BY Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh
This is a really dicey question; the kind that normally attracted the two sides of humanity – criticism or praise. Despite so, my answer is and has always being a straight NO, HE IS STILL GOD’S SERVANT and I’ll tell why. I have come to discover that 85% of why pastors are criticized was because of misdemeanors and actions that had something to do with failure in successful human management.
For one, I think it is ludicrous to continue to live with the mindset that a pastor’s failure in human management was really good enough reason why they should be criticized. This is because human management was one thing and proclaiming the gospel was another thing and, proclaiming the gospel is not a call to human management. Most people are emotionally confusing themselves with a sentiment they attach that for one to be called ‘pastor’ was for one to be a good manager of men.
By human management, I mean to describe those Christians who want to be told by their pastors to support their aged parents – for instance – before they did. Those who want to hear from their pastor before they washed their husband’s cloth. Those who want to hear from their pastor before they could vote or pay their tax. Those who want to hear from their pastor before they can purchase a field.
A point came in the relationship between God and man that God had to declare that he was no longer interested in striving with man. If God himself gave up in the attempt to manage man in his ‘fallen state’; who are we to think that we could succeed in human management? Why do we criticize those who are occupied with divine assignment? Where did you read that their call included managing men?
Jesus never commanded anyone to manage men. He only said ‘Go into the world and make disciples of all nations…’ How are we expected to make those disciples; as in what manual are we to use in the training? We are to use the Holy Scriptures and point every convert to the things Jesus said and did especially the way he conducted self during his earthly ministry.
I have never seen one chapter or verse of scripture that said or commanded anything on human management. The Holy Spirit is the One that had that responsible to convict men of their sinful ways and then to direct them in line with the Holy Bible. Recall what Jesus said that one should not judge so that one will not be judged.
Now, here is the shocker: We all are quite incapable of managing our fellow men and this is the reasons we are told by the great philosopher who once said – change yourself if you want to change the world. Many Christian have backslidden from the faith after they become disenchanted, bitter and betrayed by a pastor. The popularity of the likes of Daddy Freeze today is a testimony of the shallow knowledge that many folks possessed.
They blamed pastors for failing to treat them well without realizing that a pastor may offend another member in his bid to treat another well. So pastors are never called to manage men but to guide them aright. Pastors – on the other hand – must also understand the limit of their divine assignment and when they did, they will find out that all their assignment entailed was for them to manage themselves in such a way that their lives was gospel to the members.
Let your light so shine that men will see it and give glory to God. It is not the jurisdiction of a pastor to advice or counsel a member but it is certainly their assignment to guide a member in line with the scripture. To tell a spinster or a bachelor who to and who to not marry is wrong. God last chose a wife for Adam and after him, man was required to find his wife.
A pastor can mediate in husband and wife quarrel by pointing the couple to the scripture. He is not the adviser to the husband except to offer wise suggestions which the man could act on with or without the input of his wife. But when a man does a transaction on the express urging of his pastor and fails; he directs his anger to the pastor when he should’ve only asked: Is my pastor a businessman or a property agent or stock broker?
I doubt that not a few of us remembered what St. Paul said when he made it clear that God does not tempt any man but that it was man who fell into temptation because of greed. How well things would’ve been if we knew scriptures. Man is created with a will and that made him responsible for managing self. The one man that asked for an understanding heart from God so that he could manage men ended up not being able to manage self and, that led him astray.
I once wrote an article where I talked about the good works of Pastor Enenche and why it was necessary that he exposed those who criticized The Dome church to relevant scriptures and quench every argument with it. What I have come to know is that men have misunderstood the scriptures and therefore thought of our pastors as a class of creatures that are incapable of making mistakes or pursuing their desires. They fail to understand that it takes a heart of love to build that kind of giant structure for the Lord.
So they found faults with building a church cathedral and argue that such monies should’ve gone into industrialization or poverty alleviation. Then the pastors reacted against such obnoxious argument instead of taking time to enlighten critics. This I see as confirming instead of contradicting the critics that a pastor is a manager of men. He is a pastor or what the Greek word called ‘Shepherd’.
Check your bible and you’ll see that Jesus only conducted himself according to scriptures but never claimed equality with God. When he was found with a Samaritan woman by the well, he did nothing but wait for things to take the natural cause. If it was a pastor today, he would’ve – in a bid to prove his innocence – raised suspicion instead. The Great Commission is simple and it does not say for a pastor/Christian to qualify as manager of men.
People only brought head and heart arches to themselves when they thought that they could manage men. I do not mean to say that a pastor was now licensed to act as he/she so wanted. No. A pastor must be mindful of the import of his image in public eyes. I am reacting to what is now becoming ideological: THE TREND OF CRITICIZING PASTORS.
It helps to know that even though this class of persons is engaged in divine projects; they do not fit in to what many presume they are. That is to say, they do not know the heart of man to the point that they can judge and not act amiss. Neither are they so good that they can not falter. One pastor I recently met would repeat over and over again that he was human after all said and done. In other words, he is not perfect.
But he does not seem to me as one who wanted to be perfect. An amount of money which I was to give to him had already come to him via my wife and I met and gave him this amount without knowing that my wife had already done so on my behalf. Himself did not bother to tell me that he’d already received this sum before and, for a while I was angry for that conduct but then I realized that he was after all human.
Ascribing a nature he did not yet have to him because he is pastor was an error on my part. So since he knows he is not perfect, it is his job to strive to enter into the kingdom or be left out in the end. This is the reason I believe to be responsible for the confrontation that Simon Peter got from Paul as illustrated in the bible. Peter ate with the Gentiles and when in company of the Jews he wouldn’t do the same.
He was conscious of self because he felt it was his duty to manage men. Men-of-God are not managers of men. Jesus only said to ‘feed my flocks’. A shepherd only takes his livestock to find grass and not to help them defecate or to drink water. Pastors must realize that they are as human as everyone of us. But the call is about fishing for men and; then provide mentorship by letting their own godly lives to speak.
If I must say anything new, I’ll want it to be that ministers of the gospel must be mindful of their destination after death as well as the destinations of those they led to Christ. They can achieve this easily when they let themselves understand the limits of their call and then reject any attempt to equate self with God. An ambassador is only a rep and never the president. Jesus said “No one is good except God.”
For finals: critics of pastors – Daddy Freeze included – are in error if they continued to criticize. If you have trusted your pastor out of some selfish reasons; your anger against such a pastor only goes to show that you trusted man and not God. Men will fail you but God can never fail you. Men will falter but God never falters. Men will betray men’s trust but God never betrays. You pastor has not failed in God’s sight because he failed you!
Comrade Mmoh, an advocate for attitudinal change is the author of The Origin Of Igbo Marginalization In Nigeria