By Chris Paul Otaigbe
All the hue and cry over the recent sack of 40 new Pastors by the Living Faith Ministry headed by David Oyedepo, may just be for nothing.
He cares less what anyone thinks because he knows full well that in a lawless society as Nigeria’s, no law can catch nor prosecute him.
For a man who has so much cash and physical assets scattered all around the world, Oyedepo has made so much wealth that money and man are afraid of him; in Nigeria; and Africa too.
In fairness to him, he started from a humble beginning and rose, through his love of God, to where he is today.
In other words,he is invincible. All we can do is to speak truth to power for God to make appropriate judgement over the case.
Having such a hold on a Community of Winner’s chapel spread across the globe who literally live a Winner’s chapel life seven days a week all year round is a feat that must be commended.
As a member of the Winner’s family, I must confess I admire his preaching and leadership of the Ministry. But I get motivated more by Makinde, his son’s sermons. I am sure,one day soon, David will electrify the entire world with the word power God has gifted him with.
His adventure for God got him to set up 10,000 churches. Wow! And that’s supposed to be a feat, in a nation wired with poverty and hunger.
Anyway, so he gets 10,000 young men, who merely passed through his sandwich Bible courses, to play Pastor and shepherd those churches.
Less than two years later, he found forty of them could not deliver to target and so, they have to go.
His excuse is that his church does not engage in losses. His god does not tolerate losses. Wow!
In today’s Nigeria, animals (in human skin) who carry Bible and call themselves man of god have been caught with human parts and blood on their hands. They engage in human sacrifice just so they can have sea of heads in their churches. They want to boast of a large congregation too.
So, if any of these sacked Pastors had gone that route to miraculously make a mammoth branch of the ministry in their base, Oyedepo would welcome such a church with open arms and declare such a one as ‘my son, in whom I’m well pleased…!’
Has he forgotten how he started? At some point, according to the history of the ministry which he narrated often, they could not raise N300 or something the church needed to do at the time.
He would used their situation, at the time, to prophesy the Rosy future they have found today.
Would he be here today, if God had cut short his energy and aspiration for ministry if He (God) had frustrated him (Oyedepo) out of church work?
From the tone of the action the ministry took against the 40 Pastors, it showed Oyedepo cares less where or how they meet their target. Whether they get it from the devil directly or through satanic agents. As long as their churches have a particular number of congregation and the new Pastors remit a particular sum, it is fine by Oyedepo.
Now, his critics can understand why his schools such as Covenant University boast of such exorbitant fees. At a time when poverty has dugged deep into the anals of the country, the sources of the wealth of most of the parents of the children who attend Oyedepo’s schools are obviously questionable.
Of course, this particular issue is not peculiar to his church as other ministries and denominations have schools where the school fees are abominably satanic.
Stories coming from life in covenant University Community do not glorify God or His Church.
Back to the fired forty, as the Lord liveth, the genuine ones among them who sincerely aspired to accomplish the mission of meeting the target, this sad experience will become their stepping stone to greatness; for God and to His glory.
So, let the world take note that these are the corner Stone rejected by Oyedepo’s ministry.
Would anyone now blame Oyedepo’s brother in Law who took advantage of his headship of Abuja’s headquarter of the ministry to establish his own Good Tidings Church next door to Winner’s chapel?
On a personal note, I have been close enough (even though I didn’t deal with him directly), as an observer to watch how Oyedepo and his wife politely refused to help one who was very close to them but who genuinely needed assistance.
That made me sad but then I concluded he is just a human being.
On a broader note, his desire to set up 10,000 churches that must meet certain financial and Congregational target vindicates the description of Pentecostal church branches as glorified business centers.
His awkward sack of the forty pastors elevates the Catholic Church’s process of training their Reverend Fathers and sending them to man their parishes without giving them targets.
Where the Fathers fall short of certain expectations, they are redeployed.
This is logical, commonsensical and rational thing to do in ANY religious organization.
The White men who brought Christianity to Nigeria, trained the Nigerians in whose they left the church. They even supported them with funding and protection TILL NEW CHURCH HEADS COULD FIND THEIR FEET.
They set up schools for all the children to attend free of charge.
If they had applied the Oyedepo church Administration formula, not many would have had the opportunity to enjoy the education that has made them who they are today; including Oyedepo.
Perhaps, the church would have died too because not many may have been able to meet the target. Worse still, the carnivore that many have turned into doing money and church growth blood ritual would have started way back then.
Thank God, they had a relatively decent heart to work, sincerely, for God.
Currently, I attend a branch of one of top old school churches where Sunday attendance is never up to 30 congregants.
But guess what, through the young Pastor, God has revealed Himself to me beyond my imagination. But it has not increased the number of those who come to worship Him there; yet.
This young Pastor would easily have been one of the forty Oyedepo fired. If that happened I probably would not have the opportunity to meet God way I did under the young Pastor’s guidance.
The point, here, is that can we quantify how many of these young Pastors God had planned to heal the hearts of the hopeless and the helpless in their respective Community of work?
Yes, God will use anything or anyone to achieve His objective.
But it is not in our place, General Overseer, Bishop, Reverend, Senior Pastor or Elder, to know or determine the who, when, where and how!
Even as a business concern, some compassionate corporate body may still retain and redeploy the young to some of other department in the organization. The truly useless ones can then be laid off when found out.
In the end, as we can bear witness, today’s Nigerian church is no longer about God but about using the name of Jesus Christ to perpetuate personal agenda; whether it’s against the law of man or commandments and injunction of Almighty God.
In saner climes, what these church business GOs do and get away with would land them behind bars.
Well, this is Nigeria where anything bad goes and people like Oyedepo are above the law and that is why he will CARE LESS what anyone thinks or says concerning his actions.
Thankfully, Oyedepo finally addressed the issue. His reason for firing them was because they were unfruitful and therefore, a failure that his Ministry cannot tolerate.
Before God, many are a failure yet He forgives us our failings and gives us all a second chance.
Just as in the parable of the wicked debtor servant in Mathew 18:23-33.
While he was forgiven his debt to his Master, he refuses to forgive his debtor punishing the debtor to the full extent of his wickedness.
A lot may choose to misread or interpret this scripture but it speaks to this context.
23. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like(A) a king who wanted to settle accounts(B) with his servants.
24. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[a] was brought to him.
25. Since he was not able to pay,(C) the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold(D) to repay the debt.
26. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him.(E) ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’
27. The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[b] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30. “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
31. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
33. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’
Only God knows who is truly serving Him; in truth and in deed.
Otaigbe, a Journalist lives in Lagos and can be reached on email@example.com