Some nights ago, my sister shared on a ladies’ “what’s app” group a conversation she had overheard earlier in the day. It was a conversation between two filling station attendants; they talked about how they didn’t think Christians were loving enough and how, most times, Christians tend to keep to themselves instead of reaching out to people in need.
Her post got everyone in the group talking about how it’s important that we step out of our religious practices and make real impact in the lives of people around us. More importantly, it got me thinking. Churches make a lot of money from tithes and offerings, but what percentage of that goes into maintaining the parsonage and church building, and what percentage goes back into helping the community?
So I decided to write this note to the churches in Nigeria and issue a dare: Wonder what will happen in Nigeria if, in the next 12 months, all churches take 85% of the tithes and offerings they receive and use it for one community project within a five-mile radius from where the church is located?
Now, I’m not talking about setting aside one Sunday in a month and taking a special offering and using that to buy food for people living on the street. No, that’s good, but not great. I am talking about looking into the community your church is located in, identifying a need that that community has—say, bad roads (God knows we have a lot of those in Nigeria), water shortages, ill-equipped schools, health care facilities, anything at all—and then deciding that for the next twelve months, as the church in that neighborhood, you will fix that problem.
If churches did that, imagine what our neighborhoods would look like in twelve months! I tell you, there can be no louder preaching that can be done than meeting the needs of people. If we really want to make real changes in the lives of people who don’t know or believe in God, we need to stop investing our funds in building and maintaining massive structures or popping up a church on every corner; we need to start investing these funds in the people we are trying to reach out to.
So here’s my dare to all the churches, especially in Nigeria: transform the community you are located in, and you’ll reach the hearts of the people in that community more quickly than you ever would have if you were giving out tracts or screaming with a megaphone.
Something to think about: “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” Acts 2:43–46
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