Kenyan pastor Bishop, Allan Kiuna of the Jubilee Christian Church in Nairobi, has defended his lavish lifestyle following criticisms on social media.
Bishop Kiuna's church has 15 Kenyan branches and five international churches.
According to The Star, the Bishop has been posting series of photos of his family's Christmas vacation in Australia. He travels with his wife, the Rev Kathy Kiuna, their three children, Vanessa, Stephanie and Jeremy, two grandchildren and their Australian and South African sons-in-law.
The family lives in posh Runda, their stable of cars include a Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz. They wear designer clothes, watches and accessories. They always fly first class.
Following the backlash on social media over his flamboyant lifestyle, The Star contacted the man of God about his lifestyle, church collections and how he handles criticism. He graciously replied in an email interview, from Australia.
Q: On your 50th birthday last December, social media was abuzz with news that your congregants planned to gift you, their "Dad", a private jet. Do you have it yet.
A: Yes and No. No because it is not yet at hand. Yes because they are speaking and declaring what I am believing God for and I am confident it shall come to pass. When God is ready to do something in your life, even your enemies announce it in advance."
Q: Why do you need a jet?
A: The church is expanding. My calendar and itinerary won't allow me to meet the demands of missionary work. This calls for efficient travel and it's too tedious to fly commercial from one continent to another.
Q: Why this vacation?
A: Pastors are life-givers...Men of God go through a lot. All this drains your spiritual, mental and social welfare. You can't give, give, give without recharging....one can suffer burn-out. Just as Jesus often withdrew to recharge, we are recharging and being with our family. We are having a lot of fun, not because of the place, but because we are together as a family. This fulfills us.
Q: Does criticism bother you?
A: As long as I remain true to my God and my calling, what people say is not important. I won't let another person's opinion distract me from focusing on the grander vision God entrusted to me. No one throws stones at a mango-less tree. Sometimes ignoring and moving on is the best remedy. You don't respond to a mosquito bite with a hammer.
Q: Jesus lived a humble life and Christians are supposed to be Christ-like. Are you living a Christ-like life?
A: Only the word of God can demystify misconceptions. I state categorically Jesus was never poor. Tell me of any poor man who has an accountant. Judas Iscariot was the accountant and used to steal. When you steal from a poor man, what can he be left with? You know the answer.
Q: Are you living a humble life?
A: Humility has nothing to do with poverty or riches. It is not a function of material standing, it's about the state of one's heart and mind. There are very wealthy people who are very humble ... There are very poor people who are very arrogant ... The bottom line is that being Christ-like has nothing to do with material status but one's relationship with Christ and living a life patterned after Him.
He has taken me from one level of glory to another. Those who know me can attest to the fact I am a generous giver, always willing to reach out and help the less privileged. I have paid school and college fees for children I have never met and hospital bills for people I don't know. This is being Christ-like.
Q: Do you announce how much you collect every Sunday, as old-school churches do?
A: Every institution has its own modus operandi. I totally admire and respect those doing that. Though we do not publicly announce our collections, we have our own mechanisms to achieve the same. Our accounts are open to scrutiny. Any church member can walk into the accounts office and ask for the records of their giving. They will be given instantly. Internal and external auditors regularly audit our books.
Source: The Star