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Posted by on Friday May 22, 2015 at 17:31:15:

Going to church is something a lot of Nigerian Christians subscribe to and it's more evident in the middle belt and Southern Nigerian states where there are a lot of Christians.

I love going to church because of the positive energy and the spirituality of the environment and also because church offers something you'd hardly get in the real world and that is a Christian fellowship. It's like a mini kingdom of heaven when you are in church. However, there is a limit to which one can stay in church and that's why many Nigerian Christians still have to go home after spending some time and their money at church.

The people who lead the Nigerian church are mostly referred to as pastors and they act like shepherds who are meant to protect their sheep and guide them on the way to salvation. Some of these pastors are referred to as Reverends, Bishops, Ministers, Pastors and even Reverend Fathers.

One striking thing I've however noticed about the Nigerian Churhc is that at times, Pastors do certain things that I would regard as punishment to their flock. When I say punishment, I'm referring to thos things that Nigerian pastors do to church members which sctualy causes them some form of discomfort. I just want to mention some of those things here:1. Raising their hands: Well, we Nigerians love to raise up our hands when dancing or praising God in the church but when you tell me to raise up my hands for praise worship or prayers, I don't expect it to remain hanging for up to 30 minutes. I'm not an angel that has supernatural ability and never gets tired. Human beings can probably raise their hands for up to 5 or 10 minutes but after that, it turns to punishment and many start putting down their hands. The funny thing is that when they tell us to raise our hands, they don't join us in raising their own hands too for that long and that's why I think Jesus said what he said in Matthew 23:4. I think Nigerian pastors should start considering that human energies are limited and can only work for a while. Based on the Jesus stories I've read in the bible, he didn't really ask people to raise their hands for prayer or deliverance but just prayed for them.

2. Kneeling them down: They normally tell us in school to kneel down as a form of punishment but this is also now common in church when the pastor will tell you to kneel down. Well, i don't mind kneeling down but when it goes on for so long, it gradually turns to a form of punishment and I guess that's why I see a lot of people already sitting down after just 5 minutes. There is a limit to how long you should tell people to kneel down. I never read about Jesus telling people to kneel down although they did at times when they wanted to beg something from them or to acknowledge his kingship and they only did it briefly so that the knee doesn't start peeling.

3. Slapping them: Some Nigerian pastors also slap their church members when praying for them and they normally say it's part of the deliverance process. Although it sounds a bit way off the normal way most churches do it, some church pastors actually believe that it is right and i'm not precising saying it is not but I have to say it's a form of punishment that many Nigerian Christians would not subscribe to. Thank God my pastor o minister has ever slapped me because I don't know if I can hold back my retaliation if he does. In fact, I don't think any right thinking Nigerian pastor would slap any member of his church or do anything that causes bodily harm since it would amount to an insult to the temple of God.

4. Levying them: Yes, nowadays in Nigeria, many churches are guilty of this as they seem so eager to raise funds for one project or another. The church projects never get to end and at times it makes some church people to absent themselves from church activities at times. Levies are different from free will donations in that it is an imposition by the church pastors to members to make a payment. Members may be denied one thing or another or given another form of punishment if they fail to pay their levies. Some even preach that payment of such levies are sanctioned by heaven and somehow, many Christians tend to subscribe to it by making payment. I'm not saying that levies are good or bad but it's a form of punishment modern day Nigerian Christians have to face and the only ugly alternative would be to stop going to church.

5. Poor time management: This is also gradually creeping in among some Nigerian churches and pastors seem to be supporting it. When people go to church, they expect to stay in church for a limited period of time and not for the whole day or half of the day except in rare occasions. Church services in out time conscious world are normally planned based on time limits and it's normally a good thing to do everything possible to finish within or even before that time limit elapses. Nowadays, it appears as if the pastors in Nigeria want their members to spend more time at church and yet it seems more of the focus is on raising money rather than making clearer the road to salvation. It is not easy to sit down at church for many hours and that's why at times people are seek walking out even before the service ends and so miss out on the final blessing. When Christians go to church, they expect to go home after a particular period of time and so delaying them for say 30 or 60 minutes late is a form of punishment and even betrayal. Pastors need to ensure that members rights are respected and when they are not, they should offer a form of apology and ensure it doesn't become a routine.

I love going to church on Sundays and other days when I'm free but it doesn't mean I approve of everything that happens at church.

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