I grew up believing that it is important to give to God. Give Him your time by working in God’s house; give Him your money to promote the spread of the gospel.
These days, I find it increasingly hard to stick to what my parents instilled in me.
I was an ardent tithe-payer up until a few months towards the end of 2011. Prior to then, I would pay my tithe FIRST before any other thing and regardless of how pressed I was for money.
Fast-forward 2012, I don’t even feel too guilty about it.
One day, I sat in church and listened to my pastor tell one of his numerous stories about how he was in this country or that country (sometimes with his entire family). And then I said to myself “wait, whose money is used to fund these regular round-the-world trips?” And that was it for me. The next month, rather than pay tithe to the church, I gave it to an orphanage.
Now, I am fully aware that some pastors regularly get personal gifts from their clients customers fans members. I am aware that some of these trips are sponsored by individuals who feel the need to “be a blessing to God’s servant”. But then, I am also aware that a bulk of these “Missionary Journeys” are to Europe and America. My question is, why don’t they go to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, Somalia, Libya etc?
Why don’t these people go to people in war-torn countries who need God’s love the most?
Why Europe and America?
Why should my pastor drive a Range Rover Sport with a personalized plate? Is he D’banj? Does that in any way inspire more people to give their lives to Christ? Why should my pastor have bodyguards? Is he David Mark? Who pays these guards? What other sources of income, apart from church funds, does he have?
When the missionaries came to Nigeria, the fastest way they got people to listen to them was by building schools. They didn’t necessarily have to preach before people agreed to go to school. Enriching their lives was an effective way to teach them about God’s love.
You don’t have to carry Bible and microphone to shout about Jesus before you win souls. By living a life akin to Christ’s, a life worthy of emulation, a life filled with kindness and love to others, you are evangelizing in the most effective way possible.
Now tell me, which church in Nigeria has built ONE school and made it free or atleast highly subsidized and not for profit? None that I know of! With all the billions of naira these churches rake in every month, they can afford to give free basic education, either as a body or individually. Yet what do we see?
Millions spent on church buildings, millions spent paying for adverts of numerous church programs on TV, radio and newspapers, millions spent establishing media empires (publishing books, selling dvds etc), some even have their own TV stations now! All these things are by no means cheap!!
The one that irks me is when they constantly “import” preachers from Europe and America and add it on their posters and flyers, perhaps
to lend more “credibility” or is it now effizzi? You fly a preacher (and his family) in from America, pay for their flight tickets, put them in the best hotels AND pay them “honorarium” when they are leaving. You spend all that money to come and preach to a widow with five children who can’t afford to pay her kids’ school fees and is only just managing to get by. And you tell her God is good, you tell her to have faith and wait for her blessing. YET you live in absolute luxury and forget that you may be the one through whom God is supposed to bless her. Why should a church build a school using CHURCH FUNDS and still charge exorbitant fees afterwards? If that isn’t criminal, I wonder what is. Despite all these, we sit and do nothing. We criticize the government instead because we have been so blinded by religion, we can no longer differentiate between right and wrong. As long as Pastor is doing it, it is from Jehovah himself.
We hide behind the cloak of religion to cover laziness and greed. And if we say “peeem”, thunder will strike us. After all, God says “touch not my anointed”.
The church has turned to a fully fledged business. Infact, I know of a church that sent its pastors on a business course to learn about business models. No be “dem say”, it’s a fact. And if you look carefully, you’d notice that most of these churches are run just like other businesses.
Their merchandising na die. Check out holy water, anointing oil, holy handkerchief, devotionals, tapes and dvds…the list is endless. This is besides the normal offering, tithes and special offerings.
When I talk about things like this, my mother will give me the look that says “shut up before thunder fires u”. Lol. But for how long? For how long shall we wallow in ignorance?
We owe it to ourselves not just to speak against bad government policies, but also to speak up against “bad church policies”. We owe it to ourselves to demand accountability from our pastors, to demand for fairness, equity and everything that was the basis on which Christ lived.
The time has come for us to stop being mesmerized and tongue-tied about the issue of religion. We should start speaking up and demanding for what is right. Thunder will not fire you if you do. Our God is not amadioha