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Pastors Dangle Wealth To Lure Poor to Church

NIGERIA


This can be counter-productive, as in the case of Chibuzor, another Lagos dweller. After attending many church programs promising riches, nothing changed financially for him. Chibuzor says he has since given up on attending such programs.

“I used to fall for all those programs — anointing for this, anointing for that," Chibuzor recounted. "Not anymore. There was a particular program I attended in 2012. It was a vigil. I was looking for some money to start my electronics business, and so my friend invited me to her church.

“The pastor prayed and prayed, and I was totally happy. Even though I had not left the church, I already felt my prayer had been answered that night. Just when he was about done, the pastor said we had to prove our readiness to receive God’s blessings. We should dip our hands into our pockets and bring the biggest denomination of currency out. He said he wanted to pray over the money.

“But after the endless prayer, he said the money should not be returned to our pockets. We had to sow it. He said we would see the result of his prayer in seven days. It was the last N1,000 (then about US $7) on me that night. You needed to see how people were rushing to drop their seed offering. I reluctantly dropped mine. It was my friend who gave me N200 ($1.2) to get back home that night.”

But seven days later nothing had happened.

“Imagine, because of the prophecy, I was expecting people to give me some money to start my business. Two months passed, nothing happened. I had to come back to my senses.

“I had to go in search of some odd jobs, from which I raised money. Today, I have my own shop. I realized that no matter the amount of prayers and anointing, if a person fails to do what’s to be done to be rich, they will wallow in poverty forever. I think some of these pastors use our lack as a people to lure us. People have to be wise.”

It’s been years since Adelabi Doyinsola left his former church, but he has yet to forget what made him leave for another church that is even farther from his house.

“The pastor was always telling us to sow seeds and make giant offerings that would move God. He would say it in a way that if you don’t come out to drop something tangible you are an enemy of progress. So to avoid guilt and developing some dislike for the church, I had to leave.

“Where I am now, the pastor teaches us and encourages us to give reasonably to God and that we should place value on whatever we are giving God. I feel better with that, and since then, I only give my best to God," Doyinsola says. 

For her part, Elizabeth Ajayi, says she stopped going to her former church when it became clear that she was in the wrong place. “Every Sunday was always about sowing seed, making sacrifices and donations towards God’s work, and it was never about what the church could do for the members.’’

Rev. Badru warns that, “People should stop seeing Jesus as a magician that will turn their poverty around instantly. People should know that any pastor who promises prosperity or riches to the members are not of God. They are businessmen.

“You have to understand what it entails to prosper. Even if someone who is not a Christian follows the principles of prosperity, he will prosper. It is foolishness for someone to go to a church program, thinking that by attending that program, he or she will become rich.

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