RCCG is arguably the biggest Church in Nigeria. The Church is over half a century old. They are famous and influential. Their lead Pastor, Adeboye, took over from the founder circa 1981.
The Church is literally everywhere across Southern Nigeria. The Church also has branches around the world.
The Church has an outlined vision, and its mission is to get there. Tens of millions of people have found hope, at some point, through this Church. And they have inspiring workers and parishes.
The Church has millions of regular members, and holds events at their campground – currently on its fourth capacity development.
Their Pastor is a likable man, at least for majority – before the recent era of social media and ascent of Osinbajo, a Pastor too; to Vice President of Nigeria, making hate messages and criticisms supercharge topics and events around him.
Now, it is fun for many to blame him, accuse him, criticize him and wish the worst for him.
Thankfully, he’s still going strong.
Those who took the hate purpose to heart forgot that the Church he leads is bigger than any individual –Pastor or Member [genuine or otherwise].
His critics for some weird reason think RCCG or true Churches – in general – are not good for the people. But that is not the case.
The Pastor should have been an example of passion, focus and creativity for anyone who could learn and notice. But since he’s not an acclaimed industry executive, or some rogue pol, or an entertainer, they cannot see him – and the whole team – for their transcendent achievements in their mission.
Anyone can say whatever they want about RCCG, but the Church, on their mission to spread the gospel have done excellently great – and they are marching on. Assuming the heads of Nigeria’s electricity from thirty years ago made vision their priority, a University VC, recently, will not say most of their budget was used – to buy diesel. Or better put, there will be uninterrupted electricity in Nigeria.
So, because the Church is principally focused on people’s transformed minds, and not national development, it does not mean the Church and their leader are misplaced, NO! They aren’t.
There is so little the Church can do in the whole Nigeria underdevelopment situation. Even banks hoard loans to SMEs and with all their hyped technology – they are super wary of chiselers. But the Church from time took trust risks and had a welfare department, gave and still gives.
But how much difference is expected, even if a Church gives in a local government of one million people, say to five percent, what difference will it make in the whole Nigeria condition, if those responsible do nothing?
Speaking strictly of the market, why is the generator market successful in Nigeria; And, more so successful, than solar – so far? Generators success is a result of a sector’s total failure and cannot be compared to other products that are necessities – differing from those as insurance.
But Church is different from a product, or any product. Church is a place of Hope, and a place where Faith grows. There are all kinds of people who go to Church and remain there during and after a situation. Why? Because they found Faith and Hope as necessities against anxiety, pain, sickness, hardships, challenges, insufficiency, loneliness, etc.
Church is also a place of prayer against evil, wickedness, ill-wishes and uncertainties, prevalent across Nigeria.
There is a demand for Church. And it seems normal to respond to the demand with more Churches, more branches and more Pastors. Does it mean Churches are a hindrance to development? NO! Does it also mean that if Nigeria became developed everyone will stop going to Church? NO, also.
Nigeria is heavily distracted and carefree about progress measurement. Churches do so much that the society refused to offer. Nigeria is not a country that cares about therapy sessions. Churches for some represent these; there are few career counselors for students across Nigeria, but Churches and Church groups help in some ways. There is also the optimism angle to life – preached in Churches, in an environment were almost everything is discouraging. Churches also have more rehabilitation homes.
Big Church or Big Pastor
A pastor’s son who does a lot of social media to maybe humanize himself, or feel like an everyday guy, or for tongue-in-cheek, recently ran into a controversy over a video where he seemed liked he was joking, mentioning farming then went on to say other stuff. Criticism of the video, by Daddy Freeze, was picked up across blogs and some of the comments were grim.
Whatever he said in that video was not a scandal, probably does not represent the views of the Church or his Dad, and does not exactly matter. But in trying to be like an average guy, or trendy and jovial, there is a window to make ill-advised posts and to sometimes misfire. Not like there is exactly anything wrong with ‘cool’ jokes, but the optics of some of it in a charged era of relentless church attacks, may mean to dial things down – especially from someone so close to the Pastor. Who knows?
Pastors seem big in Nigeria and look like they are really at the top. But if it is a true Pastor leading a true Church, the Church and the Mission are bigger. The loyalty a lot of people – truly serving and committed in Church – is to Christ Jesus. Though they respect their Pastors, but they look unto Jesus the Author and the Finisher of their Faith.
This recognition is what so many have refused to understand, that genuinely doing what is done in a Church does not mean being used, it means Faith – and rightfully so. Some of the people who criticize Churches and Pastors have sometimes blared ‘nobody owes you anything’ with respect to uncles, aunties, or richer siblings or friends, but for Churches and Pastors, they excuse that and blame.
One of the signature moves – kneeling – of the Pastor Adeboye, before most or all of his sermons is also to say let’s go before the Almighty GOD in total humility. This is part of the recognition for him that while he leads, the Church or the Purpose does not belong to him. He believes he’s a vessel for the purpose, and he stops short of taking glory or feeling like he’s totally in charge or everything. Some may argue against these, but is mostly the case.
Yes, RCCG is bigger than Pastor Adeboye. He’s a part of the mission and vision, but the Head of the Church is Christ. It is so painful that Nigeria has come to a time when Pastors – especially true ones – are easily ridiculed and blamed.
Those involved feel so smart and feel others are foolish. Well, real foolishness and stupidity are rarely voluntary, so going to Church or giving is nowhere near those. There are foolish things people do and cannot control: e.g. irresistible stupid thinking is close to the greatest foolishness. For these sets of ‘smart – hate Church – people’ that have been unable to change Nigeria one bit towards real development, the thing in front of them that they cannot see and cannot think should worry them more than true Churches – changing destinies.