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The Shepherd

February 23, 2022

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The university I eventually graduated
from had this thing about fellowship
services.
Students were forced to
attend all services. Unless a student
Is sick in which case he or
she will be taken to the clinic
with immediate effect, if such
is caught avoiding fellowship the
verdict is suspension.

A repeat offender would get expelled.
It was that bad. Student Fellowship
leaders at the time didn’t have
to travail or tarry before the Lord
to get members. However, your content
must be top-notch to engage unwilling
students who were forced to come and
sit under your ministration.
I remember speaking to hundreds and
sometimes thousands of people as a
fellowship leader.
I remember the feeling of “thriving”
in ministry that overcame many of us.
It was convenient to boast
that our fellowship was so so number
and the feedback was such and such.
After graduation, however, the story
was different.
I became a pastor and I couldn’t
get members.

I was posted to Agiliti, Mile 12 and
I got nine members out of which
only one was consistent and the
other eight belonged to two families.
Once the families were not around,
service will be held by me,
myself, and I plus the Father,
the son, and the Holy Spirit.
I preached some great sermons
those years, to myself and I, was
greatly blessed.

When I moved to another church,
the number was like sixty, and
somehow the numbers kept decreasing.
I did follow up, had evangelism
outreaches, morning cry, shared tracts
at major crowd hubs close to the
church but things didn’t improve.
I attended seminars, conferences,
they even sent a church growth officer
to help out.
Zero!

Being a pastor wrecked me, I didn’t
know why I failed at it so woefully.
I fasted and prayed religiously,
I attended anointing services.
Sincerely, those years were not kind
to me. Sometimes I fasted for up
to 200 days in a year and
I prayed in tongues for thousands upon
thousands of hours. Things just didn’t
add up. I was walking in miracles,
signs, and wonders, and yet I couldn’t get
beyond a 40-50 member congregation.

I even tried the gimmick of showing champions
league in church to attract a crowd.
I was desperate and well,
it didn’t work. I also struggled to pay the
church rent or even to cater for my family.

Finally, On May 4, 2016, I threw
in the towel. I had to
embrace the bitter truth, “Pastoring”
was not for me. In 2018,
after three years of an intense
personal relationship with the Holy Spirit,
I started walking in dimensions of grace
of Glory. Something changed in my
reality. My office was located somewhere
in Magodo and without making any
announcements or even being a Pastor,
people would come there.

The first time it happened, I was
asleep in my office when the
receptionist came to inform me that
someone wanted to see me. I sat
across the table from this person
and the person got his miracle.

Then came a pregnant lady, the same
thing happened. Somehow, people
started trooping in and my office
became a Jerusalem of sorts. It got
so good that I had to move
to the teens’ church close to my
office at a point.The Holy Spirit
taught me so much during this
season. I learned never to refer
to people as a crowd and that
even though many men and women
may be called to me, I should
treat each and every one of
them as glories. I developed a
good rapport with those who
were drawn to me to the extent
that when I started a program
in my local church people trooped
in freely.

Those who trooped in felt like family,
members of His body, His flesh
and His bones just as I am.
I knew everybody by name,
I shared with them a common
reality. We had a communion
and we grew together. There is
hardly a state I visit in Nigeria
and indeed some parts of the world
where I do not have these glories
who are my brothers and sisters.

I love them with all my heart.
I cherish and treasure them too
and I have learned not to abuse
or take advantage of them.
Of course, there are times when
we get on each other’s backs
and slug it out as siblings should
but in our disagreements, we are
guided by love and the Spirit
of Jesus. You cannot compare me
in this light with a minister that
inherited a crowd he didn’t labor for.

A crowd with whom he shares
no common values and reality.
A crowd with whom there is no
bond. When you see pastors who
sleep with their members, know that
they see the members as strangers
and not as a part of them.

When you see ministers who abuse
the flock, please note that the
flock is to them a pot of soup.
There is a big difference between
the one to whom a people
are drawn to and the one
who somehow came to be called
their pastor.

The difference is always clear!
Apostle Paul in his writing to the
church in Galatia wrote “My dear
children, for whom I am in the
pains of childbirth until Christ is
formed in you”.Such love is
unique and real. A hireling cannot
love that way. For him it is
business first, administration, optics,
self-preservation, permutations, and
calculations.

His love is feigned, for he loves
the flock only for what he or she
could get out of them.
It is not always money.
Sometimes, deep in the heart of
a minister lies certain desires that
can only be fulfilled through the
use of others. When you see
a minister whose idea of ministry is
“official”, standoffish, snobbish, and
grammarish.
When you see a man
or woman who would rather invest
in equipment than people.
You see the sign of a hireling.

I worked with a pastor once,
while he was the assistant pastor
of the church, we found him to
be quite humble and prayerful.
Everybody loved him.
Then the pastor was transferred and
he was put in charge of the church.
From the moment he became a
pastor, we knew we were in soup.
His leadership was a total disaster.
He addressed himself as a “we”
and expected the congregation to bow
and worship him. You cannot correct
him or ask questions.
We had enthroned a tyrant.
Church members found their way to
other churches quickly and he was
thrown out of the position within
a year but by then the damage
had been done.

I worked with another pastor,
a very indecisive man who would
rather play both sides than address
issues head-on by taking a position.
He called it wisdom but it
backfired quickly because the issues
festered and bad blood took over
the flock. The flock of God is
not just a group of people that
you need to manage. They are
much more than that.
If you didn’t have to pray and
fast and tarry in the place
of prayer like I did and somehow
you got a lot of members
In your church, please make sure
you are connected to them as a
shepherd.

Don’t be aloof, unconcerned,or uncaring.
Remember that the chief shepherd is
going to ask you to give
an account of the flock one day.

May you not be found wanting!

-GSW-

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