More Gospel and Less Business

Before I get stuck in, so to speak, it’s important I emphasise that this article isn’t in anyway directed at any specific person or organisation; neither is it one of angst or ridicule, but merely the thoughts of a somewhat concerned individual.

I guess my disillusionment with the ‘Nigerian church’  had subconsciously been building up over time, but rather than accept it  for what it was – genuine and acute concerns – I chose to believe my reluctance to go to church was as a result of excessive  tiredness and stress, and as such was suffering from a lingering case of Sunday morning ‘church fatigue’. You know the one – wake up on a Sunday morning and instinctively get up to get ready for church; only to stop midway as the thought of the sermon one is likely to hear, the general atmosphere of ‘perception’, ‘me me me’, and ‘righteousness’ completely turns one off. So back to bed you go, deciding to spend time with God on your own – whenever you eventually wake up.

However, yesterday morning, as a result of having not been for a couple of weeks, I forced myself to go, believing I needed to stir myself out of my ‘church nonchalance’.

As I drove to church I noticed something I never thought I’d see – so many people jogging on the Lekki /Ikoyi bridge –  on a Sunday morning!!!

It was quite incredible! Not nearly as many as on a Saturday morning, but most definitely enough to suggest that I may not be the only one that would rather be somewhere else besides a ‘Nigerian Church’ on a Sunday morning.

Why my use of the phrase ‘Nigerian church’?

Because I don’t feel the same way about going to church in the UK. Indeed I look forward to Sunday mornings when in the UK, because I know it will be a time of genuine fellowship with others, as well as growth in my understanding and love for the Gospel.


Still feeling that maybe I was just in a funny mood, I decided to assess the thoughts of a few friends – asking them the following question;

“I honestly can’t remember the last time I looked forward to going to church in this country. Is it just me? Or are other people feeling like this?”

Answers

Friend 1:

“Not just you bro. What’s the solution? A new church is required for those that don’t like what they’re experiencing. I wish HTB would come to Nigeria – Anglican, refreshing message.
I think part of the reason for not liking church in Nigeria is the people. I have found that in Nigeria everyone from BH to corrupt government officials put God before everything. They use it as a cloak and justification for ungodly acts. We all use it as a decoy to appear more righteous. In the west people worship God quietly, live righteously, and do good deeds without fuss. We worship, praise, and end it there.”

Friend 2:

“I hardly go. Maybe I go once a month. I find people go as a routine. It shouldn’t be so. One should want to go. Most people go to church so that God won’t punish them, or not answer their prayers. As if that’s how He operates!  In contrast I was literally draaaaaawn to my church in London. Every week I couldn’t wait to go. It made me thirst for God and His presence. I went, despite appalling weather conditions, transport stress, and ill health. I just knew that if I went I would feel God and feel better. Even if I was feeling 100% I knew that feeling would be amplified. Going to church in Nigeria drains me most times, so I don’t bother going.”

Friend 3:

“If you look around church during a service you’ll notice there’s no  joy in the place. There’s a lot of people getting worked up and motivated but the joy is missing. Church is supposed to be a place of love, healing, and joy. But that is sadly missing in Nigeria. Most times I don’t feel like going. I often stay at home and just spend time in His presence.”

So concerned was I about the direction our churches are going that I asked the Holy Spirit the following question mid-way through Sunday’s service;

“Lord, what is going on? Where have we gone wrong?”

His answer:

“The church in Nigeria is compromised. Mammon (love for money) has infiltrated the church, and as a result the underlying driving forces behind most churches are a quest for Power, Wealth, and Fame. This is why Love and the Joy, which are natural fruits of my gospel have disappeared.”

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “who the hell is he to say that He knows what God is saying about the church??” Indeed you’re right. Who the hell am I? I’m no-one. Just a desperately disillusioned and concerned person.

But ask yourself this – is the above statement right or wrong?

I heard a very powerful sermon on Sunday morning. It was very revealing and indeed motivating. But as I listened to it I couldn’t help feeling as though I was in a business seminar – one designed for people to make themselves successful. I’m so tired and weary of church services being more akin to business seminars. I understand the desire to empower people – especially those in a third world country. But in truth it does absolutely nothing to improve society. We’ve been doing this for so many years now. It creates a few millionaires, but doesn’t help in any way to create a better society. Rather, it encourages a more fragmented and self-centered one.

Our nation needs healing. This is what our churches should focus on – healing – through God’s Love and our Love For One Another.

Here’s an idea – if our churches want to get in the business seminar space then they should play by the same rules and on the same playing field as all other businesses – do their seminars on weekdays or even Saturdays. But please please please dedicate Sundays solely to the Gospel.

I yearn for a church that is purely, sincerely, and completely focused on the Gospel. One that isn’t interested in building giant structures or promoting materialism of any kind. A church that doesn’t use fear and control to force people to pay tithes and offerings – indeed a church that doesn’t even talk about tithes and offerings. One not founded on any kind of ‘perception’, but on Genuine Love, Humility, and Ordinary Day To Day Life – no gimmicks, no catch-phrases, no whipping people into a frenzy.

Just a love for the Gospel, and fellowshipping with one another.

One can at least dream!

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