When The Gods Are In The Dock: Church In Peril Of Shame?

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The crying urgency of the church today is leadership.

The most critical problem facing the Nigerian church today is leadership vacuum. The Nigerian church lacks both vision and true leadership.

Nigerian church is dying every day due to lack of strong leadership at this time when a once great nation tethers on the ebb.

The Bible is very clear and concise in ockthe call to leadership and discipleship. When God decided to build a nation of his own, he didn’t enlist the masses. He called on one man – Abraham.

When it was time to deliver the Israelites out of Egyptian oppression, he didn’t need an army of people. He raised up one leader – Moses- to do the job.

When the Israelites needed someone to lead them to the Promised Land, Joshua was chosen.

Nigerian Christians especially the Pentecostal breed suffering from overdose of religious opium; many a times misunderstood the true nature of leadership.

They believe they must be sheepish, quiet, passive, aloof, and withdrawn to follow Christ. Their biggest problem is that they confused meekness with weakness.

One of the central teachings of Christ is that whoever is going to follow him must be a leader, meaning serving others.

Leadership is influence. If the General Overseers (GOs), the Bishops, the Pastors, the Shepherds were to demonstrate that they’re the salt and light as Jesus commanded, then they have to obey Christ’s call to leadership and discipleship.

And there is no more practical and meaningful way to show this than to be imitators of Christ as Paul was.

The unexplainable frenzy of material acquisition by Nigerian pastors has dominated the headlines for quite some time now.

The worst offenders in the wealth building schemes and scams, raids and robberies in God’s name are the fiery, fire brim and stone, repent or be damned Pentecostal preachers.

The appetites of “men of God” like sharks and whales have been enlarged and elongated devouring their flocks at every turn. Their new toys are jet airplanes for the new heavens – the skies.

Most of history is the conflict among people trying to lead and rule one another.

Human arrogance, pride, greed, and lack of contentment are asterisks on the footnotes of corrupt and insensitive leadership. No group of Christians that best fit this perfect example than the gospel preachers of Theology of Prosperity – the more you sow, the more you reap.

The newest club member of Jet Pastors is the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and founder of Warri based Word of Life Bible Church, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

We’re told that the $4.9m Bombardier/Challenger 601 10-seater jet was a birthday token from Pastor Oritsejafor’s congregation to mark his 40 years of service in the Vineyard of God.

We may never know the nameless and faceless church members who bought the birthday gift!

To win trust, leaders must exhibit both character and competence. The bar becomes sky-high especially for those who claimed they’re “men of God.”

If leadership and discipleship crystallized in sacrifice, suffering, sharing, kindness, love, and endurance, as Christ and the early Apostles demonstrated; then which Christ are these peddlers of false gospel following?

My favorite Apostle Brother Paul, I’m talking of Paul of Tarsus, provides enduring lesson in discipleship and leadership. Paul’s life demonstrates that in the most trying circumstances, the faithful minister of God can enjoy daily strength and victory not for the purpose of being comfortable, but in order to be a comforter.

The Jet Pastors should be motivated by Christ’s example of love, living daily in the fear of the Lord. The faithful minister can rejoice in the opportunity to be an ambassador for Christ by proclaiming reconciliation and restoration for estranged sinners.

How many of the sky-bound pastors are as bold and squeaky-clean like Paul to effectively neutralize the trumped up charges by the church in Corinth against Paul?

The severity of charges by the church in Corinth against Paul read like indictment of a grand jury: fickleness (1:17-23), pride (3:1), weakness (10:10), unskilled speech (11:6), severity (7:8-10), dishonesty (12:16-19), and mental instability (5:13).

Listen to Paul’s airtight defense: “For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort trough Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation!”

“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it,” argued Paul. “In fact, we expected to die,” Paul continued, “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead.”

As dogged and unrepentant as ever, Paul dared his accusers: “We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings.”

Paul couldn’t help boasting of what he endured: “…been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.”

Paul confronts the Church at Corinth with proofs: “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.”  “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and day adrift at sea.”

“…I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”

Summing up his defense, Paul said “We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.”

People always need a leader. People are like sheep without a shepherd. Today, Nigeria is without a leader. At a time when the Jet Pastors should fill the leadership vacuum, the “men of God” are literally AWOL. They’re busy evangelizing in the skies!

Nigerians’ immediate felt needs are many and varied. They’re in secure. They worry without abundant signs of hope. If there is anything in short supply in Nigeria today, it is hope.

How many of the sky-roving pastors can bo