Opinion: What’s church got to do with the Nigerian economy?

Without any iota of doubt, I am convinced that the following sequence of thoughts might erupt some form of controversy and misunderstanding is some quarters. It’s a possibility I have given some form of thought and hence concluded after all that it still needed to be shared. So I encourage you to read from a place of reasoning and understanding without judgment or bias. Just spare a thought.

Nigeria from the look of things is at her all time low with the current recession, all time high inflation and lowest purchasing power. If there is anything that is obvious, it is the financial strain that the current situation has imposed on individuals and corporate alike, social class irrespective. While we continue to look to the government for answers as the primary governing figure, it has become ever paramount that other equally capable institutions step up to the plate and play a big role in empowering Nigerians to battle the present economic hardship.

While churches historically and in present times have been known or created to play the spiritual role in the scheme of things and thus providing the right atmosphere to connect with and worship God, there is an equaling demanding purpose that many churches have failed to meet over the years and particularly in this trying times. The role of churches in developing economies especially transcends the spiritual if you ask me. Especially in a situation where the government is not available to sufficiently tackle all the pain points of Nigerians. The church must rise up, and play a more significant role.

My recent visit to one of the South South states in Nigeria had me asking a lot of questions. Everywhere you looked, there was a church and a billboard advertorial which obviously cost millions and in excess sometimes. Yet the surrounding environment reeks of suffering, deprivation and an obvious “lack of hope”. And if “alleged” information going around are anything to go by, we now live in an era where across the country some churches and pastors live in extreme affluence while the bulk of their congregation lie in wait and abject poverty. Then I ask myself, why spend so much on big infrastructures and advertising campaigns when the average church member lacks the ability and knowledge to make wealth or a better life for themselves. As a Christian, I believe in the efficacy of GOD and the fact that he controls and supersedes all but I also know he has said that he will only bless the work of our hands. How are we then expected to flourish without proper knowledge and empowerment to create our daily “work”? The word of God heals and empowers but what are our churches doing to empower for instance small and medium business owners within their congregation? What are our churches doing to promote life-long learning and empower the next generation? What are our churches doing to lend a strong voice on key societal issues like rape, child molestation, terrorism, etc.?

If there is indeed a voice from our churches, I say it can be louder. They can and should do more. Without mentioning names, there are few churches already charting this course but with the daily decline in the economic situation in Nigeria, I say we can do more! We should do more.

The church has a new challenge on its hand, asides being a place of worship and a platform to spiritually nourish the minds of people; now they have to physically empower the work(s) of their hands. This is the service that churches have to strategically and continuously render in developing economies like Nigeria.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Babafemi is a Certified International Manager and Business Development Professional with substantial international experience working with start-ups, mid-sized and multinational establishments.

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