THE TRAGEDY OF MISCONCEPTIONS
It breaks my heart whenever I hear the news that someone has left the ministry in which the person has served the Lord for over twenty years. I am a people person and I love to maintain the fellowship of brothers and sisters forever. Twenty years in a person’s life virtually define the most productive period of that person’s post college adult life. Something is definitely wrong when parting of ways have become common occurrences between leadership and follower-ship that has related together, for almost a quarter of a century.
When matters degenerate to the level of irreconcilable differences in a family, the prophesied love between father (leadership) and son (follower-ship) becomes questionable. I will continue to decry that the response of a faithful and diligent steward is not for him or her to abandon a system that operates in human errors. If people with experience, exposure and needed influence continue to leave, who will God use to wrestle His church from operators of rulers of synagogue? This is the albatross of many Pentecostal churches these days.
On the other hand, Leadership attitude of ‘whoever wishes to leave can leave’, is a sign of failure in travesty. It is totally condemnable and it runs contrary to the mind of God Who admonishes us to pursue peace with all men. “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14). If the truth be told, interface of agendas that have no tolerance for the plan and purpose of God, on both parties, usually result in parting of ways.
Christ went after a lost sheep. The father of the prodigal son celebrated the return of his son back home. Even God almighty invites His children to come and reason together with Him on discomforting issues. (Isaiah 1:18) These days we see many Christian leaderships anchor their systems at the confluence of theocracy and autocracy. They conveniently and interchangeably dance to the option that best fits their agenda as occasion demands. The consistent nature of God is characterized of influence, not control, and persuasion not coercion. When errors are not rectified but institutionalized in a system, that system runs the risk of running aground.
There is a misconception that needs to be corrected when people leave a particular ministry to start their ministry. Some people are wont to ask the question, “Did he go with the property?”. The answer is, should the property be the concern here, or the souls under the departing pastor?
When a congregation agrees and works together with their pastor to buy a property for the convenience of their worship and services to the Lord; and the group carry the burden of financing the project under the leadership of their pastor; if and when the pastor decides to leave, and the congregation agrees to go with him, to remain under his pastoral nurture, it stands to reason that the property belongs to the congregation under the leadership of the departing pastor.
If on the other hand the congregation refuses to go with him, then a severance package should be negotiated and agreed with the pastor. In this case the congregation can continue to lay claim on the ownership of their property after adequately remunerating the services and rewarding the contribution of the pastor for the number of years he has served the mission. Unfortunately, the tragedy here is that many Pentecostal churches do not even have a Department of Human Resources, hence the lack of direction. The IRS law in the USA permits transference of property from one nonprofit organization to another.
Yes, some people will always argue that the property belongs to God. The departing pastor and the congregation under him have not left the faith. They have not converted to another faith. They are still children of God and therefore qualify to continue to enjoy the benefits of their labor under God, for as long as they operate the doctrine of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. To say a pastor has carried a church away is a misconception of the highest order. No Christian leader is carrying any church building to heaven.
It is high time we Christian leaders shift our focus from mundane things like buildings, properties, worldly investments, and engage our primary focus on souls. No building, no property, no instrument of money in any form, will be raptured. Let us therefore set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)
PRAYER 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.“
Father, give me the grace to focus on things eternal and cause me not to perish like Lot’s wife with the works that will burn up on earth.
Psalms 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit., AMEN
Dr. 'Niran Fafowora