“Breaking News! Deeper Life Bible Church unveils the biggest and best-equipped hospital ever built in Africa. It’s a 10,000-bed capacity mega-facility that can see to the needs of well over 35,000 indigent people in a single year.”
I could almost not believe my eyes when I got online and was greeted welcome by the headline above littered all over my Twitter timeline and as one who is actively involved in telling the stories of the strides of the church in Nigeria in the spheres of healthcare, social justice and the practice of love, I was excited. This was too important to be ignored, to be sidelined or be made non-existent.
Some weeks ago, I had also written about the community project – Gbagada bridge and car park construction project that the Deeper Life Bible Church had embarked upon and commissioned.
So, you understand why this meant so much to me. It sounded like a giant leap, an improvement on the “former” and of course another reason to give Pastor Kumuyi some accolades, only that after spending some time thinking deeply about it, coupled with online searches, I concluded it was a hoax. On the surface, this looks like Good news – The church is doing great things with its finances and we should be joyful. Except that a few weeks down the line, as soon as the excitement dries up from our faces, we would come to terms with the fact that maybe, we had all been lied to.
The first thing that occurred to me, in the moment of trying to rightly divide the matter was “where are the pictures?”. We all knew when the Deeper Life Bible Church headquarters in Gbagada began its construction. We all witnessed the progress from nothing up until completion. And one would wonder that a 10,000-bed capacity hospital would be so minute that no one would have known of such a project until its commision.
If Pastor Kumuyi and the Deeper Life Bible Church really commisioned a 10,000-bed capacity, then there would be pictures to show for it. If it truly was the biggest hospital in Africa beating University College Hospital, Ibadan, then there would be health practitioners and professionals on the scene giving speeches and verifying the work of the Deeper Life Bible Church.
And in one moment, I imagined the number of people whose high hopes would again, be dashed upon hearing that all that happened was that Deeper Life Bible Church only commisioned its multi-billion edifice; one that might have made its way into being the fourth largest auditorium in the world. And that in itself is commendable.
Watch the sensitisation video of the Deeper Life Bible Church New Auditorium below:
It’s common practice especially in recent times to ensure that every good deed by the Church in Nigeria does not go unnoticed. And we get it. We are in great need of something – anything in fact, that would push the narrative that the church is working so hard and dealing honestly with all the tithes and offerings that come its way. However, we shouldn’t get so desperate and spread propaganda in the process.
And all these could have been avoided with a simple Google search.
We can blame the news outlets, blame the bloggers and blame the social media users all we care but, the church needs to bear its part of the blame. It’s been almost 24 hours since the news made rounds on social media yet, neither Pastor Kumuyi nor any of his associates made an official press release to debunk the rumour and we should be worried about that. The absence of credible forms of information spread in Church communities give room for all sorts of misinformation, eroding the credibility of the church, which in times like this is worth its weight in gold. Most reports come from somewhere; an already clipped video, a picture or even a tweet, and we can only expect that at some point, (like in this case) there would be fabrications.
To nullify the spread of information of this nature, the church as a body would need to understand the importance of an always-on-the-move media and communications team. And in the event that getting skilled people in the church is an issue, the church should employ the services of a credible communications company.
Because, we will not only account for the lies we tell our audiences, but also the ones we let them believe.
Bolu Akindele is a freelance writer and journalist whose work covers religion, human interest stories and development across Nigeria and increasingly, West Africa.