And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shall cut it down.
My brother is a Nigerian intellectual in the diaspora. Yesterday, he sent me a screenshot of the purported sack letter addressed to a Living Faith Church (LFC) pastor and asked me ‘if it was true’? I glanced through the details and asked him in return, ‘Is what true…where did the letter mention low income? The letter is true but the caption you sent does not tally’.
He immediately responded ‘I agree’. I then went ahead to tell him an incident that occurred a few weeks back in the LFC where I presently worship. I will repeat the incident here but will protect the name of the Pastor in question since he was wise not to go on social media to copy an act which I consider one of folly.
I have been to 33 out of Nigeria’s 36 states in my line of duty and I make it a duty to always attend Living Faith Church in any place I visit. A few months ago, I visited Baga in Borno State and what welcomed me as what was left of the only churches in that town; burnt buildings of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Deeper Life Bible Church, one other Church and then the LFC. I avoided taking pictures so as not to rouse the soldiers I was travelling with. A few weeks ago, I resumed in a community of about 5,000 people in one of the South-South States of Nigeria. The same evening I visited the LFC and met nobody in Church with the doors locked. I came early the next day and to my shock, there was no Covenant Hour of Prayer (Early morning Prayer Hour). The same repeated itself on Tuesday and it was to my angst that I came to Church on Wednesday to meet an empty Church. I began to ask the neighbours and I heard ‘Pastor no dey always come’. I was told the Pastor leaves the Community to go on other endeavours for up to 21 days at a stretch sometimes. He did not come on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Covenant Hour of Prayer or even for the Week of Spiritual Emphasis and members too stayed at home.
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
On Sunday morning, I came to Church and met 9 people. Living Faith? Liberation Commission? The Pastor did not come as usual. Instead he asked a member of the Church Council, a female student in one of the universities who was on holidays to preach on his behalf. I definitely would not pay my tithe here I told myself. Thank God for internet transfers. I asked for the number of the Pastor after service and put a call across. The moment I told him I was visiting, he got scared and I assured him that ‘it is well’. I asked him for the reason for his absence and he gave all kinds of excuses from being ‘very strong’ to ‘doing a side job’ to ‘lacking transport fare’. I was miffed. I would only see him 14 days after my resumption.
Meanwhile I started organizing the Church in his absence using my phone to connect to Canaanland every morning for the Covenant Hour of Prayer and we were glad to record 37 adults and 24 children (total 61) the next Sunday service. This man had been here for 2 years, the Church sent him to win souls but he could not operate in any kind of discomfort yet he was comfortably collecting the Forty Thousand Naira (N40,000) only monthly allowance with house rent to match. The question playing on my mind was…why not resign and pursue your other business or whatever was keeping you away?
I was still not happy and mentioned my concerns to a top Pastor of the LFC. I was however surprised to come the next week to find out that he had been given a ‘Letter of Release’ very similar to the one flying on social media. He did not leave before going on the pulpit to blast ‘Yorubas’ for trying to take over everywhere. He said on the same altar that his only joy was that a fellow tribesman and not a Yoruba man was sent to replace him. Church Gist. He came by me at the end of the service and told me point blank ‘I am not happy’ and left with the church offerings even after he had handed over to his replacement.
As at yesterday, some 5 weeks after that event, we did not have enough space (exactly 47 days since I arrived) in the 45 seat capacity church with some members staying outside during service. We have over 60 children (meaning over 100 now) and we had to rent a space to keep them. We have embarked on a mission to acquire 3 plots of land in the next 4 weeks and we have just paid and received a set of music instruments worth about N500,000 while transferring the older set of instruments to the LFC in the neighbouring community.
The Church is alive again!
All my brother said was the following and I quote verbatim:
“I just sent you what I saw on social media.
Even in a secular environment, he would be sacked.
If I was his boss, I would sack him”.
It is to me the height of ignorance, foolishness and wickedness for many who ignored the commendation by Bishop Oyedepo few days ago of a young LFC Pastor in Akwa Ibom who ‘engaged’ so much that he led over 100 villagers to Christ in a few months, to now take on them the role of advocate for a so called pastor who fails to deliver on his mandate. Church Gist.Was he forced to take the role? Was he forced to sign the bond? I am worried about young people who want to have everything and do nothing.
Bishop Oyedepo will soon be 70 yet he is still on the ‘go’ for Christ (his Father’s business). I do not know how many Pastors. Bishops and Archbishops or founders can dare what he does save perhaps his Father in the Lord, Pastor E.A Adeboye and some of his notable sons such as Pastors Enenche, Ibiyeomie, Komaiya and others. Even though he owns his own helicopter and has a private jet at his disposal, he has not left Nigeria in 4 years and is always found on the streets of Ota, a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria on a weekly basis winning souls to Christ.
He always celebrates the numbers just like it was done in the Acts of Apostles from 70 in the upper room to 3000 to 5000 to ‘almost the whole city’. He celebrated the numbers again yesterday as usual. We know 16,786 churches were established in the last 2 years with over 16,000 new pastors employed, we know almost 15,000 home cells have been established in Lagos alone in 6 months, we know about 70,000 souls have been led to Christ in his weekly outreaches on the road while about 19,000 have been physically present in Church in 2021 alone. Church Gist.We know the Church has refused to announce that money be given towards the ongoing construction of what might become the world’s largest church auditorium ‘The Ark’.
These figures are what the Church refers to as Church Growth Index and not what any disgruntled ‘pastor’ may be implying. If the multitudes now choose to ignore all these facts and want to cry over some that were ‘released’ to pursue their personal call from God, it is quite unfortunate though not unexpected and shows that bitterness against the Church is at full bloom. As I always say, The Church of Christ can never satisfy the Gates of Hell.
I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!