CHURCH BUSINESS: The preacher and the relevance of his pulpit
By Oludare Mayowa
From the trending stories filtered from the social media in the past week, a number of Nigerians have seen more reason to bash the church and some of its leaders due to the miscue by one of the prominent leaders of the church.
Some so-called Christians were not left out of the responses showing their displeasure against the message from the pulpit by a prominent preacher against a social media influencer.
I am in league with those who believed that the church is in dire need of reforms and that some prominent leaders are not representing the image of the body of Christ well and in a manner that they should.
Again, I have personally look into the lifestyle of some leaders in the church who are more vocal and seemingly at the forefront, so many of them have not measured up to the standard they ought to uphold.
However, in the quest to call out some of those leaders and showcase their flaws to the world, many of the critics failed to reckon with the fact that those leaders are also human like every one of them. Some of us also forget the role played by many of us who are their followers in turning some of them to superhuman.
We forget that the society is the one who elevates some of them to the position of a deity with the prompt of their congregations and other patrons; these leaders also see themselves as one due to the false garb of holiness we dressed them with.
In retrospect, we are all guilty of the same flaws in our leaders who some of us attempt to crucify and exposing their weaknesses.
Just like it happen in the secular world so also it is on the spiritual circle, many followers and hanger-on are the one who idolised leaders to the extent that many of them begin to see themselves more like a God and super important than they are, largely for selfish interest and personal gain.
It’s the followers who elevate them to a position of infallibility, only to turn around to vilify and crucify them for puffing off. We have all forgotten that the best of men are simply still mere men; mortal with breath that can be taken away at the behest of the maker.
We have through religiosity and false humility exalted them above what they should think of themselves and in the process make them to momentarily forget that they are simply human just like every other person except for the fact that they are being used by the creator to fulfill His purpose for mankind.
In the process of being given high and false pedestrians by the people around them, they have forgotten that as a vessel, God who has called them should be the greatest factor and to whom they are answerable rather than drawing attention to themselves.
A cup or platter does not adore itself above its content, what makes a platter of gold even great is the content inside of it and not the vessel itself. This is a moment of self-examination for leaders within the Christian fold to review their stand like the prodigal son and return to the place they first receive their call.
One thing leaders should constantly look out for is those false praise singers, who prop them up as being infallible and not capable of doing wrong.
I used to work with a leader with a mindset that any contrary view to his represents rebellion and rather sock in the accolades of some of his lieutenants who often regale him with uncommon praise and self-worship.
Though at some point he realised his mistakes, but it was not with a strong conviction to change from his old way and purge himself of the false impression put on him by the sycophants.
Today, I see many church leaders suffering from loneliness, not necessarily because they are alone or have been deserted by people, but for the fact that they lack good people who can look them in the face and tell them the truth they so much needed to help them succeed.
They are lonely from hearing the truth and the only mirror made available to them is the blur version that depicts them as a deity and small god that those who are around them have made them believe.
Like every one of us, leaders struggle with their own challenges and frailties. They are buffeted by their desire to love and be loved.
They are lonely because they are not able to distinguish those speaking the truth in love to them or those who are merely leading them on to perdition.
They also struggle to sustain their faith, speaking about faith all the time does not mean they don’t fall short in their own commitment to God.
They equally have challenges with their children and sometimes their spouses. Just like every other human.
They sometimes struggle to believe God for so many areas of their lives and often make mistakes in their judgment on issues and people.
Many of them in an attempt to please or satisfy the need of those who are looking up to them hid their frailties so as not to discourage their congregations.
It is time to pause and ponder, let leaders allow their humanity to flow without being pretentious, let them be themselves and not what people around them want them to be.
When leaders learn to live their lives for God and not for their followers and those they surround themselves with, then everything around them will take a new shape.
They will be judge more compassionately and be free from the bondage of deceit of those who want them to see themselves as a deity.
Take a look at the lives of some leaders you know; both spiritual and secular, who were once adored like an idol by those around them. Look at the way the same people are treating them today just because they are no longer seated in their former high places of influence, power and authority.
Every leader should realise this; people often revered the position a leader occupies and not really their person, except in some exceptional cases where such leaders have really touched lives and made impacts.
That was the reason some African leaders, including some clerics, often seek to perpetuate their reigns and manipulated the system to ensure that they remain in such position a little longer on in perpetuity.
That was what happened to those who failed to make the best use of their position while they were there
Don’t be a prisoner to your self-image, be free to see yourself the way you are and the way God sees you.