“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” John 17:20-22
Not quite too ago, one of the popular big churches we have in Igbo land. and which is located at the heartbeat of the commercial city of Onitsha organised an elaborate ceremony over what they called Synod. Following the event, Onitsha played host to Governor Willie Obiano and other political gladiators from Anambra State and beyond.
Among them were former Minister of Power Professor Chinedu Nebo who was said to represent former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Senator Andy Uba and former Minister of Aviation Chief Osita Chidoka who chaired the occasion. Others includes: Hon Tony Nwoye who stood for billionaire businessman Prince Arthur Eze, Mr Henry Oseloka Obaze and many more too numerous to mention.
The occasion according to the organizers was also used to raise fund for the project of building and equipping what they called the Church Civic Center and to present a book authored by the chief superintendent of church to the public. The book which dwells on Christian parenting was reviewed by a renowned scholar amid rounds of applause.
Governor Willie Obiano had a field day to address the audience on the achievements of his administration and his aspiration for reelection ahead of the governorship election in Anambra scheduled to hold on the 18th of November this year. Other politicians along with notable businessmen in Onitsha also spoke and made huge donations putting smiles on the face of the host.
The occasion was all about fund raising and to large extent used to sing praises for non performing political leaders. No prayer was said against corruption, against kidnapping and armed robbery, no prayer was aimed to protect unarmed agitators for Biafra and the to find solution to poverty, hunger, diseases and sickness that ravaging people in all parts of Nigeria. The chief superintendent’s book on Christian parenting was sold at cost #25k as the last price making it extremely difficult for poor parents to obtain.
In summary, the occasion was meant for the rich to bring money and show off their enviable flamboyancy to the poor masses. While reviewing the book the reviewer lamented that religious leaders have no measure to address the challenges facing the education of children of poor families in Nigeria. According to him pastors are indifferent of the poor as they build expensive schools that poor parents cannot afford to enroll their children.
Similar to the occasion of the Synod in the Commercial city of Onitsha, Church leaders in Nigeria for the past decades diverted the focus of the gospel to material things and threw their weight on raising fund to build cathedral, parsonage, expensive cars and sports utility vehicles, private jets to travel round the world, civic centers and universities instead of breeding people into the sanctuary of God and righteous life.
The interest of church leaders in raising money for building this or that is dragging Christianity to total ruin. They have completely forgotten what Christianity stand for. They have no idea of the fact that Christianity has two faces which includes the inbox and the outbox. The inbox is the organization and the structure of the Church which includes the shepherd, the flock and of the course the cathedral while the outbox is all about the evangelical outreach bringing the dew of heaven to the world.
The inbox amount to taking from the world to organize the church while the outbox is all about given out the dew of heaven to the world. Looking at the present situation of things in Christendom it is possible to observe that Churches are doing well on the inbox but doing badly on the outbox. The focus has to the outbox because the Bibles says in Matt 5:13-14 that Christianity is the Salt of the earth and the Light of the world. Building cathedrals and universities doesn’t portray Christianity as the salt of the earth and light of the world.
In Matt 6:10 Jesus urged us to pray that is it should be done on earth as it is done in heaven. This shows that the purpose of Jesus Christ on the planet earth is to enable human beings who believes in Him source things from heaven to run the world. Churches are on the contrary as pastors and bishops source things from the world to run their Churches. What we have now is that it should be done in heaven as it is done on earth.
The worst part of it is that these leaders no longer know how God is and what God can do. They have completely lost in the wilderness of material things of the world. They have completely forgotten that God is omnipresent, omnipresence and omniscient and even omnivorous. They believe investing on worldly institutions like building expensive schools including Universities that are above the rich of the poor.
The Church is higher than University. Any Church leader who invest in building University is fake. Adigboroja. In Ephesians 3:10-11 the Bible says “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord
In the past decades Churches have given nothing more than posters, bill broads and radio and television adverts while raking large followers and huge sums of money from the world. The worst is that they cannot raise good leaders into the system. Christians in Nigeria are corrupt as every others sets of people in the society. Nothing different comes of a people defined as the light of the world and salt of the earth.
Nigerians want to see good leaders and game changers at all levels as power broker President and States governors. Nigerians want to see knowledgeable legislators at all levels idea packed ministers, honest and patriotic judges at courts who are after justice for the poor and oppressed. Nigerians want good school teachers, good and honest security operatives, honest and corrupt free civil servants, human oriented businessmen, not fetish, ritual and voodoo traders.
They want to see good ideas and knowledge targeted at fighting corruption not posters and bill boards. They want to see a Christian program targeted at crushing boko haram, flushing kidnappers in the system. They want to hear that school fees are reduced or even abolished. They want to hear that the prices of good stuff are on the lower side. They want to lay their hands on jobs and see the plight of the poor given positive attention.
Church leaders organize conventions, congresses, synod, adoration and things like that to win converts and raise money but they never organized programs to address the issues of corruption, insecurity, lack of health care delivery, the challenges facing agricultural development, address lack of jobs and poor leadership in the country orchestrated by incompetent and corrupt leaders. They preach message that scare people away from farming by telling them that they will be millionaire in few days.
Churches in their various denominations have failed to dish out the dew of heaven in terms of ideas and knowledge for capacity building into righteous life of the people. That is why the Nigerian society is in a deep mess. If we don’t give to the society the right things, the society would have no choice than to give what it has. Churches leaders failed to give the society the light and so the society gave us darkness.
The case of the recent Synod held at Onitsha is a typical example of how churches sources things from the world to run church instead of sourcing from heaven to run the world. It is absolutely wrong for Christians to focus their attention on fund raising. The focus has to be getting people to know God, to be righteous and worship Him in truth and the spirit.
The point clearly is that Christians in Nigeria must put their denominational aspirations and unite to change Nigeria. It is wrong to hear that for a period of over 150 years the Catholic, Anglican, the so called Pentecostal churches and what have are breeding lives into Christianity in Nigeria and yet the country is in dire need of good leaders with no hope for good life.
It is opprobrium to note that nothing is working well for the people in a country where gigantic church building grace every turn of eyes. It is not an overstatement to declare there is no food, no water, no road, no light, no education, no health care services and no future for majority of inhabitants in Nigeria. Only those who have money can lay hands on basic things that are required for good living in Nigeria.
Church leaders have to redirect their focus in teachings people about God, to be righteous, truthful and spiritual in everything they do. Nigerians are not spiritual that is why all manners of crime are prevalent at alarming rate in a country where churches exist at every turn of eyes. There are churches near every house in the cities and villages around Nigeria and yet, there is no element of God in the system.
God has the answer to all the challenges facing Nigeria today. Call it corruption, boko haram insurgence, kidnapping, separatist agitation, Fulani herdsmen and what have you but we cannot realize the answer if we are not close enough to God. It is the the duty of every church leaders to raise responsible individuals, responsible families and responsible communities that make up the Nation of Nigeria.
The church is meant for people to know God, know themselves as great creature of God. In John 1:12 it is written that believers are sin and daughters of the most high God. It takes greatness to be a son or daughter of God. It is not about money but about knowing God and how God works. Today’s Christians have brought money at the center of everything they do making money the in thing of Christianity.
People rush to open church simply because they see it as an easy way of making money. Some go as far as using voodoo and juju means to attract membership and large sum of money during church service. Their main target is to raise money through offering, tithe and donation and not to preach the gospel of light.
The emphasis on tithe is serious among church leaders. They preach about it with their full energy warning that failure to pay it attracts the wrath of God and collapse of ones businesses, demotion or even lose of career and every financial undertaking. But unfortunately tithe is not part of Christianity and people should know it.
Tithe is outdated injunction. Moses told the Israelites to pay tithe to enable the Levites who were restricted to work only in the temple of God to have food and other things to eat but Jesus tells his followers not to worry about what to eat or what to drink so why should pastors collect tithe while working for Jesus. See Matt 6:25-34. In Luke 6:24 the Bible clearly defined riches of the world as a consolation not the ultimate price.
Church leaders must adjust to start working for the ultimate price and not the consolation. They should start dishing out the dew of heaven on Nigeria using their close connections with political leaders to offer meaningful solution to the challenges facing the country. This is not about inviting politicians to function to make money but to tell them how best to lead the people to the glory of God.
The job of every Christian is to show the light and glory of God in character and behaviour. In Habakkuk 2:14 the Bible says that the knowledge of God’s glory shall cover the earth like the water covers the sea. Church leaders have to work hard and ensure that the affairs of their country of existence are saturated with the knowledge and fear of God. It is not about given out prophesies on who shall win or lose election but about providing solution mechanisms.
Let the knowledge of God be in charge at home, at workshop, in the markets, at the civil service, in the judiciary, in the legislature, at government house, in the executive and everywhere in our system for by doing so they are living up to the responsibilities of their professed belief with much hope of winning the ultimate price.
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