Wednesday, 17 October 2012
How to be a Nigerian Pastor - by Segun dada
Being a Nigerian pastor is easy. If this were a book, it will probably be a best-seller because of the spate at which churches spring up at the slightest opportunity in Nigeria. Opportunities are vast and since Nigerians need something to believe in, this “trade” will always sell…. At least, till Jesus comes!
The following are steps to follow to be a Nigerian pastor. If these steps are followed religiously, you will not only become rich, you will become extremely powerful. You will be worshiped, adored and people will fall over themselves to get your attention. Politicians will fall on their knees and beg you to lay hands on them! Yes! You will be that powerful.
1. It doesn’t matter what you were or used to be, it doesn’t matter that you used to be an armed robber, an advance fee fraud expert, a cult lord, a drug pusher or even a rapist. The fact that you used to have an evil past is a big testimony on its own. The worse your past, the more people will believe in the new you. It’s just the Nigerian thing. We love them complicated.
2. Gather a small crowd of people. No matter how small, tell them how you went to bed the previous night and a white-clothed figure appeared to you in a vision and “called you”. Tell them you are ready to take up this clarion call. Get a big fat shiny new bible and a cassock if possible, look as calm as you can and smile at any opportunity, they will believe you. As long as no one can get the call history of how “God called you”, no one cares. They just assume he did. Again, it’s the Nigerian way of reasoning.
3. The third step is very important. Naming your church. Most pastors don’t know this, but like the caption of books and movies, the name of a church is everything. Look for a very catchy name; something that people will love to describe themselves with once they become members. Take for instance; “Oluwa Is Involved Holy Ghost Penticostal Fire Brand Ministries”…. Nice huh? Your members can call themselves “Fire Branders”. This will be printed on all merchandise from t-shirts to holy water to holy oils and sometimes, holy handkerchiefs. They won’t be really holy but well…. What’s a company without advertisement?
4. Next is building a church. Mr pastor-in-embryo, this is very very very important! You have to be very technical and innovative about this. Two vital questions are involved in building a church. They are;
i. What kind of church do you want to build? Is it a church for the rich ones or the struggling ones? (Before you say rich, money and power will come in from either ways)
ii. Do you have the funds to build a church in your area of choice? If no, how do you hope to get the funds?
i. Building a church either in a rich or poor man’s environment both has its basic advantages and disadvantages. If you are thinking the rich man’s zone, then be prepared to out-do numerous competitors. It is also very capital intensive. You need an eye-popping edifice. Fully air-conditioned, comfy pews, etc. A lot of pastors-in-embryos are also thinking like you. So for you to succeed in that zone, you have to be extra-innovative. You need a basic know-how of being a Tush-queens-english-speaking kind of pastor. If you can perform a few tricks and call them miracles, voila! You stand a better chance of hitting gold and out-doing your numerous competitors.
However, if you are thinking the struggling zone, this isn’t too capital intensive, you can start from a shop, or open space or even in the one-bedroom apartment which you presently reside somewhere around Ijora-badia. All you need for a start is at least two very loud speakers, a drum-set and a fairly used piano. No matter how small your church is, you need more members who need to contribute so you move to your “permanent site”. So your loud speakers must be blaring at all times.
ii. Getting funding to start a church is important for your hustle. It’s easy. Gather a group of rich men you may know. You may think of it as a sort of consortium. Lay down your business plan and tell them how and when they will get returns on their investment. Bear in mind that these people can’t be deceived. They actually don’t care about you or even God so don’t appeal to their spiritual side because they have none. Appeal to their self-interest and I assure you that in no time, your funding will be ready. Congrats.
5. The next step is choosing your title. Being referred to as “Pastor” isn’t just good enough. Look for something bigger and more respectable like “Senior Reverend, High Bishop, Cardinal. Or even Pope. Add “Daddy or Papa” at the end of your name. Members can call you Cardinal Yabiswacko, Daddy or papa for short. Your wife must also be a Bishop and known as Mummy for short.
6. Now that your church is almost ready to take off, you need advertisement. Call on a few media houses and organize a large crusade. If your specialty is in the struggling zone, Call it something like; “Operation Your Village Witches Must Die”. Appear on television if you can. Scream and sweat profusely while on air. Let your prospective members know you mean business. Look very fiery like you can actually confront their respective village witches and move your mouth like you are speaking in tongues. On the day of the crusade, you will be amazed at the turn out. You may call it “the Lord’s doing” if you like. Some will leave after the crusade but those that stay back will form your first set of members. You can grow from there.
7. By now the church is set and has taken off, plan the organogram very well. Members of the consortium who funded the building of the church will be the “board of trustees” or “church council”. Your most trusted friend or even your wife MUST be the church treasurer. You can’t afford to trust the church funds with a stranger. This is business and should be handled with serious seriousness. Next you make a very handsome dude the choirmaster. That way pretty ladies will join the choir. You make an ex-officer or policeman the head of ushers. That way there will be orderliness. The others can take care of themselves.
8. Income: money is important and even the bible confirms same. Tithing is important so make sure 80% of your congregation are tithers. It is none of your business what business members of your congregation do as long as they pay their tithe. This people sometimes try to be smart and try to cheat god (which is you) by not declaring what they earned so you can deduct your 10%. Blackmail them. Tell them how they will spend eternity in hell for trying to cheat god. You must also be creative. Spin some success stories of people who paid god in the past and have been living happily ever after. Also tell them of people who tried to cheat god in the past and met a very terrible, brutal end. Also, collect as many offerings in a Sunday as possible. As usual, be innovative and give these offerings names such as “welfare offering” “widows offering” “missionary offering” “pastor’s welfare offering” etc. In the end, watch your ministry rise with financial power. Also, never let any opportunity pass without you taking an offering. Be it naming ceremonies, burial, baby dedication, car dedication or even okada and keke maruwa dedication.
9. Now that your ministry is growing in numbers and financial strength, the time to repay your debtors has come. Pay them off as quickly as possible. Don’t let them truncate your hustle with them hassling you for debt. Pay them off, then count your blessings. Bring up new laws in your church. Claim you saw these instructions in a vision from heaven and they must be followed to the letter or they won’t be allowed to enter the kingdom of God;
* No more inter-church marriages. Everyone must marry from within your church.
* Every family must seek spiritual guidance before doing any business, when they have dispute and permission before they have sex at home.
* No single man must approach a single woman directly, he must come to you and then you will in turn “consult with god” if they will go well together. (If the single lady is pretty and you have eyes on her, she is a no-go area of course. Tell the single man that heaven denied the transaction. He must accept his fate and look for a less good-looking woman)
* Call families randomly and tell them “thus saith the lord; that place you want to go today is dangerous. Don’t go!” Of course everyone has a place he or she should be. You will be respected and seen as the man who god talks to.
* Declare that henceforth it is a sin for anyone to remain on his feet when talking to you. They have to always be on their knees while you “lay hands” on them.
* Tell the unemployed ones to add “Spiritual son or daughter of Cardinal Yabiswacko” in their CV when looking for jobs. Tell the employed ones it is now a grave sin to employ a member of another church for a position that a member of your church is interested in. No matter how highly unqualified the latter must be.
10. Always stay on the side of the government and the authorities. The possibilities are limitless! So to achieve this, always tell your congregation never to criticize the government, tell them to always pray for the government no matter how poorly it treats them. Declare fasting and prayers when, for instance, the president’s wife is down with food poisoning after feeding on, say, three million naira a day. All this will turn attention your way and just hopefully you may one day become the chaplain of Aso Rock or even a certain president’s personal pastor!
11. Now that you are a big pastor, buy state of the art cars. Build yourself the kind of mansion that is waiting for you in heaven here on earth. Whenever you go out, drive on a convoy, buy yourself a private jet or two if possible because you will be needed in every part of the world and you won’t have that time to flock with mere humans who rush daily to the airports to board commercial airlines. You are a demi god and you must always carry yourself like that. Money, power and invincibility.
12. You need your congregation to always listen to you. Always be in your power and under your Mighty feet. So, as much as possible, don’t ever preach about any other thing except prosperity and winning the war against the witches and wizards in the villages. If, for instance, as the pastor, you have an opportunity to feed 5,000 people like Jesus did in the bible, don’t! You can’t afford to have your congregation so well fed for they might no longer listen to you. Simply eat a part of the bread and fish and tell them how it was sent from above. Sell it to them one after the other and see your finances rise. Don’t ever feed them! Don’t ever care about them too much! You are the god and they are your creation.
These rules have worked for many a Nigerian pastor. They may take a while to come to fruition – what lucrative venture doesn’t anyway? – but they have never failed!
I wish you all the patience and goodluck in your hustle.
Follow the writer on twitter @Dolusegun