Dateline: A Sunday morning in July 1997. A group of five young Christians gathered in a nursery school playground on assignment to plant a parish from their mother church. It was their first day without any experience whatsoever. Just as the service was about to start, four men led by a stern looking and tough talking mature man stormed the playground. Their mission: This church cannot start here. It is illegal and ungodly to establish a new church near an existing church. “Who are you in this mission? Who is that blind Pastor who sent you to plant a church near our church? You immature Christian, what do you know about church planting?” The leader of the invading team fumed. “I will ensure that you and your so-called Pastor are removed from this mission without delay for trespassing in my area jurisdiction.”
“I am sorry sir. I shall report to my Pastor immediately.” The hapless young Pastor was perplexed. The fuming Senior Pastor was leading a church with only 27 members after three years. Meanwhile, at the end of the first service of the new parish 37 people shared the grace in fellowship. But the story continued three years later.
The young Pastor was invited to minister during the anniversary of a parish under the jurisdiction of the fuming Senior Pastor. He immediately recognized the senior who could not remember his face. At the end of his ministration the senior Pastor hugged him “God bless you sir. Can I get your complimentary card sir? I will like to invite you to minister in our headquarters.” The young Pastor was flattered.
As I listened to the fathers of faith minister during the last biennial conference of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria I kept pleading with God to allow all the servants of God I know to fulfill their destinies. A lot of people are running to fulfill their ministry when destiny is the main issue. Our 1997 Pastor was more interested in territorial protection when Jesus commands us to go and preach the gospel to the uttermost part of the world. Today, the bigger the size of your car the more respect you get in ministry. Many otherwise servants of God scheme to occupy positions of “power” rather than minister in power. Before, it was okay to be a minister in the church. Today, being ordained a full Pastor is not enough. I need to become an Area, Zonal, Provincial or Regional Pastor before I become fulfilled in ministry. It beats me why those who the Bible says are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6) struggle for earthly positions.
For several years, the General Overseer, has indicated that the time will come when all ministers will queue to share their spiritual testimonies. That means that we would all need to pursue our God ordained vision and not ephemeral things. Only those who have ears hear such things. Ironically, they are scorned and despised because they are not “moving up” with the Jones. For those who do not have inner strength, they are pressured to pursue strategies that will take them, to the top. Some adopt the tactic of networking those who they believe will connect them to the top. They forget about the scripture that challenges us to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrew 12:2).
For those of us who have lost shame on the altar of desperation we even prophesy money out of the pocket of our members. At times we tell them that we have a burden to conduct seven days vigil in their house. Then we school them on the need to “connect” to our anointing by giving a prophet’s offering to us. Our excuse in most cases is that a labourer is worthy of his wages (Matthew 10:10). The honest truth however is that we are not hired by these ignorant feeding bottle Christians. God hired us. Unfortunately this attitude rubs us of fulfilling our destinies because we collect handouts when God has ordained us to prosper and flourish (3 John 2, Psalm 92:12). This explains why the church cannot “speak out” in a time like this. Desperation has distracted us from the attraction to our destinies. Thank God that there is a way of escape for the church (I Corinthians 10:13).
Let us imbibe the attitude of Jephthah (Judges 11:1-12). He pitched his tent with desperate vagabonds when the pressure of the society hit him. However, he converted his pressure to power when he became a defender of the oppressed. He re-fired his vision as a leader. Soon, his nation came looking for him to deliver them. And he became a national head. Let us retool ourselves so that we can truly become mouth piece of our generation. If you cannot rise above tokenism you will never fulfill your ministry. The productivity that God talked about in Genesis 1:28 include making a national impact.