By Nneka Okumazie
The singular reason church is prosperous in Nigeria is because it is voluntary. That’s it. Some may argue that it’s hope, yes – additionally, but the main reason is that it is voluntary.
Anyone can choose to go to church or not. Anyone could choose to go anytime or leave anytime. Anyone could choose to give nicely, give sparingly, give carnally or ignore. Some people go to church and they just wander about. Some go to church and are on their devices – doing other things. Some are in church to show off fashion, or to talk, or see it as a social gathering, or they participate for the optics or to satisfy others.
There are several benefits to being member of a church. But there is no price tag. You want to give, or volunteer or do something, you do, if not, no problem. This leeway is the reason why there are crowds in church, because they see benefits, either thoughtful messages, or kind words, or hopes, or rejoicing, and it is totally free.
Church is unlike work – or careers. Work is almost as equal to life, in adulthood. There are rules at workplaces and responsibilities that are not optional, or voluntary, and there are things off-limits. Work is far more regimented and can be high pressure. Work happens on more days of the week than church.
Misplacement in career or work that lacks purpose to the staff, or pressure, or stress has led many to addictions, to bad habits and dependencies, and has led some to church.
Church is almost like education at a certain stage. Just like many are brought up in Christian homes and deviate as adults, so it is that basic education is compulsory at a certain age, in certain places, then as adults – for whatever reason – don’t go far on it, or get to a stage and break.
If church is a problem in Nigeria, then it is the least problem of Nigeria. But church is not even a problem in Nigeria, so it is not on that list. The main reason Nigeria is underdeveloped is because Nigeria lacks good ideas.
Anyone can put out arguments of the list of problems, sources, reasons, etc. But the answer is really simple: Nigeria lacks good ideas to solve its problems.
If you look at any problem in Nigeria, how many good projects or ideas are out there working to solve it directly?
There are several projects and some really good small businesses on development stuff, but there aren’t much directly on major problem areas or minor problems.
But you know what Nigeria is doing so well? It’s entertainment. Banks, like others, often sponsor entertainment shows, because entertainment [including sports] is Nigeria’s common alliance.
The reason entertainment is not under attack like the church is because the money seems distributed to several parties and the wealth is not to ‘build’.
While giving in church towards buildings, or proselytization, or growth is seen after years, but in entertainment, money on drinks or show tickets, or other stuff go to so many, and those who show off in entertainment are seen as a part of the game.
But church grows, church expands, people are selfless in church to be part of something bigger. Giving, for some, is like therapy. Hope or Faith from church for some is like therapy too, against mood disorders. Prayer is like ‘communication therapy’ to ease hard burden – like placing it elsewhere or on someone else so it is not carried on the mind which can leave an individual crushed.
Church is under a massive attack in Nigeria as if Nigeria’s government is the church. Daddy Freeze, the hater of the church, said Nigeria does not need a new church building. Well, NO, a new church building was not built for Nigeria. He also said Nigeria should build factories, OK, but when market forces and factors rock the boat of the business and the church business seems ruthless – to survive, the same voices would say church factory was unfair.
Church schools, hospitals, etc. are examples of affiliations subject to market factors. Survival and thriving may sometimes mean having policies that may edge out some, albeit there will still be considerations and concessions.
The new church building of Dunamis, in Abuja, under the leadership of Pastor Enenche, did well, for themselves and their vision. Some said they should have gone to a state to create a business to hire people. OK.
The same people who say churches should create factories are the same people who have vague or general ideas about how Nigeria can move forward, without anything valuable.
They also said churches feeding thousands is worthless. If this is true then creating a factory in a sea of massive poverty for what, 1k, or 2k people to have jobs, is also as insignificant as the feeding. They do not understand that broad ideas and models to get at problems generally are better than one factory somewhere.
These stale church activists are learning from their government activists, or some do both. The say government is useless. That is their contiguous song. Some have suggested that Daddy Freeze should criticize the government, NO; there is enough daddy freeze of government already.
Why are there no activists in Nigeria on labour and employment conditions? Some offices are hell to work at, some bosses or co-workers are unnecessarily horrible, some distances to work are mordant, some work pressure and stress in Nigeria are insufferable, salaries are dizzy, etc. but no activist on employment conditions, to force changes and improve things.
Rather, it is nonsense story everyday on social media and then hate on the church, whose mission is entirely different from national development.
If the economy of Nigeria is bustling, and factories are in demand, no one will tell the church to participate. But everyone is waiting for one Church to take the initiative, when several state governments with great federal allocation are so worthless to their own people, it is a shame.
If Nigeria was simmering with great ideas to solve problems, say for example, Lagos traffic, the solutions and ideas can be so great that managers of Los Angeles traffic would visit, to learn how Nigeria did it.
But NO, solution is impossible because no good ideas just frivolous suggestions or total nonsense. Important problems that everyone should face for solutions are abandoned, electricity, so backward in Nigeria and more are not the case – it is church.
In the United States, churches are not growing compared to Nigeria, but in 2017, people who died from overdose of hard drugs were around 70,000 while those who died from suicide where around 47,000. Some of these people had many things going for them, but ‘maybe’ couldn’t find a coping mechanism. There are tons of addictions and bad mental states that some others had avoided because of Christ.
True church is important to genuine Christians and they need new buildings. The church is not for Nigeria. In the Epistles, and in the Book of Revelation, the churches mentioned would have different structures, and different kinds of order of service, but there are standards of the Lord, though it is a choice too, to follow.
Jesus said, come on to me, I stand at the door. I am the Way. I am the Vine. It is choice. Churches too are dwindling in some places because it is a choice.
Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth [it], that [men] should fear before him.”
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