a shepherd is Interaction. Interaction is another thing a shepherd must be able to do well. A good shepherd should not be detached from his sheep. He should know and interact with the sheep. Bishop Dag Heward-Mills teaches a concept he calls Deep Sea Fishing. What it is is that the shepherd plunges into the crowd and picks out new and unfamiliar faces and interacts with them. Through this, they befriend new people, find out where they live and create lasting friendships and relationships. Everybody wants to be known and identified; doing deep sea fishing helps the shepherd to meet this psychological need. In this regard also, the Bishop Nana Osei Darko is a good shepherd. He knows me by name, knows where I live, what schools I went to and more. I haven’t felt as comfortable as I am talking to him with any other pastor.
Bishop Nana Osei Darko, thank you for being a good shepherd to me and the many others that you have loved, cared for and guided in this otherwise vague journey that is life. May the Good Lord bless you and take you to even greater heights.
Whoever you are, wherever you, whatever you do, if you are a shepherd or want to become a good shepherd, I present to you an example worth emulating.- Bishop Nana Osei Darko.