Panelists at a roundtable conference on the Catholic Church have challenged the church to embrace innovation and new media to enhance its evangelisation.
They also said the church had the goodwill and should, therefore, leverage on it to expand and add value to its assets in order to raise additional revenue for the church and to support evangelisation programmes.
The event was dubbed, IMANI-Catholic Bishops’ Conference business roundtable on Catholic Church growth in West Africa.
It was on the theme, “The church’s pathways – From dependence to self-reliance in the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA-CERAO) sub-region”.
Church and media
Leading the discussion, the Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Ltd (GCGL), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, challenged the Catholic Church to take advantage of the new media to evangelise, teach, heal and make money.
He said the church could no longer shy away from the new media, which was a powerful tool for reaching out to the youth, noting that the church was too slow in acquiring its own electronic media.
Mr Ashigbey said the church was also not taking advantage of the media to tell its own story, adding that the time had come for Africa to feed the world with its missionaries.
“How are we going to do that if we don’t make use of the technology available to us? How are we going to do that if we don’t have a radio or television we can call our own?” he queried.
Mr Ashigbey, who spoke on the topic, “Sustaining relevance of the state-owned media in the face of the fast changing media landscape,” said the GCGL for its part constantly embraced technology and innovation to remain relevant on the changing media landscape.
He said newspapers produced by the company were currently on a digital platform, making it easier for not only the local customers, but those abroad, “because we have realised that the print is suffering”.
Additionally, he said, the company had introduced a barcode called the quick read that enabled readers of the company’s newspapers to listen to speeches, discussions or watch events with the use of a smartphone.
Mr Ashigbey said for the state-owned media to remain relevant, they needed to commit to professionalism and aspire for excellence in everything they would do.
“We need to be entrepreneurial in our thinking, we need to run the organisations as if they were our own,” he stressed.
Relating this to the church, Mr Ashigbey challenged the lay faithful to see the church as their own when discharging the various roles assigned them.
For his part, the Managing Director of uniBank, Mr Felix Nyarko-Pong, said the Catholic Church was in a better position to harness its abundant human resource to create wealth to fund evangelisation.
Speaking on the topic, “How to maximise the church’s socio-economic projects and reduce unemployment,” he said the church could undertake ventures such as banking or micro-financing, in order to accrue funds to undertake projects.
He said such ventures could also be the sources of employment for the teeming youth in the church.
Leveraging on assets
A former Managing Director of EximBank Ghana, Mrs Felicity Acquah, who spoke on the topic, “Leveraging on assets to build a sustainable funding base,” said the church had all the resources at its disposal to create more wealth.
She said the leadership of the church had special expertise in forecasting investment opportunities and making purchases that increased the value of the church’s assets.
Mrs Acquah urged the church’s leadership to leverage on the goodwill that the Catholic Church had, to acquire more assets.