TODAY’S CHURCHES

Today’s churches are not content with small membership that they can be sure are true practicing Christians. They are not interested in small branches either. Church growth targets are more about good financial standing than about depopulating hell and discipleship. High church attendance equals growth in offertory and that’s where the story ends.

Church growth targets are more tailored to either profit-making projects or merely having the biggest auditorium (membership), usually under the guise of the word of God reaching many. Need we talk about the expensive popularity-influenced programme advertisements, hyped conferences and expensive guest speakers and “ministers”? Oh, big edifices are good especially because it would attract rich and high class people to the Church. Don’t we know rich people are attracted to the appearance of church buildings and repelled by sloppy appearances and concerned about where their expensive cars get parked; and of course not in the parking lot of a Church with cheap edifice/architecture?

Stationary pastors who no longer go out to the field, the hinterlands to propagate the gospel but are content with once-a-year evangelism programmes that never get to rural areas. Going to and setting up churches in rural areas is not lucrative enough. Of course that would defeat the business model operation of the Church. Right? Pastors no longer honour invitations to rural Churches to go and preach because there’s no financial incentive.

FB_IMG_1455263798627

Sunday praise and worship sessions so short and so not as uplifting compared to the spirit-filled experience you have playing same songs or listening to them on radio in your closet. Choirs interested in setting aside other times aside normal Sunday services for high cost worship/praise programmes 12 times in a year to entertain themselves (very little outside folks or sinners attending), under the guise of it serving as a means of evangelism.

Funny church membership rules linked closely to financial obligations under the guise of the church burying members when they die, or attending/officiating their celebrations, etc. Membership never comes into question during the collection of the many offerings they have instituted like Sunday/Mid-week offertories, special offerings, tithes, appeal for funds, “covenant offerings”, “first fruit offerings”, thanksgiving offerings, “annual harvest contributions”, church building offerings, Pastor’s appreciation offerings, Pastor’s car offerings, pastor’s birthday offerings, “all night service offerings”, “deliverance service offerings”, etc but only when a “member” who has fulfilled all those responsibilities dies or falls into some category of need. Then the Church says “where is your membership card and record of contributions?” Then they say “yes, we agree he’s been attending this Church for so long but because he’s not a “card-bearing” member, we are not obligated to do one, two and three”.

When the Pastor is so rich with material things but the members lack both material and spiritual things then something must be wrong? When after all those contributions or offertories the monies end up in buying private planes and jets to fly high in luxury, buying and riding exotic cars and living in expensive mansions when members live in abject poverty, then something must be wrong? When the monies are even used to build universities that are then priced so high members children themselves cannot afford; when the Pastor now preaches more motivational messages than salvation messages and more about how to make it in this life than how to make it to Heaven, must we start getting worried??

Well I don’t know. But I guess I could be right to say that there is an increasing perception among Church members that the Church is increasingly becoming unconcerned about their lives in the public sphere and only interested in their monies. Whatever they go through to make ends meet is no business of the Church but what they must give to the Church is what’s important to the Church. After all, the Pastor will find a way to tell you God will always provide even when you give all your money to Him every month and go home empty. And you must give because all the money you have belongs to God.

FB_IMG_1452766997194

Some say Churches now only command compulsory financial obligations and not willful giving. Some say the church is now so interested in money and profits that it’s a shame they even request two offertories at church wedding ceremonies of their own “members” and later give them some very meager amount as the church’s own donation because they are not “welfare contributors”. As if that is not “shameful” enough, the new trend is Churches collecting two offertories at funerals! Two offertories: one for the Church, one for the bereaved family. So funeral grounds are also now money making grounds for the Church?

Some say they can bet their lives that there can never be a “no offertory Sunday” ever in their Church and wonder if money making and profiting is not increasingly being the focus of the church, then why can’t that happen.

Some bemoan the “psychological methods” used by Pastors or Churches in extorting from members instead of biblical willful giving and the imposition of levies on members like in secular associations/organizations.

Some say they understand the Church has fiscal responsibilities but there’s a difference between the Church having fiscal responsibilities and the Church operating a business model and thus if we try to operate the Church as a business, we will find ourselves at odds with God’s design.

Again some have observed that the new trend is to find Pastors now preaching that complaining about giving to God (they mean themselves or the church they mismanage) or not giving to God so much that you feel it cost you like David did is a sin/unfaithfulness.

What’s true however (and perhaps the Pastor cares less about) is that, when people feel like they are only being used for their finances, they will eventually leave the Church. Trust me; it will not be hard to find that most highly successful (rich) church members share the sentiment that the only value their Pastors seem to place on them is the fact that their tithe pumps so much money into the Church or their pockets. There’s a reason why most billionaires either don’t go to Church or choose to give their tithes to foundations or non-profit charities they have created and the reason is simply the financial mismanagement of the tithe/monies by the Church, and the lack of accountability thereof. They wonder why they give millions to the Church yet the “food they have put in God’s storehouse” never feeds the poor, needy and deprived in the same Church they give to. They wonder why the Church will rather focus on building big edifices and holding wasteful programmes with the money and not feed the poor and needy in the Church instead.

What’s the calling of the Church again? I keep forgetting because all I keep seeing is Churches running like corporate businesses.

Well, I guess the line between church and business is too thin that it gets so confusingly messy! Whatever the case is, watch out for manipulative Churches and Pastors and don’t let the Church decide your destiny. The Church cannot take you to Heaven; only Christ will.

FB_IMG_1455263628391

My simple rule is: Don’t do Church; Do Christ!

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

Like, Comment, Share…and Subscribe!

Advertisements

Every girl lives for her wedding day

​”Every girl lives for her wedding day”???

Well, embrace your wedding day…prepare for it, celebrate it.

But after that few hours of fame, the spotlight on you will be gone forever…and the real work starts.

What’s scary?

Truth: “the first year of marriage is hard…really hard“.

And it’s even more when you don’t work at marrying somebody with similar goals, dreams and passions but rather in pursuit of the “soul mate” fantasy.

If only we (especially ladies) will think and prepare more for the marriage as we do for the wedding… like how we make sure, and spend sleepless nights planning for nothing to go wrong, a lot will change in marriages.

Why women especially? Because they are powerful stakeholders of the home. A lot depends on them; even though running the home is an equal partnership. 

~Credit: Frank Powell

 (Edited and expanded)
©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Lateness at our weddings

I had written this a long time ago but could not publish it because a couple of friends who got married around that time would have said it’s about them. Funny it is, but I have learned one thing in recent times that timing is very important even with publishing of my posts and I still have unpublished posts that are over a year old. So now that at least I know of no close friend whose invite I am honouring soon, I feel at liberty to publish this. Lol.

I thought the day and age where we used to keep people waiting hours at marriage and wedding ceremonies should have been long gone now but sadly it’s still with us. If there was any glamour in it in years past, my dear bride and groom, it’s no longer glamorous. The age we are in now, time is of big essence to throw away waiting for a bride and groom for hours. It adds no value to anybody’s life to have to wait hours for a marriage/wedding ceremony to start. It doesn’t make any bride or groom too any more valuable than they already are. If anything, it rather looks disrespectful of people’s valuable time and for you the bride and groom, it creates a bad image on you especially when you are of the educated or elite class.

Of course we all know sometimes things don’t go as planned and some unexpected stuffs can cause delays but seriously, for hours? Hell no! It’s unacceptable! Of course it’s your day and all your guests have put off important things for your sake just to show their love; but don’t take them for granted! It’s a choice you have to make way before the wedding day.

575088

In this part of our world where marriage is not just between bride and groom but a family affair, it makes it even more important that you accord a little bit of courtesy to important family members most of whom are way older than you that at least you should respect their time. It surely is very annoying when your entire family and important guests gather at the time you yourself has given them and now have to wait for you for hours!

Ok, we in this part of the world are never on time so that’s why if it’s supposed to start at 12pm you let your invite read every 10am? Oh come on! A few minutes late may be pardonable (doesn’t mean it’s encouraged), but not 2 hours late for God’s sake! But that’s what our educated brides and grooms are doing to us.

When I was getting married my wife and I agreed that we are educated and should not embarrass ourselves with excessive lateness. We were glad and even more put on edge when the presiding Pastor also stressed same to us during our last meeting with him a day before the event with the words “you guys are learned so don’t act otherwise and keep everybody waiting”. And he was glad after the ceremony that we did not disappoint him and all the people who had travelled from very far to honour us.

There were circumstances that could have made us late especially my camera man deciding not to show up on time. I remember leaving to the Church without him doing the coverage and sending strict instructions to my wife and the bridal team not to wait for him and that I would be so pissed if we had to go against our “no lateness” resolve because of him. Luckily, he was able to catch up with my wife and the bridal team on their way. So as it were, things didn’t go as planned and he couldn’t cover the dressing and preparations before the wedding as agreed and yet wanted to hold us against our resolve, demanding we wait for him. Annoyingly though he saw nothing wrong with it because according to him it is unusual for weddings to start almost on time and that almost all the weddings he has covered started at least an hour after start time.

photostudio_1476968558448

It is very unfortunate when at a wedding guests begin to make comments like “If I had known I would have taken my time and not come on time or at least eat before coming” just because by the time your reception starts (going by when programme was supposed to start), your guests would have been dying of hunger just because of that little cocktail or buffet. Of course a start time of 10am for a church wedding does not mean groom must be there exactly 10am because they arrive first (that will be great though) but both groom and bride not arriving so many minutes or hours beyond start time in my opinion is disrespectful of people’s time!

Well, maybe it’s just so ingrained in us that we just can’t help it. Then again I thought we only do that while here at home but no, we do it even when we are living abroad. I almost left a wedding of some friends when I was in the UK had it not being that it started to rain just about the time my patience run out. And the atmosphere in the Church that day and the embarrassing expressions of the Pastor, officiating ministers and the groom who had to wait hours for the bride (yet everybody switching to happy mood the moment bride finally entered as if they were not boiling and complaining moments ago) is one that I can never forget.

Shame on us!

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

Like, Comment, Share…and Subscribe!

Weddings

Many are ready for the wedding but not the sacrifices that come with marriage. All their preparations have been for the wedding ceremony…not for the journey of marriage.

The only times they have read or devoted serious attention to anything related to marriage was when they were planning the wedding. And if they be Christians, then the only times they have had marital counsel was during their premarital counseling or those rare times short marriage sermons came from the Church pulpit. Beyond these, they would have made no further efforts on their own to read, learn and acquire marital knowledge.

Preparations for a wedding and preparations for marriage are two different things, or are they not? One ends but one continues throughout the length of your lives together, or it’s not so? How can any serious business like marriage survive without good preparation and continuous acquisition of related knowledge? Or don’t they say to be forewarned is to be forearmed?

Yesterday I visited a family friend whose marriage had broken way before mine started. She’s way older than me. Apparently, I had once shared some marriage truths or knowledge with her and gave her some materials, videos, movies, etc. At a point in our conversations, she said something to the effect that she wished she had all those materials and information I gave her when she was still in her marriage and that all that knowledge that she has now would have helped her save her marriage. She bemoaned her ignorance at the time. I was sad for her but was still grateful for her comment.

She made me realize that knowledge is everything and that timing is important. Knowledge at the right time is powerful and life saving.

Nonetheless we are human and cannot know everything. And even if we do know everything, and have applied all that we know, we still have flaws and cannot save everything, marriage included (a failing relationship/marriage can only be saved when the two parties are willing). That’s where God’s super-duper Grace comes in! Grace…we all need it, for in the end, though knowledge be important, it’s not all about knowledge.

God help us and our marriages that we will not live life with a belly full of regrets!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

PS: Like, Comment, Share, and…Subscribe!

Image sources:
www.deviantart.com