It all boils down to pastors (part 1)
Recently, I was visiting with a friend in a city in North-Eastern Nigeria, and he was telling me of his experiences at work. He works for the state government and was seconded to an internationally funded project from his office. This project was to take them to various communities to embark on several water, sanitation and hygiene projects. Nearly half way into the project when all field work was done and funding was to start, all the Christians on the project were dropped and the new boss replaced them with Muslims, even when the newly replaced team members were not half as qualified as the former. My friend lamented this development and pointed out worrying facts around this pattern that seems to be fast becoming normal. The normal trend is that when these projects are being executed even though with government or foreign aid funds, mosques are being built and Islamic schools are being established to spread Islam alongside the originally intended projects. Communities can be pointed out where Islam came in at about the same time as development or government intervention. It is very regrettable that the average Muslim takes it as an obligation to use his position or influence even as a public officer to spread Islam. So what’s wrong with Christians in positions of influence who are very concerned about playing it safe and even make deliberate attempts to hide their faith and not mingle it with work?
The concluding observation is that as soon as a Muslim is appointed into a position, he is quickly reminded by his religious leader that he was appointed into that position by Allah in order to use the influence to spread Islam. He therefore takes it as an obligation to use all and every means to spread the faith. So what happens when Christians are appointed into or eventually attain positions of high influence and authority where they can make significant contributions to the expansion of the Gospel? Doesn’t anyone call them to inform them or to periodically remind them to make the best use of their time and influence for Jesus? Though they go to church every week, what do they get to hear there that they are so at ease and don’t even seem to be compelled by any sense of urgency or obligation? I came to the simple conclusion that it all boils down to pastors. Our generation is heavily deficient of pastors who will serve as guides to help everyday Christians do what they need to do and be kingdom minded in every area of their lives. Those are the kind of pastors we need. Not pastors who are focused on the tithes and offerings that these newly appointed “big shots” can bring in, and thereby making them the chairmen of every fund raising or project committee in church. Once the pastor understands that his role is to help the people become who God wants them to be, and the focus stops being about his local church but about the kingdom, pastors can empower their people to become God’s ambassadors out there in the world.
If our nation and world must change, the men and women who are the salt and light of the earth need to recognize their identities and strategic roles in the various places where they have been planted. Sadly, many people are unable to unravel these for themselves, and that is one major reason why every man needs a true pastor. Pastors have the privilege to speak into the lives of people on a weekly basis. That’s an amazing opportunity. The average Christian is likely to take whatever his pastor tells him seriously. One pastor who knows what he is doing is an entire congregation on fire for the Kingdom. So imagine what will happen to a city if all the pastors in that city were on the same page with God.
Oh that God will give us such pastors after His heart