Get rich quick? Start a church
Of late I have been noticing certain trends occurring in the many different churches sprouting across Windhoek. These institutions of higher belief seem to benefit only the top hierarchy of that particular church and not that of the faithful that follow, unlike the conventional churches that we grew up in. Pastors and preachers are driving luxurious cars and living the lavish lifestyles that you can only dream of while the followers wallow in poverty in the hope that one day they too will be prosperous. But again, I may be mistaken. May be it is the church leaders’ privilege since they are doing the Lord’s work. With so much wealth visible, one tends to ask oneself: Why not start up my own church? It seems churchgoers are attending certain ‘miracle churches’ for the wrong reasons. Instead of going to praise and worship they go in search of the ‘pot of gold’, where miraculously, a huge amount of money will appear in their bank accounts as soon as they attend a church service. Let’s be realistic. In the olden days, yes miracles did happen. The crippled would walk, the blind would see and any ailments would be healed. But this modern day and age is not the same, people value miracle money due to their deteriorating living conditions and the predicaments they are in. They think the only way to correct that is to put their faith in the church and not in the Lord.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer of the Most High. But it is my considered opinion that people must not become the slaves of their own hopes and shallow aspirations. They must be able to see what lies right in front of their eyes and differentiate between fact and fiction. Every person, in his or her life, at some point, has to be able to make the distinction between realistic events versus opportunistic events.
It seems that the only trick to make it financially is to actually start your own church. You might ask why? But see, here is the thing, many government laws are designed to favour non-profit and charitable institutions which presumably benefit the community. Churches tend to benefit the most from the various tax exemptions available, in particular because they qualify for many of them automatically, whereas non-religious groups have to go through a more complicated application and approval process.
So basically churches do not actually lose any money (to the Receiver) while they themselves make a profit. They do not actually have to submit financial disclosure statements, meaning no one actually really knows how much they make through donations and the many projects they dive into.
I once came across one church were the leader actually owns a car dealership of high-end luxury cars. The trick there again, is that importation of some of those vehicles is exempt from import duty. There you have it, a straight business venture that allows you to do business under the church’s blanket while realising a higher profit margin, presumably ten fold.
My most pertinent question is to just ask: are churches not meant to be a congregation for praise and worship and nothing like a money making organisations as we are now observing with the latest spate of miracle churches. Don’t believe me. Just attend one of these services and hear for yourself how the ignorant followers are promised a guaranteed big fat pay day.
Conventional churches have their fair share of problems, but they do not work on the false pretence of delivering the Word and then prey on the vulnerability of those in need, whilst making a profit out of it.
Just food for thought. Some people have worked hard for forty odd years and end up with a pension that can barely keep them comfortable and then come young opportunist orators that start up their own church and in less than two years, they own different businesses and are on top of the food chain.
Starting your own church has its economic benefits, but again as humans we have morals, and the act of preying on the vulnerable will always catch up with you, as the judgement day will one day be upon us.