(Although I am not a Pastor myself, I wrote this to one of my mentees who told me yesterday that he would never love any Pastor again)
Few years ago, we had so much desire to erect our own borehole at THE CITY OF TALENTS. For years, because I was the first to open that forest beside Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, we had no water. So, a man was eventually brought. While taking him round our place and insisting on a quality job, he said ‘don’t worry, I’m a Pastor’. That was the end of the contract for him. I didn’t want to work with a man who would say ‘touch not my anointed’ whenever I tried to protest. I think the borehole project was eventually done by a wonderful moslem.
As we grew up in our own village, we were made to know how much reverence should be given to Pastors and how honourable they are. Whenever a Pastor is coming to our house, Grandma would start cooking to give them the best of treatment. Once someone calls himself a Pastor, we saw him as the representative of the Almighty God on planet earth.
The fake ones have been around since Genesis too. I remember how Grandma complained to her sister how so and so Pastor collected a huge sum of money from her and disappeared. I remember one Pastor whose name is still clear right now. After a claim that God sent him as a missionary to Ososa, he began to secretly commit some atrocities and all that.
I think our Grandma was too passionate about bringing Pentecostals to the village.
I have been to many churches: The Cherubim and Seraphim where as a Kid I learnt many lovely songs(I still attend the Cherubim and the Celestial churches when invited); The Anglican where we spent many years and began staging plays(the ORDER in this church is no where else), Deeper Life where I learnt deep teachings from Life Tapes(that was where I got scared of hell-fire), The Foursquare Church which was almost like Deeper Life in terms of THE WORD(if you hate Deeper Life and you go to Foursquare you are on your own sir; the RCCG which balanced quite a lot of doctrines and The Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), where I had full access to the realities of the teachings of Faith. Eventually, I discovered that it would never be about denominations but about convictions in your direct relationship with God.
The social media today, is full of many things about and against Pastors. From the allegations of rape, to ‘sexforgrades’ to Pastors who spray money on the altar, to those who pour bottles of coke on their members, to those who drink dettol and to those who lie down their girls on the altar. The truth is, these things have always been. It is the social media that has helped to popularize them.
I have had my own share from Pastors too. While I have seen a few who are deep in integrity and honour, I am aware of some who should just be members of the traffic team calling themselves Pastors. The attitudes of such men affected me for many years until I revisited the words of Christ that ‘not all who call me Lord, Lord, shall inherit the Kingdom of God’.
I remember a Pastor who bumped into our Film Village one morning and started praying when we were going to work. When he said he was praying as led by the spirit, I told him very bluntly ‘the same spirit should have told you we have works to do’.
I remember another Pastor few years ago whose son came to our place and at night left where he was sleeping to go and start ‘touching’ some of the girls at night. The burble burst. The girls screamed. It is called ‘attempted rape’. When the boy confirmed the action,the beating I gave him that day was enough to avoid breasts for the rest of his life. It lasted for hours. His father came to fight me for dealing with his son. I personally chased the Pastor with an iron out of our Film Village. I regretted once kneeling before him for prayers. For you to support a son with such character, I should begin to imagine what you do to those sisters in church. How can any Pastor defend a potential rapist? Nonsense!!!
Some Pastors have messed up themselves by promising and disappointing us. They would call you to minister somewhere and tell you they would give you an amount. After ministration, they would ask you to drop your account number and that would be the end of it. One invited us to Lagos years ago. When we got there, the door of his church was locked with no members. When called, he was somewhere running his business. He had to beg his wife to quickly open the church. Those I sent, stage their playlet before 200 chairs and 3 elders.I told them I know Jesus watched the play because ‘wherever two or three are gathered…’. When the Pastor was called for the T-fare to return, he started complaining.
I have seen a lot of scammers and yet I have seen some sincere Pastors too.
I think these denominations are the causes of their own troubles. Many Pastors today are forced on churches because of the determination to extend branches. During the days of Ayo Babalola, of Akindayomi, of Oshofa, of Orimolade, of Kathryn Kulman, of Mcpherson, of the Hagins, I think the Pastoral was more about the calling and/or the passion to win souls. Today,it is about eloquence grounded in metaphors, alliteration and assonance. It is ONLY about a Bible School. It is about fresh graduates who should find someone to learn from and properly ground themselves, turning to Prophets, Apostles and Founders. The proliferation of Pastors,therefore, is more than that of the influx of actors in our movie industry.
But see, this is not a point to disregard all Pastors. There are Pastors who mean business. There are Pastors who don’t want God’s name soiled through them. There are Pastors whose sense of integrity and dignity is second to none. There are Pastors not crazy for fame, wealth and titles. There are Pastors not interested in the social media paparazzi.
Here is the truth: There are both fakes and originals in all fields. Don’t also forget that THERE ARE PASTORS WHO ARE WRONGLY ACCUSED.
It is expedient for you to know your Pastor. While you must understand that your Pastor is human and is working towards perfection, you are going to be careful of whom to follow or not.
Truthfully speaking, not all sermons from your General Overseer or Pastor are correct. You must be sure of which to take in or reject. That is why you have your bible with you. We have seen preachers who repented and publicly told people they have been misleading them. This means many more will repent. You can only stand firm if you are close to your scriptures and you confirm the words of your Pastors from the scriptures.
While we approach another Sunday, never think all Pastors are evil no matter what the Social Media says about them. Just as Elijah was made to know, there are still several thousands of faithful Pastors around us.
No matter how bad, there are still wonderful Pastors.
Don’t give up on the Church.
Don’t give up on African Pastors.