“There has to be more to this” he thought.
Between the monotony of snoozing his alarm at quarter to 6am each morning for family devotions and the domestic drudgery of having to press 30 yards of clothes on saturday nights ahead of the seventh day of rest spent laboriously at church, Selorm needed to discover the motivation behind all of these.
It did not help that he could never defend his faith whenever religion experienced a crown of thorns and nails on the cross of Twitter. On this particular night, he knew he would either end up as Paul who fought for the Gospel - or as Saul, at whose feet religious apostates could leave their coats and pick up stones to assassinate Christianity.
Through a series of questions, this Generation Z member sat with his father to seek answers to his many questions. His father who is described by the prayer team leader (who sounds like GTV on a drizzling day) as a seasoned man of God, had been a pastor even before Selorm was an idea to his parents. He also hoped that through these Q&A sessions with Selorm, both their faiths would be increased...
Selorm: Papa, a lot of times we hear of many evil things done by pastors, the so-called men of God. Why do they think it is alright to be worshipped while taking advantage of the poor people that follow them?
Father: Our men of God are to be esteemed but let us not forget that they are first of all, Men and Men make mistakes. It’s sad but not surprising that Satan has groomed so many false preachers that the integrity of men of God is generally so badly tainted!
However, even the most genuine Man of God is not above error and mistake. Thus, as believers, we haven’t been called to ‘worship’ these vessels. We respect and honour them, yes but canonise or ‘goddify’, no!
Unfortunately, many preachers have painted an all too glorious picture of themselves. A picture that shows no dark colours or erroneous brush strokes; a picture of absolute perfection. Many people, thus tend to view our preachers and pastors as people who can in no way err. So they are taken aback in the event that a Man of God falls.
It is also disappointing to hear people slander men of God because of these ‘errors’ they have made in speech or in act.
People are already lying in wait to shoot the first arrow to assassinate the personality of a preacher. Inasmuch as this shouldn’t be the case, people will always remain people.
As followers, ours is not to religiously defend our Heads or Men of God when they err but to pray for them since they’re also undergoing perfection and training by God Himself. We must realise that they are men subject to like passions. The gospel is no less true because of my imperfections than it is because of theirs. Everything you are vulnerable to, your pastor too is. They’re not exempt from temptation. Jesus was tempted in EVERY SINGLE way! Your Spiritual Growth should be your responsibility.
Selorm: Alright, if that is the case, then isn't God to be blamed? Why will a perfect God entrust flawed “vessels” with such lives and responsibilities ?
Father: He already answered that when He said He would use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. God expertly uses unconventional means to exhibit His Glory. He used a carpenter to foster-father the Saviour of the world.
He used a murderer to lead the exodus of Israel.
He used a serial woman-thirsty king to bring peace to Israel.
He used a wicked lawyer to write almost half of the New Testament.
“God’s methods are men”
It’s ironic! but the truth is God places treasures in the weakest of earthen vessels. The actual rendering puts it as “the most breakable of earthen vessels so that the glory of power will not be attributed to man”. Clearly, we see the glory of God when someone who we expected nothing of, does wonderful acts. It's the glory of God to so lavishly pour out His love on men undeserving. It's a thing called grace.
Regardless... It's no excuse for us (ministers) not to grow up into the head (Christ) in all things. We should all be responsible for our own Christian growth.
We are all growing. So is the pastor you hold in high esteem. Unfortunately, Some of them act as though they have finished growing and that gives us a distorted image of who they really are away from the stage and microphone. Maybe we should take away the stage and then they would stop acting.
When men of God come out to say things like ‘I have not sinned in the last 5 years, they create a dangerous expectation for themselves’. It may be true that they have overcome certain sins but let’s all be careful to work out our salvation.
Our very lives as a ministry, will tell you that you may have been heavy in sin or transgression and still done mighty works for the Lord. Many people have been blessed by our messages and events but even in the midst of all the anointing, there is a spirit called ‘Judas’ that we must be wary of. So the Bible admonishes each of us go about our salvation with fear and trembling. There’s a tendency to forget these very things as you rise in ministry, it is easy to forget that some of these verses still apply to you.
Selorm: So how do you encourage a person to still attend church when he doesn’t see the life of the preacher being transformed?
Father: It is almost impossible to change a person's mind. That is why even God goes for the heart and then encourages us to renew our minds ourselves. So raising arguments and debate points may not do much. The person needs to understand that the church is a place where imperfect people are perfected; From the head pastor to the newest member. God is working on all of us. So your primary focus is to look to Jesus and view the church and the pastor as agents of change, not the sources of change.
Honestly, some churches are worse than others in certain regards. Find a church where you are not totally put off. Accept and accommodate their humanity just like you accept or accommodate your own. Expectation is the root of all disappointments.
Go to the church only seeking God and His word. The very first church was led by flawed men; Jesus’ disciples. Some with horrible backgrounds like Matthew the tax collector. All through scripture we see their obvious flaws.
Peter had serious issues; from anger to doubting on the water to denying Jesus. Yet he was one of the people Jesus appointed after fasting and praying. Even Paul, the great Apostle expresses his flaws and chains in his letters. These human errors really did have an impact on their churches. Some people became offended, others fought them but we must understand that the leader’s salvation is his concern.
Find a Church whose teachings are sound and whose humanity you can bear as you seek spiritual nourishment and edification.
The humanity of the pastor or leader is not the reason you should give up the chance to be transformed. Consider that if you are being changed by the body of Christ, your pastor is being changed too.
It’s beautiful to practice what you preach. The Bible tells us to. However, the mere fact that a person doesn’t practice a particular thing He speaks of doesn’t make it less true .
It may sound cliche but sick people going to the hospital being used as an analogy of the church seems accurate. Do you know the number of doctors who are hypertensive and are prescribing antihypertensives for others?
A pastor is just one vessel in God’s grand scheme. There are many others God is using. Just like it is in the system of health delivery. We have the nurses, pharmacists, doctors etc. The nurse may not know it all, the doctor may not too. We all look up to Jesus! Maybe if we understood how much work God has done on the heart of a person, we’d appreciate the progress even more. What we see is the now. what we may not know is the ‘then’. We all are to grow! God wants us to grow! The standard is Christ! A pastor who is not growing is not going anywhere, same for a believer.
Selorm leaned back in the emerald green chaise longue in his father’s study as he contemplated his father’s responses. He still was not completely convinced. He sat up once more to continue his interrogation when he heard a thud followed by his middle name “agbemakplido” in the shrill voice of his mother that always made the hair on his arms stand. It could only mean one thing; It was saturday night and the next day was God’s designated day of rest. Maybe one day, his folks would understand what that means...
Conversation by Team Perfection (Teleios Inc.) compiled by Safo Akonnor
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