Dear Nigerian Pastors, I write this from a place of huge respect for the work you do, it’s relevance to the utmost purpose of God and your commitment to this call.
If there were ever a time when being a pastor; a Nigerian pastor at that was something to be really looked down upon, it’s been the past few months. In the wake of the recent turn of events, people have doubted your integrity, questioned you in several ill-fitting ways but you haven’t backed down on the call; not yet. And this is why I celebrate you.
Your youths are also frustrated. They have seen a bulk of people who don’t fear God, give to the church or attend religious ceremonies make so much money and are still used as references when you choose to talk about purpose and utilizing your God-given potentials. This is the issue; they can’t seem to relate the two because you just taught them that they have to give in order to receive from God but your references are far from that truth. They have put two and two together and the results point to one thing and one thing only. Hence, they have resulted in bashing you, questioning your integrity with their hard earned money or your ability to divide the word accurately.
Here’s how you can salvage yourself from this situation.
Please preach the word. Commit yourself to it. That should be the sole purpose of your ministry; the core, the centre and the totality.
You see, the problems of man and the prescriptions of God hasn’t changed, there’s no reason why our sermon should. Unless you are Brian Tracy, your role as a pastor is first to reconcile people with God, teach them the word of God and help them experience progress and joy of faith.
The Bible; New Testament especially from which we derive our doctrine was mostly teachings, corrections and more teachings. If we believe as much as we claim that we are the Bible, some would ever read, then our lives should be filled with such substance. If our sermons for a year were documented properly, would it be able to guide another generation to Christ or a life of free thinking where Jesus assumed the role of the sauce we sprinkle on what we do to make it sound perfect? When the Bible enjoins us to preach the word in season and out of season this is exactly what it means: that the word we preach through the pulpit would be relevant in days of plenty and in the days of nothing, whether the nation is prosperous or not. It’s possible that our language and manner of approach might be different based on the demographics of the people we are reaching out to but we should know when not to cross the line and what the lines are. Every company has a guiding rule of communication, there’s one that guides Christian communication too. In a bid to sound cool and trendy, Christ still remains the centre of focus and who determines what goes out or not.
We need to disciple people not only to be great CEOs, inventors or entrepreneurs but people who can function in their individual charismatic ministries. The world is in dire need of us regardless of our occupations.
The more we seem to be gaining influence, the more it appears that bulk of a generations keeps losing their bearing in this faith walk. It’s an error if all our contribution to those around us is either political or economical. We are responsible for spiritual refreshment first before any other thing. The role of the church is transgenerational in nature and shouldn’t be reduced to mere national policies, government appointments or motivational speeches.
If we want to truly grow a relevant church like most of our pastor-conference themes depicts, then we must keep the church on the foundation with which it was built. There’s so much talk about Christians invading systems and influencing culture on a larger scale that we forget to strengthen the faith of these Christians. How can a weak person influence another?
Regardless of happenings around, the Bible encourages that we stick to preaching the Word of God. That is our high calling.
Once again, we celebrate you for taking up this assignment and we will continue to pray for you.
Bolu Akindele is a freelance writer and journalist whose work covers religion, human interest stories and development across Nigeria and increasingly, West Africa.