I distinctly remember going to a church someone had invited my mum to. As a dutiful child, I went along with her. I like to think the person who invited her to this church was a good person, but you never know. It took what felt like ages to get to the church and we made it for the tail end of a worship song. Soon after the preacher began to preach a rather long sermon. None of which spoke to me. At all. Actually, the more he talked, the more peeved I got that we were there.
I wasn’t on fire like that for God yet, so with my little stank attitude I made every effort to show my mother that as for me, I wasn’t having it. I sighed heavily and yawned obnoxiously. I would place my hands under my head and pretend I was sleeping. Anything to get her attention, so she could ask what was wrong. She didn’t.
I was much younger then, but I couldn’t understand why no part of the sermon inspired, convicted or encouraged me. A general offering was taken and both my mother and I put our offerings in the basket. All things considered, things were going well until a different kind of “offering” began.
You would be called up if you had so and so amount so you could be prayed for about a particular thing. I suppose that’s relatively normal. However, the preacher had an entourage who would encourage certain movements from people as they were prayed for. They also insisted everybody feel something as they were being prayed for. Once they enquired as to whether you felt something and you said no, you were dismissed. You couldn’t be ruining the show they had going on. This raised my antennas.
Even at such a young age, I knew it wasn’t right. I decided I wasn’t playing games anymore. If my mother wasn’t picking up my hints, I was going to be straightforward. I looked up at her and said “mummy, he’s fake”.
I didn’t know then, but I know now my feeling like the leader was a fraud was due to the lack of the Holy Spirit. Was there some sort of spirit there? Absolutely. But it wasn’t holy. And it made me uncomfortable. I now know how to identify what was going on.
As Christians, we need to do a better job of identifying the Holy Spirit’s presence in a place. We cannot simply go to some church because the preacher can really preach. Or this pastor dierrr she can solve that problem you’re having. Granted, the problem may be solved, but what are you carrying back with you?
We forget that the devil is still out there trying to daadaa us into all sorts of tomfoolery. We cannot get caught up in the charisma of a leader, forgetting to ask the Lord if He’s truly with that church leader. Is the leader’s charisma going to lead you into a deeper relationship with the Lord or lead you towards darkness?
Quick fix, quick fix, so we go wherever and do whatever. We give no second thought to outrageous requests made by so-called church leaders.
What sort of church leader tells you he’s going to pray over your breasts by fondling them? Or that you have to sleep with him to be able to heal your barrenness? Have we lost our minds? How in the world could you possibly be healed from AIDS or some other sexually transmitted disease by raping a young girl? Have we gotten so far away from the Word of God that any tom, dick and harry. Or Kofi, Kwaku and Adwoa, can tell us to jump and we say how far into the hell fire would you like us to go?
And if you are not questioning such requests, it is not the leader who is problematic. The leader is the least of your problems.
Let’s open our eyes. We cannot simply sit in a building that has “something church” written on it and listen to someone preach and lay hands on people or ourselves due to desperation. We also cannot say we are ignorant when we claim to be reading our Bibles when it talks about false prophets. The smooth delivery of words that claim to be from the Bible but can’t be found anywhere are empty promises. Don’t be fooled by a church that speaks in “tongues” like tongues are the only tell tale sign of the Holy Spirit. Have many things align with God’s word regarding your church or spiritual leader. It has to be much more than miracles and tongues, or charisma and great worship.
Church isn’t your go to place for ice cream with a topping of gold flakes. If you’ve only ever been encouraged by your leader as if the world is happy go lucky, something is wrong. At some point, a sermon has to convict you. The purpose is to be able to examine yourself when you need to, but also to reap encouragement when you need that. Much like reading the Bible, sometimes you come across the “I will never leave you nor forsake you” but other times you’re reading the “wages of sin is death” part.
This does not mean that leaders who are dissimilar are wrong. There are a variety of ways God works through various churches. Some conservative, some charismatic. ALL sensible and led by the Holy Spirit.
Take a breath. Pray. Ask God if the person leading you is truly leading you into a deeper relationship with Him. Be prepared if His answer is no. Be more prepared to leave to the right home.
A dog born in a stable is no more a horse than a person holding a mic preaching about something is an appropriate spiritual leader.
Is your leader dirty?
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