Last week, the 100,000-seater Glory dome was dedicated in Abuja amidst various shouts of joy and happiness. However, the news did not go down well with some who think the billions of naira spent on the massive edifice should have been channelled to building of industries and factories as most Nigerians are without jobs. Don’t get me wrong; the church is already an employer of mass employment in Nigeria. Bishop Oyedepo is reputed to have about 50,000 people under direct employment. However we are looking at the effects of the massive criticism Nigerian churches have faced regarding building expensive churches and cathedrals amidst the teeming poverty population in Nigeria.
Though I don’t agree with this, (churches building more factories) because I think it is the duty of the Nigerian government to provide jobs, here are ten things that will happen if Nigerian churches start building industries instead of preaching the gospel!
1. They will be criticised: The fact remains, that no matter what you do, you cannot please everybody at the same time; some people will still be against you; and this is exactly what will happen if Nigerian churches bow to the pressure of building industries. People will come out and say things like “Why are you leading the congregation astray? Don’t you want them to make heaven? “You should build churches and give the people a good place to worship God” These statements and many more will abound if the Nigerian church actually start building industries.
2. Nigerian Government will become Lazier: Yes! Finally!! We have found someone that will do our jobs, all we have to do is carry out massive propaganda and keep the masses silent! Providing enough jobs has been something the Nigerian government has not been able to do for decades, majorly due to the in-depth corruption in the government. It will be answered prayers for them to get more corrupt when churches begin to build industries unless God touches their hearts to do otherwise. It can only take the hand of the almighty!
3. The Church Focus will be lost: The scriptures made it clear that Christ’s followers should go into the world and preach the gospel as recorded in Matthew chapter 28 verses 19. You can imagine a church solely focused on factories! Of course it won’t go down well with critics and besides the church will be ridiculed as a mere business enterprise.
4. The Church will be taxed: In Nigeria, religion bodies are not taxed. But if Nigerian churches start doling out factories instead of churches, the government will ensure they are taxed. This is true given the fact that billions will be freely flowing into the church.
5. More Employment: Sure, the unemployment rate in Nigeria will drop massively. Take a time and think of how it would be if Nigerian churches used the money meant for massive edifices and cathedrals to fund the building of factories! It will be really massive! But the question remains- What is the job if the Nigerian Government?
6. Unhealthy Competition: Due to the assumed fact that Nigerian churches now build industries, there will be a trending unhealthy completion by churches to outdo each other in building of factories or industries. Though with regards to the business world, this is a welcome idea; however it will not go down well with church leaders worldwide who will see this competition as a clear distraction from spiritual duties.
7. More Nigerians will become Christians: Take a look at the religion landscape in Nigeria; you will undoubtedly believe that the country is multi religious- divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims. Building factories by churches, (which is now a heated debate in Nigeria) will make Nigerians from other religions and beliefs to flock churches in a passionate bid to see that they are employed. Adversely, this will have a negative effect on the integrity some of these churches have already built.
8. Pastors will be richer: In the list of top ten richest pastors worldwide, a whooping five are Nigerians. This is not surprising because of the religious atmosphere in Nigeria. Building more factories/industries means more money will flow into the church and pastors will have more money.
9. Corruption Cases against Churches: Due to the fact that so much money will now be made by the church, corruption agencies like EFCC (Economic Financial Crimes Commission) will be keen to investigate churches and scandals could arise from such investigations. Leading to corruption cases opened up against the church and clergy.
10. Nigerian Government will become weaker: Currently, the Nigerian government slightly battles respect with religious bodies in Nigeria due to the fact that Nigerians are religious. In this, I mean most Nigerians prefer to obey religious leaders than the government. Doing the job of the government by building industries by churches will no doubt, snatch the little respect Nigerians have reserved for constituted authority; hence making the government weaker and less relevant.