Let’s do a quick analysis on something. If you can, take a second and recall how many churches are in your neighborhood as against mosques. How many churches are in the whole vicinity/hood/town/junction/estate/village as against mosques? Good! Now how many theology colleges do we have in Ghana and how many graduates each year are poured into the system? How many of these graduates are heading churches? How many church owners are graduates of theology colleges? Or can we resort to saying, when “God calls you, you build a church” ? The modern church is producing passionate people with empty heads who love the Jesus they don’t know very well. The christian faith is not wild emotionalism and sensationalism, it’s head knowledge plus worship. You can’t worship correctly what you don’t know very well. A christian must be a sound theologian and an apologist. Our worship shouldn’t be about making sure people feel a certain way, but by a faithful communication and delivery of God’s truth to God’s people. Theology matters. Modern church focuses on filling churches with people, the true gospel emphasizes filling people with God.
Before you come and rain down tongues or invoke the Holy Spirit to consume me and show me great and unsearchable things i do not know about, I am proud to say that i am a Christian too- A bible teaching , tongue speaking one for that matter. I am just not happy about the way we tend to hide behind anointing and portray mediocrity. God deserves some respect and perfection. The anointing and Holy Spirit we gain during baptism and repentance, isn’t an excuse to suspend our brains. Inasmuch as we’re spiritual beings, we live in the physical and so we need to use our physical brains to get physical things done physically. We tend to be so spiritual that we neglect the physical. A false balance is an abomination onto God.
Isn’t it alarming, how the actions of churches are affecting society negatively yet everyone sweeps it under the carpet for fear of being labelled “demon” or “witch” ? Isn’t it funny, how churches preach virtue but indirectly or directly practice vice? Oh, you want me to outline them? thank you, i was waiting for that.
1. Churches are noisemakers.
Churches are noted for heavy instrumentation and services that can vibrate the whole neighborhood. It’s even scary to see how small the number of congregants are in some churches, yet they mount heavy duty sound systems meant for stadiums, just for their get-together services. Something in-house gets to disturb the whole neighborhood. Most times, it even looks like a competition especially when the churches are close by. Each one wants to attract more people to their church and so they raise the volumes of their sound systems to the max. Imagine if your house is situated in between two churches. Sleep deprivation is one of your biggest challenges. If you have a baby, a new one, then that is hell for you. As for the effects, Your guess is as good as mine. And woe betides you if you try to plead for some silence. You’re there and then labeled as the devil’s incarnate. Yet Christians have the effrontery to complain that the Muslims’ call to prayer is noise pollution.
2. Churches exploit.
There have been many cases of how people went to “sow” into the lives of pastors, or contributed to welfare, or paid their tithes, or were very instrumental in the growth and development of the church and yet were denied of certain privileges when it was their turn to enjoy. Typically, i heard of a case in which the guy was an usher of the church, He had ushered in there for over 5 years. He was selfless in his servitude and very humble. He was noted to smile to strangers and members alike. He was just too good a man. Until it was time for his wedding. Usually it is expected that some people who have contributed to church growth would get to use the auditorium for free or probably just cater for the cost of generator logistics and sound engineering. NO! This guy had to pay for the full rental cost of using the church auditorium. What hurt him the most is, when it is time for external events including known celebrities whether Godly or not, Christian or not, the church can easily decide to give the auditorium out for free, just like that. He knows this because he’s been contacted to mobilize ushers for those kind of upcoming events, lots of which they are not paid anything substantial or nothing at all – the usual pie and Muscatella. Yet he’s been diligent in his servitude. A lot of people can testify. But for how he’s served all these years only to be given this kind of treatment, he had no love left for the church. And he left that church to date as i type this ,as you read this . Other cases are typical where in-house musicians are almost always expected to be present at gatherings and even external events which do not even matter to them. Their compensation – pie and muscatella or the usual “God bless you”. Yet Churches pay 3rd parties who came to do what they the singers did. Are they better? Are they more human? Or they didn’t spend that same time and resources? Yet this is happening in the church. Other issues have come up with how people were denied financial support even for surgery all because they missed out on paying tithes. The list can go on and on.
3. Churches extort.
In a year, there can be many revivals, thanksgiving, retreats, camp meeting, welfare, etc. Each of this events or gatherings will attract offertory. There are even fundraising events too, not to forget. Let’s not pretend we don’t know what goes on during fundraising events. At times it looks like all the church needs is money, money, money. I don’t have an issue with coming together to facilitate a project and hence fund it. Far be it from that. My issue has to do with how we categorize giving and match them with expected blessings. It’s so sad. So those that cannot give out the 10,000gh they won’t be blessed? or can’t be blessed ? Why is the church selling God’s place in the lives of man? It’s even worse when it comes to consultations and souvenirs. We all know how much some churches sell “anointing oil”, protective stickers, posters, Bibles, devotionals etc. With the protective stickers, it baffles my mind, your pastor has 4 bodyguards over him all the time, yet you’re certain his sticker can protect you? All these money collections go on and on, and some church leaders only use it to lavish around – buying cars, houses, holidays, lands, etc. Yet there are some people in the church who cannot afford even a meal a day. How do these people give? How do they get blessed ? If this isn’t extortion, then i don’t know what is.
4. Churches don’t pay taxes.
Per my research, about 70% of churches in Ghana do not pay tax. I’m open to corrections if you know otherwise. You may think churches are not making money but if a church accommodates 2000 people and each person pays 100gh averagely on a Sunday, that church is making 200,000gh at a sitting. Multiply this by 4 weeks in a month. Multiply this by all the church-able weeks in a year, don’t forget to add the revivals, thanksgiving, fundraising, camp meetings, training school, bible study, and all those gatherings that monies are collected. Now you’re getting an idea of how much churches are making averagely. Some of us have been privileged to see bullion vans come carry church money away. To be honest it isn’t carried in wallets and library files. It is carried in travelling bags and jute bags. So you know. Yet these churches dont pay taxes. Imagine if churches are taxed, I’m sure the proceeds can complete a transnational railway system to curb transportation issues. That money can go a long way to improve livelihoods through some hospital or accommodation projects Yet, we’re here. We pay taxes, they don’t. Yet we pay them at the end of the day, again.
Constitutional Fact: like every person in Ghana (natural or corporate) if a church derives an “asses-sable income” (i.e. income from a business, employment or investment accruing in, derived from, brought into, or received in Ghana) that church is expected to pay income taxes. And, the incomes of church workers, including pastors, are all subject to our income tax laws. What churches (actually, all “religious bodies”) do not pay taxes on are the tithes and offerings, classified as “gifts” under the law. But that tax exemption is subject to the condition that the religious body uses the gift “for the benefit of the public or a section of the public.” Thus if the religious body uses the gift for private purposes (eg Pastors’ Appreciation Day), the exemption does not apply. But similarly exempt are gifts (i) obtained under a will or intestacy, (ii) received from a spouse, child, parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, or niece, or (iii) for charitable purposes. The policy considerations are the same
5 Churches don’t have accreditation.
A lot of churches do not have accreditation. It looks like there isn’t any body to regulate that. I say this because the National Christian Council has overlooked a lot of things such that, now it is hard to acclaim they are the body governing some of these issues. Even Ghana Baptist Convention has Baptist churches who claim they are not directly under the Convention. To what reason, we barely know. With these issues, anybody at all can get up and plant a church. Today you’ll pass in the hood, it is silent. The next day, you’ll hear praise and worship and that will be a new church. They don’t mind setting up in the forecourts of a compound house. It is a new church. I’ve heard interesting comments like “you don’t need too much to set up a church nowadays. Just a keyboard, some microphones or megaphones, some three benches and some women, that’s all”. Who governs them? Who ensures they follow protocols? There’s literally no one looking into that. And for a greater number of believers, once you’re able to direct the cause of their failures in life to some old woman in the village, you’ve won their admiration already, if you have a church, that’s all you need to get them following you like ducklings after the mama duck.
6. Churches are bias.
There have been many cited scenarios of how people were turned down certain opportunities with shoddy excuses. Yet others were given those same opportunities. The difference being , they are children of deacons, ministers, pastors, elders, etc and we are just common floor members. So sad how far and deep favoritism and nepotism has seeped into the organizational structures of our churches. Even to the detriment of deserving people.
7. Churches are judgmental.
We were all around when Daddy lumba visited a church and was allowed to mount the podium, to sing or give remarks. He did what he could. Rumours were that, he’s ungodly. He’s a man with locks and piercings. Why should he be allowed to stand on holy grounds? And a whole lot. Other instances saw a young drummer who’s also also footballer and had on some of those locks and dreads footballers love to have on their heads. A very talented drummer who wanted to drum and contribute to beautiful church experience was sacked from stage and thrown out of the premises. His crime -he’s different. The list can go on and on.
These are a few notable and worrisome aspects i’d touch on. The church was instituted for many good objectives. But unfortunately the modern church is either swaying away from those or has already lost it’s cause. The Christ we know brought the Word to us, fed us and provided for us. The modern pastor expects that you come to him for the Word, when you’re done, you feed him and provide for him. Churches with all their money cannot work on community projects but will always wait on government to come help out, yet they spend millions of dollars on websites and mobile apps with payment plans for tithes and offerings. I doubt churches accept goats and cows as offerings lateedern Christians judge other Christians for sinning differently. If your blood cannot wash away sins, you have no audacity to judge. Well, the ball is in our courts. If the church knows better like it claims, then it should simply do better!