On daily basis professionals, politicians, artisans, labourers, soldiers, journalist and firefighters are called upon to discharge the duties of their trade or profession. I remember like yesterday when my father shipped off to Liberia at the peak of the civil war in that nation to serve as an ECOMOG soldier. What was supposed to be a six month tour of duty became three years and eight months. Expectedly soldiers are called upon in times of war to fight for the peace.
Doctors are called when there is a medical emergency. Legal cases are referred to lawyers. Fire fighters must answer the call when there is a fire outbreak. It is the calling of teachers to impart knowledge. Entertainers entertain. Michael Jackson with all his talent was never listed as an athlete for an Olympic sport. Society and systems places demand on what you profess except for pastors.
Pastors are the only people whose line of duty is situation, circumstance, time and place specific. Paul in communicating this truth said “I became all things to all men”. It is a societal fact that Pastors are expected to become what people want them to be, depending on the issue the people are dealing with without any recourse to the reality, feeling or opinion of the Pastor in that material circumstance.
This multi-disciplinary and near superman status is underlined by Pastors as “men of God”. Men of God are supposed to be representatives or better still Ambassadors of God. Since men see God as omnipotent and omniscient, His men are expected to connect anyone to the miraculous power of their employer. The Pastor is expected to be a Doctor when people are sick, a counselor when there are issues, and an activist when there are sociopolitical challenges.
Therefore, It did not surprised me at all when Nigerians of all faith and percussion expected Pastors to lead the protest that greeted the decision of government to remove the subsidy on petrol on the 1st of January, a policy that many describe as an economic petrol bomb. The whole social media platforms were flooded with calls on all Pastors to step into the shoes of Martin Luther King Jnr. That the leading voice at Gani Fawehinmi Park was that Pastor Tunde Bakare, that an Archbishop marched in Akure and many nameless faceless Pastors came out was not good enough.
The calls degenerated to subtle Pastoral blackmail. While acknowledging the role of religious leaders to shape society and influence policies, it is unfair to drag your Pastor into politics or anything for that matter. All are Pastors but all are gifted differently. Pastors are men under authority and instruction. Pastors are men of God; they are answerable to God and God alone. Pastors have to be led by the Spirit and called on him to undertake any task political or otherwise.
It is suicidal to embark on a mission without divine backing. Saul lost the kingdom because he was more concerned about the expectations of the people even when such a position is in direct violation of an instruction or principle of God. John the Baptist was beheaded because he dabbled with politics, because politics was clearly outside of his mandate. Your Pastor is not MLK, and not every Pastor can operate like Tunde Bakare.
Moses as a leader did not go with them to war, he goes up to the mountain where he lifts his hands in prayers until victory is won. Joshua on the other hand led the people into battle. If God called your Pastor to stand in the grace of Moses he cannot operate like Joshua. Not all Pastors are called to detonate petrol bombs.
Sunday Ogidigbo is the Lead Pastor of Holyhill Church Abuja. Sunday can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 08095494044.