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Should a church fire pastors for unfruitfulness?

Oscar Amaechina
Courtesy of Oscar Amaechina

There is something that happened in Nigeria that is trending on the social media. A young man by the name of Peter Godwin recently posted a video on Facebook lamenting how his church (Living Faith Church) fired him, alongside other pastors.

According to him, the state pastor invited him and 40 other pastors to his church, all of them were fired. What was the reason? Apparently, their congregation’s financial performance wasn’t good enough.

Initially, I found it difficult to believe that a pastor can be fired for not meeting financial targets. There were many opinions on social media, but I kept quiet because I thought that it is not good to jump to conclusions on a matter concerning two parties, without giving a fair hearing to both sides.

According to pastor Godwin, the state pastor categorically told him that the Living Faith Church does not operate at a loss and that the income he was generating was below target. He also said that he was instructed to vacate the pastorate immediately and should hand over every property of the church to the state pastor.

After a few days, I saw another trending video where the presiding Bishop of the church—Bishop David Oyedepo—replied to the fired pastor. According to Bishop Oyedepo, “We sacked you because you are unfruitful and a blatant failure…We have no patience with failures here.” Bishop Oyedepo clarified that the issue was not about meeting financial targets, but that the pastors were fired because they did not meet the expected soul winning target.

No matter how convincing their argument may sound, I can’t believe that someone can have the temerity to fire a pastor because of his inability to generate income from the worshipers. I therefore decided to believe Bishop Oyedepo and his claim that the reason for the firing of these pastors was due to their unfruitful evangelism.

The million-dollar question is: Who is responsible for soul winning into God's kingdom? The role of the man is to declare the Gospel. If the evangelist fails to preach the Gospel, no soul can be saved (Romans 10:14). In Act 10, God wanted to save Cornelius and his household, and He used human beings as His instruments. He instructed Cornelius to send for Peter in Joppa to declare the Gospel to them.

Without the roles of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, no man shall be saved. If a billion strategic evangelists preach the Gospel to a single man without God the Father drawing such an individual to Christ, nothing will happen (John 6:44). If the love of Christ is not shed abroad in the heart of such a man by the Holy Spirit, no conviction and conversion will take place (Romans 5:5). For soul winning projects to be successful, all stakeholders must be adequately involved.

I have been working as a missionary for the past 14 years and have taken the Gospel to 15 unreached communities where no one has either preached or heard about Jesus. I am presently working on reaching the unreached in metropolitan areas in Nigeria and have been frustrated many times by the lack of fruit. In some communities, many surrendered to Christ effortlessly, while in others we labored incessantly only to see just a few souls saved.

I have read stories of missionaries laboring in hard-to-reach places for decades with not a single soul coming to Christ. Most missionaries are sent by God as forerunners, to break fallow grounds for incoming preachers. Should we label such faithful servants as failures?

I have come to realize that it is not in the power of man to convince and convert sinners. The duty of man is to communicate the whole Gospel and leave the rest to God. Even if Anagkazo method (Luke 14:23) is applied by man, no one comes to Christ except by divine conviction and conversion.

In the case of the fired pastors and Living Faith Church, the church is right if these pastors were fired due to their negligence in faithfully preaching the Gospel. But if they are fired because they were not able to convert souls into God's kingdom, the church should repent, apologize to them for acting in error, and reinstate them to their positions. No mortal can assume the position of the Trinity in the soul winning agenda.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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