By Dr. Francis Akin-John
“Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God…” (II Corinthians 6:3-4).
Secular tendencies have taken over.
Respect for pastors is very low today because most churches have resorted to secular methods, styles, branding, swagger and management to run a spiritual entity. Educational degrees, packaging, dressing swagger and deception has turn the spiritual house of God into secular pursuits where carnalities and flesh reigns supreme. Thus, when people see the shallowness and hollowness of our packaging, and discover that Holy Spirit is not there, our respect takes a great tumble.
Pastors have tried to command respect by investing in big titles, big chairs, big garments, big buildings and big pockets, yet our respect scales continue to look downward because we are not what God says we should be.
- The Word of God is mutilated and twisted for our own gain.
Majority of modern pastors lack the true knowledge of the Word and will of God. Biblical illiteracy is very high in today’s church. Erroneous teachings, practices and biblical mutilation are very rife in the pulpits of today. It seems the only scripture we know is about giving, praying against the enemy and making quick monies.
We even use prophetic words to hoodwink, make merchandise and deprive people of their hard earned money in the name of first born redemption, family deliver-ance and prophetic liberations. Small wonder pastors no more amount to anything in the eyes of the society.
- Idolatry of the world reigns supreme in our pulpits.
What shall I say about the idolatry of the world by modern pastors, in the name of “God has blessed me and I must show it to the world?” We love this world and must enjoy it as much as possible. We live for ‘things’ and are ready to cut corners just to have them, not minding the image we are projecting to the world.
We acquire and run after perish-able things of the world at the ex-pense of our eternal souls. We lay our treasures here on earth, where moth and rut corrupt them and are not different from sinners out there. How can they continue to respect us when they see no difference between them and us?
- The healthy FEAR of the Lord is not in our hearts.
The holy writ says that the ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, but that is no more the case with us. The fear, dread and holy awe of the Lord is no more in our hearts, that is why a pastor can defraud, steal, get drunk with alcohol and shortchange his office members and still mount the pulpit to preach on Sunday’s.
That is why a pastor can rape his daughter, take money from armed or pen robbers and still go around to preach and pray God’s blessings upon people, Projecting who he is not.
And when his secrets are dis-covered, he blames it on the devil, thereby bringing shame to the name of Christ and the holy office of a shepherd of God’s flock.
- Years of neglecting true discipleship.
Most churches only focus on numerical growth to the utter neglect of spiritual growth of the converts. People are not taught to grow in the Lord, become Christ-like in their daily lives. Therefore, we have Christians who are babes, carnal and unstable in the Lord.
They are disciples of their church-es and General Overseers, not that of Jesus. And since the Christians of today are the pastors of tomorrow, we have carnal, ungodly, spiritually destitute people becoming pastors in droves and their un-Christlike lifestyles have brought shame and disrespect to the gospel of Christ. Undiscipled pastors will always walk and work in the arm of the flesh.
To bring respect back to the pastoral institution today demands for genuine repentance from pastors and churches. We need to apologize to our nation and society. Each pastor must go back to God for transformation of heart and life. Some pastors need to quit the ministry because God did not call nor grace them for this tough job.
Pastors must start building spiritual character over charisma. We must return to the Bible, Holy Spirit and fruits of the Spirit afresh. We must go back for training, retraining and conti-nuous training in ministry matters. We must stop bringing every Dick and Harry into minist-ry. We must do our churches in biblical ways and principles. It is then and only then can we see God’s revival, and society will respect the pastoral institution again.
Ultimately, you don’t demand for respect, you earn respect by your lifestyle and actions. So, each of us will have to prove to society that we are true, it is then you can start to earn their respect again.
N/B. My books: Grow the Pastor, Grow the Church; Healthy Leaders, Healthy Churches; Your Image is Your Growth; Healthy Local Churches Today, and DiscipleShift Today, can help to restore godly respect to Pastors and churches. You can buy them from www.amazon.com or any Bible Wonderland Bookshops nationwide.