“Any General Overseer that rides a private jet and lives a luxurious lifestyle but claims to have been giving to the poor is a fraudster. After giving to the poor, what did Jesus have left? Or don’t they claim to follow Jesus any more?”
In the Part 1 of this series, I highlighted the first three of the six things you should use your money for instead of dropping it in church. I discussed in order of importance, yourself, your family and friends, and the needy people around you. I will end this discussion by talking about the remaining three. So I will just go four, five and six. Remember that I said that you can start from number one and as your level of financial buoyancy increases, you move to number two, and number three, etc. And I’m sure that except you’re Dangote or a Nigerian senator, by the time you get to number six, you won’t have anything left to drop in a mega church.
4. Saving for the Rainy Day
If you’ve taken care of yourself, your friends and family, and those that need help around you, and you have something left, don’t take it to church. Save it for yourself. It may come in handy one day. If you pay tithes every month, you can save money. And it’s those tithes you should actually save for yourself. If you pay tithes for 30 years and something happens to you (say you lose your job), you can not go back to the church and ask them to refund your tithes. Trust me. That’s the truth.
I’ve seen people who are seriously financially committed to a church run into financial emergencies — sudden hospital bills to be paid, a sudden debt to settle, a business accident that gulps large sums of money, an opportunity that requires a certain amount of money, just name it. At that point, they turned to the church and they we reminded that a church is NOT a charity organization. The church administrators reminded the brother that church money is for God’s business and everything had been used for the different projects in the church. Of course, they prayed for him that God should open doors for him from other places.
And that brings me to another point. These churches don’t pay tax because they’re registered as charity organizations. But the charity activities of the outfits aren’t toward the citizens. They go to the general overseer or the bishop, or some other head-nigg*-in-charge. This is one of the reasons why I support the motion that these churches should be taxed appropriately. Bishop Oyedepo once wanted to treat tithes like tax. In his University, the Covenant University, he attempted to be deducting tithes from the staff’s salaries. In other words, just like your taxes are being deducted from the source, so would tithes be deducted into the church account. The lecturers resisted the nonsense.
But I digress. When you’re down, and you need help, you won’t get anything from a church you’ve donated so much to. I live in Osun State. When Governor Rauf Aregbesola stopped paying people’s salaries, people turned to church for survival, they were let down. After several months of not receiving salaries, people were flat broke. I heard the story of one of them who lost his child because the child was sick and he didn’t have money to take him to the hospital. Some of them were given quit notices at their accommodations because they could no longer pay rent. They moved from a daily meal formula of 1-1-1 to 1-0-1 and then 0-0-1. Their lives are being destroyed by the Devourer which in this case is the state governor. (For those who don’t know what Nigerians derived the word ‘Devourer‘ from, click here).
Unfortunately, the fear of the Devourer had made them pay tithes for so many years but somehow, the Devourer still caught up with them. The tithes they’ve given over time are now useless. Imagine if they had saved all those tithes for themselves all this while! Wouldn’t they have had something to rely on now? The same God that allegedly took the tithes from them was nowhere to be found when they needed him. Despite the saying that nothing can stop God’s work, all church projects (‘God’s work’) stood still at the roar of Hurricane Aregbesola: church building projects remain uncompleted as I’m typing this. Ordinary mortal man like Aregbesola nullified years of tithe payment! The Deeper Life Bible Church donated a few bags of rice but that’s too little. More on that later.
And the Osun State situation has now become a national reality. The country is in an economic quagmire right now and instead of the churches to stand up for their members now that they need their help, they too have begun to complain. Don’t they always say that they operate a heavenly economy that can not be affected by earthly economic realities? In this Punch news report, the churches lament the drop in tithes and offerings. They’re not even ashamed. They’re still expecting the poor people to drop even in this harsh economic weather. So if you have anything left, don’t go throw it in church. Learn to save it up for yourself.
5. Community Development
Everywhere in the world, people join forces with the government to develop their communities. In Nigeria, the government hasn’t done much in that area but unfortunately, the citizens haven’t done much too. It’s not because the citizens are not endowed enough to do it. They’re not just motivated enough. Look at every branch of every mega church and see the investments in those buildings and you know what I mean. All the exotic and premium things are inside that place. In most parts of Nigeria, the best buildings you see around are churches. Go to the villages and see dilapidated mud houses everywhere. That’s where people stay. If you see a single building made of concrete with a proper roof, it’s most likely a church. The church hasn’t sprouted from the ground. Those same people contributed towards building it.
In some other parts of the world, churches take up real community projects. In Nigeria, they don’t. The part of the highway that passes in front of the Redemption Camp is a death trap. Instead of the G. O. to receive a vision to build that place, he received a vision to erect a bigger auditorium. What about him taking donations towards that road instead of towards a new gigantic auditorium? If converted to real community projects, the sum total of the worth of all our big churches can provide so many schools and hospitals for our communities. These churches live on donations. Those donations can build a university that will be affordable to a large cross-section of Nigerians instead of the universities being run by the churches presently.
“We need more schools, more hospitals, more factories, more roads, and more community projects, not more churches. Unfortunately, it’s the reverse that’s happening.”
People don’t complain about the tithes and all other monies they drop in church but they complain about the taxes they pay to the government. What a warped mentality! If we all chose to invest these same funds into our communities instead of taking them to church, we would’ve provided some basic amenities for ourselves as communities. We need more schools, more hospitals, more factories, more roads, and more community projects, not more churches. Unfortunately, it’s the reverse that’s happening.
6. Non-governmental Organizations
Churches are registered as charity organizations but unfortunately, they don’t run any charities! What a travesty! There are non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), the real charity organizations. They similarly receive donations from the citizens but their leaders/owners don’t ride private jets like church leaders/owners do. These NGO’s use these funds to fight for people’s rights, sponsor science/educational development, support the less privileged, fight for gender equality, etc. They pay people’s hospital bills, sponsor research and development, train people in vocations, and do general social activism. These are the ones that are doing the real jobs.
“Instead of using your money to support the so-called missionaries that will simply increase the number of parishes of a church, you can send your money to these NGO’s that go to every nook and cranny of the world to make the world a better place.”
There are NGO’s that cater to rape victims for instance. They help to haunt down the rapist and restore the psychological, medical, and social condition of the victim. Rape victims run to churches and get preached to instead. Nothing concrete. But people prefer to take their money to church instead of giving it to these NGO’s. Most NGO’s sponsoring free vaccination and surgeries in Africa are Western. Africans prefer to sponsor churches than NGO’s. So many indigenous NGO’s with good intentions died in infancy because of lack of readiness of the citizens to support good causes.
There are so many noble NGO’s around, too many to mention. The Internet is your friend. A simple Google search will reveal so many of them and how you can send your donations in. Instead of using your money to support the so-called missionaries that will simply increase the number of parishes of a church, you can send your money to these NGO’s that go to every nook and cranny of the world to make the world a better place.
Some people might raise a few counter-points to what I’ve been saying over the last three write-ups. Let me address a few.
Sometimes people cite some humanitarian services rendered by church authorities as reasons why they should be taken seriously. For instance, Emmanuel TV is the media channel through which TB Joshua flaunts his supposed humanitarian acts to the world — some rice distributed to some widows here, some dwarfs given some free vocational training there, and some orphans given some shelter here and there. The RCCG also has a scholarship program for a few students that are church members, etc. This has swayed some people’s opinion about these religious outfits — perhaps they’re real or perhaps they are good people. I used to be swayed too but now I know better.
To me, church business is like every other profit-making business and I’m yet to be convinced that T. B. Joshua is different from MTN/Globacom or RCCG is different from GTB/Access Bank. Sometime ago, I did a comparison between these organizations in some other areas but today, I’ll be taking the CSR aspect.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is what every profit-making organization does. It entails giving a fraction of the profit you’ve made back to the same society from which you’ve made your profit. It’s a form of saying ‘Thank you for your service‘. MTN and Chevron have given scholarships to indigent students. First Bank plc has furnished schools with books and educational materials. Pfizer has equipped hospitals. Globacom has sponsored free medical treatments. Nigerian Breweries have given free cars to their customers. Does that make all these companies any less of profit-making outfits? So why do you think that churches aren’t the same because of a few humanitarian services here and there? They’re exactly the same. Three reasons.
- CSR is done with just a tiny fraction of the profit made. That’s why none of these corporations have collapsed under the weight of CSR. If a church makes $1,000,000 per annum and spends just $1,000 on the poor and needy, should they be taken seriously? Any General Overseer that rides a private jet and lives a luxurious lifestyle but claims to have been giving to the poor is a fraudster. After giving to the poor, what did Jesus have left? Or don’t they claim to follow Jesus any more?
- CSR entails giving back to the community where you’ve profited. How much of CSR has MTN done in India? None. They don’t make any profits from there. They don’t owe anybody anything over there. Most of these churches run their meagre humanitarian services for their church members mostly. That behaviour is in line with CSR. Of course, the meagre profit has been made from the poor members: spending a few coins on some of them is just fine.
- CSR entails giving back for the purpose of promoting your business. If Etisalat gives you a car, their logo will be proudly printed on the car. The First Bank plc logo will be proudly displayed on the front elevation of the lecture theatre they’ve built. Whatever number of orphans Airtel empowers will be ostentatiously given adequate media coverage. The whole essence is to attract more customers to themselves. So is the church’s business too. A church goes on a missionary outreach. They first preach to the poor villagers, ask them to join their church, and thereafter distribute a few snacks or relief materials. Of course, a new parish is springing up there in the next few weeks. Remember why I started from TB Joshua’s Emmanuel TV? In Nigerian parlance, it’s called packaging. Advertise your good deeds and by so doing, you attract more members. Don’t say it’s you. Say it’s God but quickly add that God resides in your church. More members will come and more members mean more offerings and tithes. And the cycle goes on ad infinitum. It’s simple logic.
Before I close, a few words about church finances. Let’s burst 3 myths, yeah 4.
- ‘Our daddy in the Lord is not living on the small moneys we drop as offerings. He has other sources of money and God has been miraculously providing for him.’Stop being funny! Dangote once said (paraphrasing): ‘I don’t need a few people to give me large sums of money. All I need is for every Nigerian to give me ₦5 per day.’ Dangote has been collecting ₦5 from every Nigerian per day and today, he’s one of the richest people in the world. So if you now have millions of people dropping one-tenths of their earnings amidst other kinds of giving, are you surprised how your Daddy in the Lord got his private jet? Or you think his money has been appearing magically from under his bed? Who on earth is rich enough to live that kind of life your G. O. lives and has a hidden, unknown business? Can a business that has the capacity to sustain that kind of life be so hidden from the whole world? Leave the delusion. You daddy in the Lord lives totally on your givings. It’s so simple.
- ‘They spend our money for projects that we can all see. There’s nothing left for our G. O. to live luxuriously with‘Wake up! Dangote too spends a lot of his money on building his factories and buying equipment and he’s yet to go broke.
- ‘They don’t force anybody to drop money. If you don’t want to drop money, keep quiet. At least, you’ve not been dropping and God has still been providing for our daddy in the Lord.‘Well, Dangote hasn’t forced everybody to buy his products and though, lots of people don’t use his products, he still hasn’t gone broke. You sure know the answer.
- ‘Leave men of God alone. What they use the money for is between them and the God that called them. Leave them for God to judge. And beware of the repercussions of all these things you’re saying‘.Well, I’m sorry for you. You’ve decided to use your own life to lubricate someone else’s life. I know the feeling. Even if you’ve not been able to feed once per day, you still feel excited because your daddy G. O. lives in an estate. This is the new face of slavery. But unknown to you, in saner countries, the government audits church accounts. They’ve not left your men of God for God to judge. And no repercussions have befallen anybody for that.
So wise up, my people!
To read Part 1, click here.Facebook CommentsLoading...