Church has been used as euphemism for religion, the writer has chosen the Church because it is what he understands; however, Church, religion and faith are used interchangeably.
One thing Nigeria has over the West is our spiritual culture, it is a strength that we can exploit to make us a world power.
We Nigerians are the perfect picture of Pitirim Sorokin’s qualities of a spiritual culture where “mysticism and revelation are considered valid sources of truth and morality, where “science and technology are comparatively de-emphasized and economics is conditioned by religious and moral commandments and all those things”1. We would rather go to Church crusades than to protests. We are more likely to give or “sow into” the Church than we are to pay taxes.
Because spirituality – this belief in an unseen Deity, in this case Jesus Christ – sits at the root of our culture, our churches have prospered. Churches now build autonomous cities and large conglomerates, complete with banks, hospitals, universities, housing estates, industries and so on. Churches are building cathedrals and planting new parishes from the giving of members not bank loans. Today Deeper Life Bible Church can afford to build a bridge to ease traffic for its proposed church building. Summarily, we can agree that the Church in Nigeria has been largely successful because unlike the West who believe in the power of the senses and their ability, we believe in a Creator who runs the universe. Having said that I must say that I am very interested in how we can exploit our natural belief in a Creator and in Church to bring about sustainable national development because no development is sustainable without the building block called culture.
We believe in the Spiritual, it defines our Culture, and Culture defines our development
As a nation, we should take notice of the evolution of church teaching from purely holiness to this hybrid of holiness & prosperity. We should take notice of how the early Nigerian Church’s missionary strategy of education educated our earliest graduates. We must also take notice of the contemporary Church’s new foray into career counselling, leadership training, skills acquisition and financial empowerment. We must use these hints the Church has given us. Just as the Covenant Christian Centre’s annual Platform event has shown us the link between faith, the economy and politics for over a decade, Nigeria is almost ready to evolve into the realm of Sorokin’s idealistic culture where we balance faith and reason: where the sensory, rational, and super sensory are interwoven, where science, philosophy, and theology blossom together, where our art and architecture treat both super sensory reality and the noblest aspects of sensory reality.
We must quickly do away with the idea that the Church is just for revelation or that it is just a building. We must see the Church as an agent of change a la Dr Martin Luther King Jr and now Tunde Bakare. In the words of Dapo Akintunde we need to see Church as an agent for a self-sustaining economy and for building industries.
We need a new type of Church
Like Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping, we need to evolve the meaning of Church into movements. For if through the giving of members, Winners Chapel will build a 100,000-seater Faith Theatre then we should harness our strengths as a Church of Development to build and assist specific industries that may turn Nigeria into a world power. For instance, our tithing can become a national health insurance fund to cater for Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths. We can have Church ministries or departments that are geared towards organising, building and supporting industries that are our strengths, those industries that can turn us from a developing nation into a world power e.g. Solar Energy, Football, Music, Nollywood, Owambe and Herbal Medicine (not witchcraft).
Like the ambitious vision of RCCG overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye to have a church within 5 minutes of every person on Earth, we must rethink Church as outpost-cum-hubs: where a coterie of services such as: emergency response, Wi-Fi and trains are within 5 minutes of every Nigerian.