…Says Pastors have weakened the power in the name ‘JESUS
Emmanuel Oje Ehimika is the head of Fruits Integrated, an Abeokuta, Ogun State based Christian ministry that publishes monthly ‘Ministers Alive’ magazine. In this interview, Ehimika speaks on his programme, tagged, ”The Jesus Dream”, aimed at fostering unity and reconciliation within the Church around the globe.
The cleric, who prefers to be called “Preacherman”, laments that there is so much disunity, bitterness and bickering within the Church (especially pastors) and, for this reason, God’s power is not manifesting.
He says Pastor Tunde Bakare was not in good stead to advise President Goodluck Jonathan because of his involvement in politics.
What is the ‘Jesus Dream’ all about?
There is so much bitterness and disunity, competition, envy, jealousy and strife among pastors. Unfortunately, this is not only within the Nigerian Church but also throughout the world. It is now a common trend to see assistants breaking away through strife from their original churches to start their own churches. There are some pastors who don’t see eye to eye with other pastors due to one reason or the other.
God cannot expand His Kingdom by strife; so He has raised me up as one among many to call for forgiveness and reconciliation among minsters. There has been a lot of deception- how can a minister who is openly in bitterness with another minister preach the gospel of reconciliation? We were given the ministry of reconciliation by God; so, our first requirement, after reconciling with God, is to reconcile with men. I was in a city to preach where two ministers in the same building have not had a handshake for six years until I got there.
Prayer of Unity
In 2010, God told me to call for a prayer of unity for pastors. I sold our church building and invested all. We closed down our church when God told me, He didn’t ask me to start church. Actually, the first edition of Jesus Dream began on June 30, 2010 when I called for over one hundred million Christians throughout the world to pray for one hour at the same time for the unity of ministers of God and it was very successful.
In 2011, we had the same experience, then Dr. David Yonggi Cho of South Korea (pastor of the largest church congregation in the world) wrote to me personally that he was in agreement with me while Apostle Fredrick K.C. Price (USA) sent a word of blessing for all those that will be part of the 2012 edition, come June 30. That was a significant move of God knowing the personalities image worldwide.
And many other leaders are sending encouraging messages now. Though some are still doubting and watching. The significance of the June 30 event is that we are asking Christians to pray for one hour at the same time. In Nigeria, it will be 8pm while other countries will correlate the time on their own. Since Jesus Christ prayed for the unity of the apostles, we must do the same.
So, on June 30, 2012 we would be praying for the unity of pastors worldwide, whether you are Anglican or Catholic or Pentecostal, it doesn’t matter, all of us should be on our kneels to pray for the unity of God’s servants because unless they are united, the followers will not. That is why Jesus prayed for Peter and said; “When you are strengthened Peter, then pray for your brethren”. We have just released a magazine that contains the illustrations of the Body and prayer points. It’s being sent to key church leaders and key Christian leaders in the secular all over the world and our partners.
What advise do you have for the president?
When everybody is called to advise the President, not all pastors are called. This is what people don’t know, when you ask people who have problem managing ten people, you can imagine a man having problem to manage ten people advising a man managing 120million people, it doesn’t make sense; only a man who is sent can advise the president. I am sent to pastors and I have the grace to minister to pastors but I’m called to pray for the president; so whoever is the president of this country, I pray for him.
In the Bible, Paul was sent to the Gentiles, while Peter was sent to the Jews, and Paul always had problem whenever he tried talking to the Jews because he didn’t have that backing. A man like Tunde Bakare, I don’t know Tunde Bakare who is a politician but Tunde Bakare who is a pastor, there is a difference. Tunde Bakare as a pastor was able to speak to the late General Sani Abacha, was able to speak to former President Obasanjo and they could not kill him because God sent him.
If I go and talk to those people like he did, I could just get locked up and people will just wonder why, because I wasn’t sent for that . If you notice, Tunde Bakare was the only man of God in this country, who came out and spoke boldly. We are all called to pray for the president, but Tunde Bakare cannot advise the president because he is now competing with him. I am not against what he wants to do but I respect him as a pastor called upon to speak because he is bold and has information.
Many pastors that stand up and tell people what to do do not even know the budget, they don’t know the resources; so how can you advise? I want to tell pastors their major role is to pray, and there are few people sent to advise, and those people must have information, and be bold and have the backing of God.
Why do Church leaders prefer wining and dinning with bad and corrupt leaders instead of criticising their excesses?
They (Church leaders) cannot criticise them (corrupt leaders) because they (politicians) give them money. But it is certain that God’s judgment is waiting for such so-called men of God who flirt with people who are oppressing the same people God has called them to set free. If judgment is to start from the Church of God, it will start with the church leaders. But I must stress that not all politicians are bad. There are some honest and righteous ones among them just as there are some few righteous God fearing pastors.
Despite prayers, Nigeria’s problem keep mounting. What is responsible?
Majority of the ministers have shifted from preaching the real gospel, so church members just come in on Sundays and just a few hours of service and they go, and they are not really grounded. Midweek, most of them are not there. People are going to church on Sundays out of ‘we have to go’. In the short time they go, they are not really grounded, so it’s not the question of how many churches but it’s the quality that matters.
The quality is not there, most of the things taught in most churches now are things that will groom the person to go to the office. We are supposed to teach people in the church to go office and perform and show the character, but most times now, people go to office to just make money, bring their tithe and offering, and they feel they have done their duties. The duty of a pastor is to grow his followers in the word of God.
Prosperity is part of it, but it is not all about money, it has to do with total well being, spiritual and body. But it looks like some people think they are called to preach wealth. Paul did not preach wealth, and Peter preached holiness. They preached the whole Bible. We are called to holiness, we are called to prosperity, prosperity does not just mean me having excess money; some are with excess money but they are poor, that’s what Jesus said in the Bible “I know you are rich but you are poor”.
For instance, I am doing a world vision, as at the day the magazine came out, all I had in life was two thousand naira, no investment anywhere and no other money anywhere. But as I’m talking now, the magazines are in Europe, U.S.A, Asia. This is a mystery, so prosperity accumulates everything. Anything God wants you to do. He will accomplish it, and you may not have everything in your hands.
What prompted you to distribute the magazine free of charge to Christians leaders abroad?
God told me to go and train the mindset of what prosperity is,. Most of our pastors are boasting about the cars they have, numbers of jeeps they have, prosperity is not what you have. It’s what people get through you, that is, another level of prosperity. That’s what God said to Abraham “through you, nations will be blessed”. God said ‘I will not use a man who will boast of mansions, of cars but great men and president of nations will have quality substance in their hands that will impact life through them’.
What are the main challenges of our churches?
The leaders of the Nigerian churches are part of the problems. Most of us see leadership position as an opportunity to be favoured but leadership is primarily about sacrifice. The reason why we are fighting for leadership positions in the church is because we see it as a place to get something but if we see it as a place to become an example in humility and sacrifice, many people will run from it. So we see people coming out to give testimonies of the material things they have acquired but the real testimony is about faith in God and love for ALL the brethren.
Proliferation of churches and insecurity in the country today, what is responsible?
The point is that all what we preach in churches majorly now is ‘give and receive’ and we don’t teach justice. I mean the sacrifice we teach is just for people to give us something and we call that sacrifice.
Many pastors are committing crime on the altar. Offerings are forcefully collected from the people, when it should be willingly. Justice is supposed to start from the church but justice is not even in the churches today. That is why Christ said we left the weightier matter, which is justice (Matt. 23:23). It is weightier than tithing. If there is no justice in the Church, how can there be justice in offices? Pastors emphasise money but justice is weightier than money. All through the Bible, the pattern is – God always calls for justice first.