A fan turned reporter
Ebenezer Akyirem loved to shares articles from nac.today on his WhatsApp groups, until his district rector asked him one day if he would not like to slip into the role of reporter and write his own articles. This is how the 30-year-old became acquainted with the work of a journalist—both the nice aspects as well as the not so nice ones.
Ebenezer’s parents are New Apostolic. After completing school, he began his studies at the Teacher Training College in Winneba. He now teaches information and communication technology at Tarkwa Senior High School in Winneba. He is also actively involved in the local congregation: he is a youth leader, sings in the choir, and plays the organ. And he is a reporter for the website of the Church in Ghana.
Sharing his being New Apostolic
Ebenezer is not only a Christian on paper. “For me, being New Apostolic is a way of life,” he says. “I try to live the doctrine in everyday life, to let everyone I encounter feel comfortable and at home, and show them respect and love.” And he shows how proud he is of his Church by talking about and sharing his faith on social media as well.
This is how he came to the attention of his district rector. In 2018 he approached Ebenezer, who is actually a very shy young man, and asked him whether he could imagine working as a reporter for the website of the New Apostolic Church Ghana. Ebenezer agreed. Today, four years later, he has no regrets whatsoever. On the contrary, “It has been a wonderful experience for my Christian life. I have come to learn that reporters have a unique opportunity to build the faith of members and project the Church. I am happy to be one of them. Taking pictures, summarising sermons onto an A4 page, and interviewing has also helped me to relate with different people. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”
A difficult way
The young wordsmith received two training sessions through the Church. The chief reporter Eric Ampadu, who is also a Bishop, mentored Ebenezer and other young reporters when they first set out. He gave them lots of feedback on some earlier reports they had published. “He is always on hand to provide any assistance or guidance.”
Ebenezer’s challenges are in terms of funding transportation to newsworthy locations. He simply cannot afford to travel far, so his reporting is mostly limited to places where he lives or works. He writes about confirmations, youth events, and divine services. His reports are fascinating to read.
His most difficult task? “That was at the Kumasi Central Church,” Ebenezer remembers. “Lead Apostle Samuel Oppong-Brenyah had asked me to help the local reporter cover an event in the church.” The participants, however, did not know Ebenezer and kept preventing him from taking pictures. It was frustrating, but Ebenezer knew what the problem was: “I hadn’t been introduced.” So after the event he suggested in the reporters’ social media groups that reporters covering an event should be identified with a name tag or something similar.
The crow church
As a reporter for the Church in Ghana, Ebenezer is very familiar with the Church. He gladly told the nac.today editors in Germany about the congregational life of the 2,900 congregations in the country. In the country known for its beautiful nature ranging from beaches, mountains, and lakes to forest reserves, the Church was initially known as the Church that makes its ministers dress like crows—because of the black and white uniforms of the ministers. Now even more people wear black and white and the Church is doing things in the country, for example, such as helping in cases of unemployment or serious illness.
Since 2020 there have been two local Lead Apostles in Ghana who support the District Apostle from Southern Germany. The New Apostolic Church Ghana has existed for more than fifty years. The Church has learned to deal with the challenges in the country. For example, during the rainy season, divine services often have to be postponed due to flooded roads or leaking roofs. But the Church now handles the multitude of languages with confidence: when members come together for a large gathering, the two most dominant local languages in that locality are spoken and interpreted. Ministers are then called who speak other dialects in order to share the word for the minority present who speak these languages. Ebenezer himself also speaks three languages: English, Twi, and Fante. “Oh, the winner of the Miss Ghana 2022 beauty pageant is New Apostolic,” Ebenezer says not without a hint of pride.
Spreading the news
Ebenezer explains what it takes to write a good article: “For me it takes a lot. One must be ready for the event at hand. You must be active, alert, and aware of the happenings around you. You must also be ready physically in your appearance and conduct, be engaged, and tune in spiritually so you can discern the message being preached. Additionally, it also helps to at least have some idea of the people you will be reporting about.” Ebenezer also always has his smartphone with him to take pictures. He writes and edits the reports on his laptops. And he is particularly proud when he finds content from his articles on nac.today.