Nigeria has lost track of development. Or nearly so; which is why the activities of Churches – so remote to national development – are a public hate magnet.
The Church is not a business center. Or, true Churches are not business centers.
The opinion that Churches are business centers because there are many of them on one street is wrong. There are basic questions to ask about why there are many Churches in Nigeria. After answering those, a person can infer – if true Churches are business centers.
Going to a Church or giving in a Church does not mean a person is stupid. NO! It is a personal decision, voluntary and changeable. The spaces that true Churches take anywhere are not a hindrance to some grand program, or some development project.
If any state or local government needs spaces for something useful for their people, it cannot be a problem to get them. And if nothing is going on, and people get spaces to open Churches, it is no big deal.
If a person goes to Church in the morning of a non-holiday weekday, it is the business of that person, and it is no big deal – if it does not affect you. Whatever any individual chooses to do, going or giving to a Church is their choice. Criticizing them for it is the forte of a busybody.
Why are there so many Churches in Nigeria?
Why are Churches everywhere (in Southern Nigeria)? Why are Churches, according to some, more than businesses (and factories)?
An important side note answering these questions is that, as Churches are everywhere, what does it take away from Nigeria’s development?
If a Church opens somewhere, what closes? What does it hurt? What does it relegate? Whatever was there before, was the Church responsible for the failure?
And then, is it really the case that Churches should and must do everything, regarding development?
Small business loans are difficult in Nigeria, maybe because of bank business models and deficient public data system. Who knows? So when small business owners don’t get loans [banks], and there is no electricity [government] and hapless hospitals [government] and public education – for their adult children who could help them do strategy – is inferior [education system] and inflation [CBN], is the Church responsible for all?
There is a chance that nobody can totally explain why Nigeria’s development is regressive. With lots of strange stories everywhere, faith and hope may be what drives many to Church. Hope [or, in part, change] they can’t get from the government. Faith [or, in part, fulfillment] they can hardly get from mostly same-thing-everyday work, predominant across Nigeria.
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So this maybe the answer: Nigeria is almost totally underdeveloped; despair and misery are almost everywhere, but Hope and Faith from the presence of GOD, is everything for so many.
What is Development?
Anybody can define what this means from their own perspective, but the world is broadly developed and developing [though there are acutely underdeveloped nations].
Developed is what the United States is, and most of Western Europe, etc. But what are the key ingredients of development? And how does a country get there?
What programs and projects [major and minor] would underdeveloped nations need to take, to close in on development? (In answering, please, don’t just say China).
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What is Nigeria doing? There are so many events, activities, projects, investments and announcements, but the bitter truth is that Nigeria has lost track of development. People are doing things. Companies and organizations are doing stuff. There are so many activities in Nigeria, but development is not there. Check! Buzz stuff are not exactly development, they become dud after the trend passes.
Nigeria is probablyfull of noise, shamefully, from many corners. For example – on Twitter, where many Nigerians debate nonsense and argue worthlessly. On Twitter, some Nigerians are professing love for President Kagame of Rwanda, over his seeming recent reforms. But there is almost nothing Rwanda has achieved that Nigeria has not, and Nigeria is still so underdeveloped. Made in Rwanda bags? Sorry, Nigeria makes far better bags.
The hype for Kagame also stemmed from closing Churches. Allowing or shuttering Churches does not affect policies or what a government can do to make a country better place. Kagame is a perennial president, something Nigerians can never accede. If you want to bet on development, put your money on Nigeria, not Rwanda.
Disagreeing with Churches and Pastors
As a country, Nigeria is distracted. There is always news of something shameful, or one government official, or one kind of stupidity everybody talks about, and then development is never mentioned or thought of. This is the same syndrome that came at Pastors and Churches.
There are some things some Pastors say and some Churches do, that sometimes, as a Christian maybe hard to chew, but the truth is, if an individual is busy and super focused, you know the comments or activities does not affect anything, so it is better to ignore and face your business.
But what do we get? Criticism of testimony or seed offering or number of Churches on one street; maybe, some actions and doctrines are tad indistinct, but they are really an internal thing.
Churches are not Business Centers
RCCG has Church Parishes everywhere and sometimes multiple on one street across Southern Nigeria. The simple truth is that they are not a public problem, especially towards development. If the transformer on your street goes bad or the roads are not great, or there is no food, no work or some sham Sars police officers running roughshod, or hospital workers go on strike, it is not the fault of Redeemed Church.
Why, are Churches hated so much? It is not only Churches that are everywhere, but why is their abundance an immediate thought of hate and criticism?
An administration spent billions of dollars for constant electricity a few years ago, and nothing came out of it. Assuming the money was lost, it did not only benefit that administration, but some individuals and institutions. There are many companies and institutions who have so muchmoney to do relevant stuff and a lot of knowledge to develop Nigeria – more than Churches do – but this group won’t do anything.
If Churches are too much in Southern Nigeria and they are truly at fault for underdevelopment, the other part of Nigeria, where there are relatively fewer Churches, why isn’t that part developed?
Mind idleness and envious hate are mostly the reason for criticisms of true Churches and Pastors. Or, maybe some people criticize the Church to have themselves an impression of smartness. Who knows?
Don’t go to Church if you hate them, even powerful Apostle Paul couldn’t convince some philosophers.
Acts 17:18: And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, What would this babbler say? Others, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.
Acts 17:21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but telling or hearing something new.
Acts 17:32 And when they heard [of the] resurrection of the dead, some mocked, and some said, We will hear thee again also concerning this.
Acts 17:33 Thus Paul went out of their midst.
Not everybody will believe, and that is fine; if you don’t – avoid them. But because true Churches are everywhere means they are a problem, it is pathetically obtuse to think that way – coming from Daddy Freeze or his sympathizers.
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RCCG Parishes are not business centers and will never be. They and other true Churches in Nigeria are not holding Nigeria backwards. Look elsewhere!
Written by Nneka Okumazie