In a quest to answer some of my feelings, and to try and understand the rising popularity of #ThisFlag Pastor Evan Mawarire, I will attempt to finger the pulse of this mesmeric man. Just what is it about that “miracle” pastor who rose out of the ashes of Zimbabwe and into the TV screens across the world in a matter of weeks?

Pastor Evan describes himself as just a small congregational pastor, and a family man; just another citizen of Zimbabwe who is tired of corruption, poverty, police brutality and economic hardship in the nation after years of misrule under the Mugabe Regime.

A powerful message.

His popularity belies that statement – no matter how much he may wish for his followers not to deify him. He is a humble man and is going to have to hang onto that humbleness. I like to think of him starting every day of the rest of his life down on his knees before his God asking for that humbleness to remain in his heart. Power corrupts, and he is becoming more and more powerful every time he looks into a camera and opens his mouth.

When Evan Mawarire addressed the students at the University of the Witwatersrand in South #Africa recently, more than half a million people visited the @ThisFlag1980 Twitter account in search of the live stream in just two hours.

Famous orators.

There have been men throughout history who had massive followings – men like Robert Mugabe himself, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Hitler. Winston Churchill had a way with words despite doing poorly at school. These great people had one thing in common – they stood for those too afraid to stand for themselves. They epitomized a better future for those living under extreme hardship.

The #ThisFlag movement is urging their followers not to turn their social media movement for change into a personality cult. I agree with this, and yet I find myself glued to Twitter, YouTube, and #Facebook every time a new video by the pastor is posted up.

Powerful words.

When I hear Pastor Evan talk in his straightforward and simple manner, there is a feeling inside my chest that wants to burst out of me - a feeling that often moves me to tears. It is an emotion many of the followers of Jesus must have felt when he gave them hope in Roman dominated Jerusalem thousands of years ago. When a speaker can catch the magic and move people to tears or laughter, and when he can inspire ordinary people to lay their lives on the line to grow his vision of a prosperous and free Zimbabwe – he has something special that the rest of us cannot seem to grasp.

His messages are for his people in Zimbabwe, but the contents of his messages are moving hearts across the continent. They are messages, above all, about caring and love for our fellow citizens. They are messages that people across the world are hungry to hear.  As Leonard Cohen sang many years ago – “and it’s here they have the spiritual thirst.”

Across the world, there is a spiritual thirst, and what comes across more than anything else is the fact that this man somehow manages to deliver his humanitarian message in such a way that the over-riding emotion that comes across is love: Love for his home, love for his fellow citizens, love for his flag, and love for the poor, the blacks, the whites, the Diaspora, the refugees and the broken.

Moving people through love.

Pastor Evan is moving millions of people across the world through love. He is a man striving to free his people from fear in a country ruled by a man who openly declares they know how to deal with their enemies, by a man who boasts of putting dissenters into holes in the ground to “live like mice.” Pastor Evan knows that there is only one way to break the fear culture. He is a pastor, so it is perhaps fitting to end this by quoting the Bible that accompanies him everywhere he goes.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” - 1 John 4:18