Even though a lot of Nigerian preachers are trying to develop a thick skin to Daddy Freeze’s frequent whistle-blowing against the church, it has become very clear, that they are losing the battle as well as a lot of devoted followers. The average Pentecostal preacher, especially in Nigeria, is becoming a shadow of everything Christ exemplifies, from humility to selflessness. If the Pentecostal church does not move to redeem what is left of its image, in the next couple of years, a lot more believers will lose faith in Christianity and preachers would have successfully cleared more people’s path to hell than they will to heaven. The good ones left must begin to do things differently, especially when it comes to giving, tithing, offering, pledging or sowing seeds as some will like to call it.
In the past few weeks, popular On-Air Personality Daddy Freeze, convener of the #FreeTheSheeple movement has launched an offensive against a particular female preacher in Nigeria, Revd. Mrs. Funke Felix Adejumo, popularly known as Mama at her base in Akure, where she co-heads the Agape Christian Ministries with her husband, Bishop Felix Remi Adejumo.
Up until now, the woman of God has thrived on a good reputation she built for herself and her ministry, despite her very humble beginning in Akure, Ondo State capital. However, all those years of hardwork are now threatened by some money extortion controversies.
Although she wouldn’t be the first to be called out on the same allegation, circumstances surrounding her case are quite messy. The dimension this case has taken has left more people convinced that Funke Adejumo’s seed collecting antics, which is usually denominated in dollars, may not be based on spiritual instructions, but in a ploy to take advantage of miracle-savvy individuals who are desperately in need of some form of breakthroughs.
Funke Adejumo became famous for her Mothers’ Summit across Nigeria and other parts of the world, and her ministry has undoubtedly touched a lot of lives. She is also a regular at big Christian programmes across the country, especially in Lagos, where she single-handedly convenes a Winning Edge programme at TBS yearly.
At first, one would have easily waved Daddy Freeze’ allegations aside as malicious and in an attempt to score cheap points against Pentecostal preachers by picking holes in their messages as usual. Giving in church is something Freeze has spoken against at different occasions, name-calling the most feared preachers in Nigeria on issues relating to tithe and offerings, which he condemns as old testament practices. Nevertheless, even though Freeze is not an ordained pastor, he had lent his voice strongly to ‘liberating’ Christians blinded by Pentecostal doctrines and has assumed a position of authority on church-related affairs. On Funke Adejumo’s case, he started a series, and as at last count, he has posted eleven episodes of her calling for ‘seeds; at 11 different locations using similar lines like ‘I didn’t plan for this, but the Holy Spirit laid it in my heart….”
In the wake of the nasty episodes posted by Daddy Freeze, of Adejumo’s preaching, one could draw some reputation management lessons for the Pentecostal preacher in Nigeria, before Freeze opens all their can of worms.
- Transparency is non-negotiable
Preachers should be very clear if they need to raise funds for building projects or for prison visitation. The era of ‘Holy spirit is leading me …or the Holy Spirit told me so’ is gone. Be sincere and stop using spiritual blessings as bait. Giving to God is not merchandise; giving to humanity is God’s will. There is no need to paint blue black in a way that compels people to give. There is no word for that, but fraud.
- Engage in and Publicise your social investment activities
Today’s churches have become so blinded with expansion that they care less about the welfare of members or individuals in the communities where they exist. So, people begin to wonder, where all the money goes after it has been collected. Churches with preachers who attend free schools funded by missionaries now build schools that church members who live averagely cannot afford.
Churches must engage in and publicise the social investment activities as much as they publicise their conferences, conventions and other programmes. Christians have a responsibility towards society and this is fundamental to the life and mission of the Church. Jesus Christ fed people and if the tithe in the storehouse principles still applies, it is a provision for the needy and poor.
- Church accounts should be audited and available
Churches now need to become accountable. If you get money for good causes, you need to show the world how it was spent. Collections in churches are people’s sweat and churches should willingly be proud to account for it. Paul addresses this in 2 Corinthians 8:20-21 (NIV) when Titus is sent to receive the collection. Paul says: “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” The message version is clearer, it says, “We don’t want anyone suspecting us of taking one penny of this money for ourselves. We’re being as careful in our reputation with the public as in our reputation with God.”
Auditing gifts and offerings is a good way to communicate project outcomes to donors. Churches can also publish their annual reports on their websites or make it available to relevant stakeholders.
- You can raise funds without lying against the holy spirit
People gave their all in the bible willingly without bringing the Holy Spirit into it. Giving should be natural to someone who has been transformed in Christ. While the Holy Spirit speaks, why are all these preachers trying to grieve the same spirit? Not everything that you think about is a word from the Holy Spirit, sometimes our flesh, our greed, our emotions also speak to us.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:3 “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own”
- Christianity is not all about money
In today’s Pentecostal churches, inequality continues to thrive. Even the most devoted worker will never rise to the top without money to contribute to funding church projects. We live in a money crazy age and it should bother preachers more where people even get money from. Deuteronomy 23:18 says “You shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the LORD your God for any votive offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God.”
A lot of churches today are built with proceeds of fraud and corruption because preachers no longer care how people get the money. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matt 6: 24
- Being conservative is a godly virtue
Jesus commands the rich young ruler to sell all he has and give to the poor before becoming a disciple. However, Pentecostal preachers of today want to fly private jets using the church’s money. One may argue that a good preacher deserves a reward, but there is a problem is when the preachers begin to demand it.
Jesus came to this world, gave his all and left with nothing! Why are preachers trying to live in the fab lane? What exactly is the joy in being clothed in a Gucci regalia as a preacher of Christ? Why are today’s pastors so vain? Why do they bear the semblance of fraudsters and drug dealers, driving the most exotic cars and preaching about their good lives?
7. The fear of Daddy Freeze should be the beginning of caution. #Who’sNext?
I Timothy 6: 9-10 says “But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.”
So, maybe we should stop blaming Daddy Freeze for calling out these preachers, sooner or later those who toe the path of money will self-destruct. We do hope though, that Daddy Freeze’s crusade helps bring people more to God and not completely ruin them. Remember, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others, says Matt 7: 2.