Church must partner with govt
By Sam Eyoboka
LAST Sunday, 11 winners in the December 26, 2016 empowerment Programme of Eagle Flight
Micro Finance Bank/Word of Life Bible Church, Warri graduated and were empowered during
the month-long Let-God-Arise fasting and prayer programme. They rejoiced home from the service with fish and feeds for the five fishery graduands, manual/electric sewing machines complete with accessories for four fashion & design graduands, and complete makeover box for the five makeover graduands.
At the end of the ceremony, the former CAN national president, His Eminence Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor who reluctantly granted this interview, stressing that Nigerian Church can win more souls if “we also add to our preaching, practical issues that can touch more lives…
We have watched you give out cars, tricycles, grinding machines during your yearly empowerment programmes and at some other times. You have extended the skill acquisition programme . . .
I began to understand that God, for example, does not go to the river to catch fish for you. He creates an opportunity for you to know and learn how to catch fish. Look at what happened; Jesus preached in a crusade. He finished the crusade and he said to his disciples; give them food to eat and they were shocked wondering what the Master was saying. They have just eaten now: spiritual food. And Jesus told them, that’s spiritual food. Give them physical food.
You can’t be going to church when you have no job. You can’t be going to church when you are hungry or have no where to lay your head. Now, prayer is good but there’s what I call practical Christianity, and Jesus many times, demonstrated it. The Church must get involved in the physical lives, social lives, economic lives of the people who attend the church.
So we have discovered that if God saved you just to go to heaven, the day you accept Christ, you should die and just go to heaven. But He didn’t kill you. He left you here. Why? Did He leave you here to suffer? It’s okay, He left you here to do evangelism. You can’t do evangelism with an empty stomach? If you are very hungry, you can’t do very good evangelism unless you are fasting. When you break your fast you will need food. The Church has a responsibility because we represent Christ here on earth. We are the Body, He is the head. He is no longer here physically…if you say Jesus, who is Jesus? Jesus is the Church. So the Church has a responsibility to help men and women learn how to fish, have something doing and be able to feed themselves, pay their rents, do things for themselves in addition to preparing to go to heaven.
It’s very vital. So, if a church is not doing this, I think it is wrong. This is something I have pledged and vowed to God, not to continue to just preach to people, but give them an opportunity to live life and live it fully. This is why the church is very involved in people’s lives.
If you have nothing to break the fast and you have not broken the fast you can’t do any reasonable evangelism. So, the joy of evangelism comes when you have something to do with your hands. The Church has become very responsible. That’s why we have the micro finance bank, school and other social responsibility stuff and do all the things we are doing. We give people the opportunity and in a few years time, you will begin to understand the greatness of Word of Life Bible Church. It’s a great church. Free medical service every Sunday with doctors and nurses to attend to you.
All these we are doing, but people do not understand. All that people are saying, is that we are eating people’s money. No! We are reaching out and touching lives.
Your campaign is to assist government….
Oh! Definitely. First of all, in actual sense, government should be responsible for some of these things. It’s part of government’s mandate to provide security and the right environment for people to be able to feed themselves and live a reasonable life. The truth is government must partner with the Church. The Church cannot sit back and watch….even if Government were to be doing it, we don’t see it being done the way it should be done. It is imperative that the Church must partner with government. We must work together. Government actually cannot do everything alone. So the Church must play its part, corporate organisations should play their part too, but the Church has its part; that’s my interest.
I feel that what we are doing should also challenge the government to do better because they have the means, the resources that we don’t have.
This realization about the responsibilities of the Church to the people is not widespread…
It’s an unfortunate thing. I think basically, because most church leaders today, had a wrong foundation where they were not taught. So, they don’t have that understanding. It’s only that you should be taught, there should be a natural inclination and feeling…that human compassion. These are human beings like you….when you see them, you can tell that they are hungry. Every Sunday, I do breakthrough prayers where I lay hands on thousands of people who come through the line…when see certain people coming through the line, you can tell who hasn’t eaten for days. I saw a woman today, her condition was pitiful. I looked at her and she had about two or three children who obviously have not eaten.
Now, what I am preaching? I see that kind of thing and I mount the pulpit and preach? What will I preach? Her mind would be there. Her mind will hover around how the children will eat. What will happen to them? We must begin to…even if you don’t have that foundation, even if you were taught, but you are human being. There should be human compassion. The Bible says, Jesus saw the people and had compassion on them. So, I wonder why anybody will be a pastor and not have compassion on the people. Because part of pastoral calling is compassion….a natural sherphard care for his sheep. So, a spiritual sherphard must also care for his sheep. Caring for them is not just counselling them on how to go to heaven or preach to them on how to go to heaven.
I believe in heaven, I love heaven and I believe that’s where I’ll end. But in the meantime I am here seeing these people everyday or every Sunday. I believe the reason some churches don’t do this probably because, they were not taught and they have not allowed the bowels of compassion to work with them and through them. If you are Christian, even if you are not a pastor, you ought to have compassion and compassion will lead to action and you will want to do something. Perhaps, that’s why some churches are not interested…they just want to open the Bible and preach and preach.
There are people that get saved, not by preaching. There are people that saved just by what you do for them. It breaks them down, because they would say, if this man can do this, so it’s Jesus that led him to do this? I will follow him. I have seen that happen several times. The Church can win more souls if we also add to the preaching, practical issues that can touch more lives and win more souls. If you remember the early missionaries, some of them really didn’t have any message. But although they didn’t have the message, they had compassion. When they came, they brought a lot of clothings, some opened hospitals, schools and that was what opened doors for them. Most of their converts were not preached to. Just that alone was enough preaching. And many just turned around and started serving God.
I hope and pray that most of our churches will have a rethink and add compassion to whatever they are doing. Whatever, I am saying now is nothing new or anything different. It’s in the Bible. You cannot be a Christian without compassion. If you don’t show compassion, I fear that kind of Christianity, because there has to be a part of you that will want to see other people do better in life. If you are just enjoying yourself…you want this…you want that…what about the people. I think it’s a very serious problem. Actually, some people are just being self-centred. Some leaders are self-centref. They think only of themselves and how they can improve themselves.
Jesus said the sherpherd lays down his life for his sheep. He said when a sherphard leads the sheep, he goes ahead of the sheep. He’s not behind. So, a lot of people who are supposed to church leaders are too self-centred and you cannot be a genuine sherpherd and be self-centred. If you are a genuine sherpherd you must be people-centred. You must be God-centred but you be people-centred because you cannot say you love God and not love the people. The Scripture even said; how can you say you love God who you cannot see and hate your brother who you see; because the expression of your love for God is what you do for your brother who you are seeing.