It is always funny and annoying sometimes that every time we have to rant about clergymen living or spending lavishly
we always narrow the argument down to an attack on tithe and offerings or those that try to pay it faithfully and diligently in disguise of an attempt to educate or liberate them. ..then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
The fact is an average registered and regular Nigerian church goer does not pay his/her tithe faithfully, say maximum 60%, I am saying this base on my personal experience and closeness to the altar couple fo times. You can also verify this if you are close to your church finance committee (if you have one) or if you have the time to go to your church monthly, quarterly or annual report meetings (if your church does have one already) as the case may be.
Paying Tithe is solely based on belief and more like a contract between you and your God, not you and your pastor and the benefits are more than and not solely financial prosperities which we always overemphasize around here (maybe due to our economic situation). If you don’t believe in it, don’t pay it.
I am yet to meet any faithful tithe payer complaining about how his/her tithe is being spent and I have also met quite a number of non-tithe payers who are financially doing fine. You don’t need to be a tither to be monetarily rich, you don’t even need to be a Christian. There are succinct non-tithe related, biblical and non-biblical principles that guide one as regards being rich, diligence is just one of the many. If you are paying your tithe solely because of financial breakthrough, I will say you are doing it wrong. Also, the modalities of where and how to pay your tithe and offerings are well stated in the Bible. Still not sure whether paying tithe is biblical or not? Read your bible, pray for guidance from the holy spirit.
HOW COME THEY HAVE OR MAKE SO MUCH MONEY? FROM WHERE?
Some clergymen do get quite handful amount disguised as “blessings or rewards” from outsiders who might have come for spiritual guidance or assistance, based on recommendations from someone who have had an earlier successful encounter with the “man” or from a church member and they tend to reward the clergyman afterwards for his supposed successful intervention. Whatever proceeds come out of this, is for the clergyman and not for the church. I will say a clergyman will get more of this based on his audience, strategy and anointing.
I have observed this one long enough and I think it generally fits in with our ego as Nigerians: always looking for an avenue to show-off. I am not saying this is bad or not, each man to his own. All I am saying is people then to answer a public (altar) call for donation/giving which are mostly handful with or without any “emotional” exercise from the clergyman than a secret one where people will arguably not notice the donor/giver. Proceeds from this too rarely go into the church account unless clearly stated that is a church project which might also be a deciding factor in determining the level/type of emotional gymnastics.
This affects clergyman generally who are rewarded when invited to outside programs like Bible study, conventions, revivals and the likes and I don’t think most of them do reject it nowadays which is also fine and can be quite handful. This also encapsulates respected church workers e.g. Instrumentalist, Teachers and Deliverance ministers and it has nothing to do with the church account but the personal purse.
Also, just like any human being, quite a number of clergymen have their personal ventures which they run and through which they make additional income. Some are prolific writers, teachers and speakers and this is their money and not that of the church.
I support taxing:
- for-profit ventures of churches or any religious setup e.g. Educational Institutions, Consulting arms, Sports Institution e.t.c because they are business regardless of who runs them.
- Clergymen with a notable and regularized income because they are not different from regular tax paying person.
- For-profit ventures of clergymen (this I think they do already, not too sure).
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU:
- If you are not comfortable with the lifestyle of your pastor, you can change your worship centre. Your aim is to worship God and not your pastor.
- You are free to criticize your(any) Pastor’s lifestyle but not Tithe (since they are arguably not feeding-off it as argued ) nor the faithful payers. Most of the prominent pastors supposedly living large are arguably doing so mostly through personal incomes but not limited to the aforementioned ones.
- To ask your pastor or church committee to start giving out general reports (finance inclusive) monthly, quarterly or annually as best suited.
- To ask your church to constitute a finance committee if you don’t have one yet, this will help everyone to be more accountable.
The state needs to come up with a structure to tax as much as possible these high-earning clergymen just like it will tax any high-income earners. It might be difficult to achieve as this is a subset of a larger state system or structural failure and some of these incomes routes are passive.
My argument, in conclusion, is, therefore, that, if every faithful church member stops paying tithe and offerings today (the regular victim of our rant), that will not stop our clergymen from making money and inadvertently spending lavishly.
…the argument of whether clergymen are supposed to morally or rightfully live largely will be for another day after all “dey sef, dey be human beings”