Your Experience Working for a Pastor
By: Deji Yesufu
There is a thread on Nairaland titled “What Has Been Your Experience Working for a Pastor?” I knew immediately that it was going to be an interesting discussion and so I browsed through the first page of the thread. I was not surprised by the comments I saw there: most people have had bad experiences working with pastors. Let me share a comment by one “Pissfulprotester”:
“Many years ago during my NYSC, I was unfortunate to be posted to work with an NGO run by a “Pastor”. As at the time of my posting, he was expecting independent and international bodies to come for their annual Audit. This purely has to do with how he spent all the funds he received for one humanitarian project or the other… To make this story short, this man had no supporting documents for virtually all the transactions he did with the funds. He only had different empty receipt booklets with him which he printed to perfect his fraudulent deals…My posting brought smiles to his face as he believed I had the training to perfect records from school. Damn! I saw things!!… I pissfulprotester said to myself as the going got tougher. I won’t start this profession with fraud..Mba! I won’t…Had to look for a way to reach my LGI..told him everything to make him see why I must leave that place. Within a week or so, I was posted out of that hell of a place… Don’t know how I forgot to mention that the man’s office was situated in the same building where he had his church…If God no gentle, aswearugad, that man would have been consumed by mother earth long ago.”
That story is sad indeed and there were a couple of other comments like that. A few people came to the thread to explain that pastors are human beings also and that you should not expect to meet an angel when you go and work for them. I do not necessarily agree with this caveat but it is one that we must make do with in the light of how things have really degenerated in the name of religion, Christianity and pastoral work especially in our clime.
My own experience working for a pastor was a good one. From 2008 to 2010 I was employed to teach at an educational facility run by a pastor and his wife. The experienced I gained there was and still is invaluable. The couple were not perfect but they opened my eyes to how business can be run in a country where the environment can be quite harsh on business owners. This was all happening when we, employees of this school, were hearing unsavory reports coming from another sister educational facility also run by a pastor and his wife in our city. I learnt very quickly that there was such a thing called contentment and an attitude of waiting on Providence. It was while working there that I developed a love for teaching and then went on to get a Master degree in Physics instead of Electrical Engineering which is my first degree. If not that teachers are so poorly paid in this country, I would still have been working at that place till now. Yet, the overall report about pastors owning businesses in this clime is bad.
I hold the opinion that pastors have no business owning businesses. A few days ago a brother who shares some theological agreement with me, suggested on Facebook that seminary training was overhyped. He said that all that a person needs is a calling and a commitment to obeying that calling. I disputed this position and suggested to him that he was in error. While it is true that seminary training can be done without by a person called by God, seminary training will always add to a Christian ministry; it will never subtract. I understand that there are many seminaries that have followed the devil into perdition; but there are also many other seminaries that are doing very well. One thing that a good seminary will teach is the whole business of caring for the spiritual souls of men and winning the lost sheep of Christ to God. May I suggest to us that that business is full time work and anyone truly involved in it cannot have the time for anything else besides. Whatever else such a person does will suffer.
Therefore, the reason why many pastors are unable to run their businesses properly is because they were never supposed to be in the business in the first place. There are many of such pastors who bear the name in an honorary manner and are simply assisting another pastor – who himself is full time. There are others who became pastors because they have been long standing members of a congregation and in a bid to retain their membership and reward their faithfulness, the General Overseer opens up a branch for them to pastor. They are incidental ministers; they were never called by God into pastoral work. Pastoral work will not leave room for business venturing because the two callings have two different goals. Businesses seek to make profit, while pastoral work ends up loosing resources in the bid to gain souls for God’s kingdom. The two cannot mix. A true pastor must fail in business except he employs pragmatic measures of the world, which will quite naturally run counterproductive to his calling as a pastor.
In Nigeria today the word “pastor” has become a honorary title and not a spiritual responsibility. Somebody told me that in the neighborhood where he lives, 90% of the adult Christian men there are all pastors. The title “pastor” has become so ubiquitous that the most immoral person will bear the name for simply being a member of a Church and when the person does something wrong, everyone bearing the title must share in the blame.
Perhaps I should end this essay by stating that in the ideal sense a pastor should not be employing anyone to work for him. Rather a congregation should be employing a pastor to come and shepherd them in the word and life of Christ. The pastor is God’s servant sent to shepherd a people spiritually. He is one that should be given mainly to the word and to prayer. A pastor spends six days of the week waiting on God for a word for his congregation – a word that he would deliver on Sunday, the Lord’s Day. A pastor is one whom church members must be able to seek out for counsel when they are going through life challenges. A pastor’s shoulder is one that a young mother must be able to lie upon after a miscarriage.
A pastor is the one that offers a young couple counsel on how to manage their early marital crisis. A pastor buries the dead in his congregation; he names the new-born; he counsels the couple seeking to be married; he joins the couple in holy matrimony; and he must manage his own home too. He does all this as he continues to come up with new ideas on how to reach the community around him with the gospel of Christ. The pastor’s work is a full-time business and he has no business running a profit generating enterprise. Church members should run those businesses and bring their profit to the church for the church to lead outreaches to the world.
In an ideal setting, none of us should have experiences working for pastors. Unfortunately our clime is not the ideal one and this is the reason for the evil reports we keep getting about pastors leading businesses in our world.