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Ayo Al: And they Prayed…”Run Mad, Run Mad!”

Ayo Al

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I remember when I attended church one day and then the pastor said “During worker’s meeting this morning, a phone was stolen. I have warned everyone not to take any thing that isn’t theirs, but it is obvious no one listens.”

“I want us all to join hands and pray. Let us call on God and tell him that the person who stole the phone should run mad before seven days.

The congregation obeyed and in less than three minutes, the whole church was rent with the chorus “run mad! Run mad!

I couldn’t pray. I opened my eyes and looked around me, I stared at the faces closed earnestly in prayer and wondered at the sense in their actions. Of course, the next Sunday, the pastor announced to the congregation that the thief had been found, he had confessed after running mad.

My stay in that church was cut short after a while. I kept remembering that incident and it took away any attachment I had ever developed for the church. I ran, I couldn’t let myself be spiritually truamatized all over again.

Don’t judge me too harshly, I have a past with churches, particularly Pentecostal ones.

I grew up practically in churches. I went to too many vigils to count. I still remember vividly the drowsy feeling, going home from church every morning after each vigil and knowing that the process would be repeated the next day till the twenty first day, which would mark the end of the vigil. As young as I was, I was a worker. From washing toilets, to cleaning chairs or sweeping the floors. We all did something; that was how mama raised us, to be God-conscious and dedicated.

I learnt how to pray very young too. The vigils were always from 10pm till 5am. I came to love prayers and believe in its powers. I loved God too. I guess that was why I was always eager to memorise Bible chapters which I would recite in front of the entire congregation. I remember Psalm 91 was the first one I learnt, after then it was psalm 81. The hardest for me was when I memorised Isaiah 43. That was how much I loved the church then.

Asides service, we were taught to give. God! My pops was a giver. Nothing was too expensive or special for him to give. He sowed into so many many lives that; it was part of a life of service. You couldn’t serve without giving. And so, I would also look forward to giving a few of my dresses to someone who needed them. We were brought up that way.

It was disheartening and painful when we found out that our pastor had ventured into diabolical means to keep his church full and thriving. I believe the mistake we made was believing so much in a prophet, but whose fault? Weren’t we taught to believe “his” prophet and do them no harm?

This man raged battles, both physical and spiritual against whoever he thought was trying to destroy the dynasty he was building. My family knew and so we were not spared. He “visited” us and we had tales to tell for years. Oh, we bore the brunt of our discovery. No, what you see in movies aren’t lies, they do happen! Spiritual wars are actually waged!

That was where my dislike for the church begun.

It was traumatic. It is not something that can be explained. It was a kind of betrayal, a kind of heartbreak. For a long time I expected God to strike the pastor dead and when he didn’t, I was wraught with anger. “How can God sit on his throne, the earth his foot stool and watch such madness happen”. I would ask myself over and over. “Was God really just?” Of course, I thought he wasn’t.

As an undergraduate, I would visit different churches, there was practically no church I did not attend in the city of Ibadan. I would go for a Sunday or two and then never return. Most times it was because of something I thought the pastor had said wrong, other times it was because I felt the church lacked love. Another time, I left a church because I felt they did not pray enough and ‘Americanism’ had taken over. I became a church whore, jumping from one to another, looking for that which had the highest benefits.

My friends would ask me why I stayed home every Sunday but I would look at them and smile. How was I to explain to them that in church, I was “God” , presiding silently over the affairs of the congregation, condemning and silently accusing those I thought to be sinners. How could I explain to them that staying home was probably best for me. How?

I do not know if I got so bad because I majored in arts; and in literature, you had to be a critic, turning page after page, reading article after article trying to analyse and find flaws whilst appreciating the work of art. It was like that for me. Immediately I got home from any service, I would replay everything that had been said or done in church, picking through it all in my head and trying to find out if there was anything strange about it.

There were times when I went for months without attending a church. I would worship, praise and pray in the comforts of my room and I was sure God heard me. However, I couldn’t stop asking myself if I was missing something not going to church and then I would get up on a Sunday morning, dress up and walk into any church, attend the service and then leave with no intention of ever going back.

Nowadays though, I tell myself not to bother. I go to church, take what is for me and leave the rest to God. I have refused to be a judge, I have refused to pick faults or poke fingers at any one in a church. I go to church now to connect to God, build up my faith and connect to the Holy Spirit. I have realised that it is not in my place to act as God over man, I have come to know that I should let God be God.

P. S- The aforementioned pastor isn’t dead, neither is he ailing. His church is now one of the biggest and profitable ones in the area in which it is located. His congregation keeps growing. But, I know that soon…

Photo Credit: Mimagephotography | Dreamstime.com

An avid reader and writer, Ayo Al hopes particularly to refract the ills in the society through her writings. A professional blogger, she is available for content writing, freelance writing and book reviews. She is also a business woman, fashion enthusiast and a dealer of watches. She can be reached via mail- [email protected] out her instagram: @thatsaucywriter

33 Comments

  1. Topsinroy

    July 4, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    hello Ayo, when i saw this article i was reluctant to open it, not knowing it was for me.
    Damn girl, you spoke right into my situation. i have been to church only 3times this year, still i come back unfufiled. i always have something to say whenever some one is trying to convince me of a particular church, oh!!! not to talk of the pastors now. well who am i to judge. i guess i will just keep an opened mind like you, worship God, take the positive part and leave. YES!! I am also a worker, lool.

    • Ayo Al

      Ayo Al

      July 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Hello Tope, I’m glad you could relate. Thank you for reading too.

  2. UNN Babe

    July 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Someone should write about fellowships, they ruined a lot of people back in the day.

    Shout out to Dominion City/NCF while the word was there, they ruined lots of people man with people sowing school fees, shifting exams because they wanted to attend a fellowship programme only to find out that the programme held. And then there was 1 year for the lord, compulsory stay back for people to serve in the fellowship.

    My sister sowed her monthly allowee while one of our family friends sowed his school fees. The annoying part is that his mother was a widow and it was my uncle who was paying the boy’s school fees and accommodation fee. He stopped attending school because NCF convinced him he was to be a pastor so he went to pastoral college. Eventually, he graduated with a 3rd class and is trying to make something of himself.

    His youngest brother is currently completing a scholarship in Harvard.

    What of Mary, they convinced her that mass comm was her destiny so she dropped out of physics astro and started writing JAMB for mass comm, Asin she just dropped out like that. She failed the jamb twice and had to drop out of school.

    It’s not just club and runz that ruins children in school oh, fellowship sef follow.

    Before our kids leave for the university, we need to drum it in their ears to be selfish about the actualization of their goals and constantly evaluate what they are involved in, if it isn’t working for them, na to cut off be that.

    • Toluwalope

      July 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      All your points are so valid. We were made to do several stupid things out of hatred, ego, self righteousness, stupidity, ignorance, and vindictiveness. Some ladies were terribly victimized and bad-tagged for using earrings or using attachment etc

      Ayo, you’re a very brilliant writer. I’m presently going through the phase of not being able to pick any reasonable thing each time I go to church too.

    • Lolz

      July 4, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Abeg which school was this?? In my own experience I think campus fellowships had the strongest moves of the spirit because of the youthful zeal that the genuine Christians had for the Lord. I got born again on campus and I am till date proud of my spiritual exploits.

      My only concern was that too many did not even understand what they were into so you found them being tossed around by all wave of doctrines and sometimes being used by the so system.

      The one I found most intriguing was how campus fellowship pastors ( most of whom were not even matured enough for that exulted office) were idolized…

      Now i remember how we found out that my pastor who was so “worded” and actually help me grow in my early days as a christian had been taking advantage of plenty of sisters despite having a sister/GF we all knew. ( I am not sure he was sleeping with them but gist had it he used to kiss, caress, touch etc) Funny enough i was not as traumatized as many were bcoz I had a very matured head usher who counselled me on how to handle such disappointments in the faith)

      There was also one BLW jerrycurl pastor like that who was busy doing stuff. Apart from the bodiliy stuff we all suspected he was doing with sisters under the guise of grace being sufficient to cover up for weaknesses, these stupid sisters used to beg to cook, wash, clean bring gifts, sow seeds etc. and i really used to wonder how possible, no be the same Kunle or Tola wey we all know dem dey idolize like this?

      it all helped to shape my opinion sha. in that after school i just knew the slightest signs of manipulations in the church.

    • Ifeoma

      July 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Hello, I am also a graduate of UNN, a NIFES Alumnus, a pastor once asked us in fellowship if anyone had come to UNN to become a pastor, the answer was unanimous ‘NO’. Students should learn to priotize their studies, serve God with wisdom and know when anyone is out to manipulate them.

    • Jade

      July 4, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      You are so right! Abiding word, Christ Embassy,people will just be failing year after year cos of this fellowships. I once attended an NCF meeting and the pastor was addressing final year students and he told them that why are they rushing to leave, that God doesn’t want some of them to leave, I was like whaaaat! Bsides there was no fantastic teachings in this fellowships just normal word, the only thing fantastic about it is how dramatic the delivery is.

    • Deb

      July 5, 2017 at 12:20 am

      GOD bless you. It ruined me in law school too

  3. i must talk

    July 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Back then, some of my folks received salvation with foolishness! I in person was so heavenly conscious and earthly useless! locked my self all day and prayed, starved for weeks in the name of fasting, sowed all the money on me one day in church, that i had to trek from Mile-2 Festac-link bridge to Agbara! did crazy stuff in the name of ‘born again’, i could have been raped or killed in the middle of it all. thank God, today, i know better. What counts is your relationship with God. Did i mention that the fellowship leaders then in school were treated like demmy god’s.? It is well.

  4. Asa

    July 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    When my family friend got into the University, her parents (middle class) were so happy. They lavished her with gifts and bought her gold back then. The logic was that she was already a woman and so her gold collection should start. 1st year at the university she joined one of the campus fellowships and was filled with love for the Lord. One of the “give to God” conferences held and this young girl carried the gold her parents bought for her to start off her gold collection and sowed it at the fellowship. Her mother found out. First thing they did was to withdraw her from the school hostel, she started going to the university from the house. Second she was forced to attend the church the family was attending. If she wanted to go for fellowship, it had to be the church fellowship and not the school one. They kept her at home till they felt she was mature enough to go back to live at the school and not part with all her belongings to a fellowship.

    Second, one of the teachers in the school where my Mum taught sowed a car her husband bought for her into a fellowship. The man was having none of it. He went right back to the fellowship and requested for the car back. True, he had purchased the car in his wife’s name but he said they had to return the car or the marriage was over. The fellowship not wanting to be seen as homewreckers returned the car.

    Since these two incidences while I was growing up, I keep my head on my shoulders, I give money that belongs to me and I give as my heart dictates. I tithe and do thanksgivings but I will never give what is not mine to give or give what will have fight implications later.

    • Lolz

      July 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Very interesting stories.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      July 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I can’t stop laughing about your recount of the man going to reclaim his wife’s car. No be small devil dem for call am….. certain churches and certain church “leaders” have been preying on people’s vulnerability in the place of faith, from the beginning of time (no be so Eli’s sons been dey do, to chop the juiciest portion of meat offerings?).

      Let’s all pursue God with Divine wisdom, mbok.

      And Ayo, this was a good read. 🙂

    • Noms

      July 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      …about the man collecting the car back,the bible is clear on it *Numbers 13:30

  5. Chu

    July 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Your write up is really nice and the comment on school fellowship is apt. We however need to ensure that we do not lose our senses in the name of following God, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. God would not stifle or constrain you, He would also not make you disobey the governing body, if you are in school God does not expect you to use your school fees to pay seed/sacrifice. While those school fellowships were wrong in demanding or alluding to such, the people who willingly did these things were also not smart. This common sense was given us by God and if we misuse its not His fault.

    Having said all that I believe the fellowship of the brethren is still important, you don’t go to church seeking perfection but seeking service, you don’t go to evaluate the church but to participate and partake of it. I believe that any believer that misses out on the fellowship of the brethren is simply shortchanging themselves.

  6. jay

    July 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I can so relate. God help me

  7. D

    July 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    My husband grew up in the church and he once told me that God answers all prayers, so we have to be careful what we pray for and be spiritually alert so they don’t wage spiritual war against you. If I didn’t check the name before reading the article I would have guessed it was written by my former colleague at work, she said; if you ever get too close to the altar you will discover so many things that will shake your faith.th e best is go to church and go home.
    Some years back after giving my life to Christ I had a big challenge cause like most new converts you are blowing hot and some times without a reality check especially as a student I couldn’t balance it well so i failed .later on I received common sense o,thank God for Grace to finish well and among the top student.
    I learnt an important lesson & since then I started a new journey of knowing God by myself and Pastor creflo dollars messages helped explained some things that I didn’t really understand to me . As a mother I know what to teach my children,lest they miss out or get the wrong message

  8. Wrong!

    July 4, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    @ UNN Babe, å wonderful writer just gave us some good truth and mentioned no names. Even with all the personal experiences she went through. You were sharing other people’s experiences and couldn’t even resist the gossip temptation of being a little discreet with your tell tales seeing that other people and organisations are involved.
    Congratulations on your exposé!
    I wonder when people will have sense…. smh…

    • UNN babe

      July 4, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      @ wrong, I know I should have been discreet but NCF messed up a lot of people with stuff like ‘ 1 year for the lord’ etc. they were convincing 1st year medical students that they don’t need to go to Enugu telling them things like ‘the lord has need for you in Nsukka, you might not be called to medicine’

      What about leaders that will tell you to sow into their lives. A pastor once told a graduate that refused to do one year for the lord that he’ll seize his angels.

      My sis had 2 extra years because of NCF to be honest, I think it’s because she was the only one who went to boarding school so she didn’t have that strong bullshit sensor we all had.

      Let’s not even talk about their unrealistic teachings.

      Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned Mary but the NCF/Dominion City in my time ruined people

    • Jade

      July 5, 2017 at 5:42 am

      You just confirmed that everything she said is true. I don’t blame cos maybe u never experienced it. I did and everyday I thank God i received sense in final year. How can mere students be funding the lifestyles of old pastors. Do u know that aside from tithes we pay partnerships monthly, all these from pocket money o. They further divided the partnership into 3 gold, diamond and premium, they all had different rates, after that you will still sow seeds for upcoming programmes. By the time we finish paying all these, we will start begging for food from hostel to hostel

  9. Ifeoma

    July 4, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    May God help us to apply our hearts unto wisdom

  10. Diamond

    July 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I know this brother that pays his tithe twice. First to the big church he worships, then to this other thriving church. The growing pastor knows this, but still collect the second tithe, and even ordained him pastor (I think that’s because he is a big donor in the church). Meanwhile, he is a worker in his main church, and must go through the pastoral school. I told him that isn’t God’s word, but he said God told him to, and I wondered where and when he heard so. I let him be, but I see what the other pastor does as extortion.

  11. LemmeRant

    July 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    This I agree with.

    A lot of people go to church with the what can I get mentality, they see it as place where they’ll just come and sit down and miracles would happen, life would transform like magic this is why people keep moving from 1 church to another seeking the next thing. The church was built as a place where Christians can motivate each other and help each other grow. Its never about the pastor.

    I have only ever attended 1 church since childhood and its an Anglican one. When the wave of Pentecostal and one man churches were sweeping the country with their motivational speeches, prosperity doctrines, and new trend gospels, I wasn’t moved. Frankly when I hear some of the tales from these churches, I’m shocked. Really shocked.

    When I hear tales of how some pastors are worshipped I just wonder. In my church the Vicar is changed every 4yrs or so.

    But you have to wonder. There’s a reason why people are trooping to those churches en masse. Me thinks Nigerians just want to be entertained. Some want to distracted from their realities.

  12. Apple Pie

    July 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Hmm… I should probably get all my friends to read this or save the link, so whenever anyone asks me “Why didn’t you go to church today?”, I’d just jeje send them this link… There are others in this same position who got really affected that they abandoned the faith and became unbelievers or atheist (or whatever it’s called)..
    Bottom line, i thank God for God. HE’s definitely in control regardless of how we feel about certain situations.

  13. Whatever

    July 4, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Nice write up Ayo.
    The bible says in all thy getting. get UNDERSTANDING.
    There is a thin line between obeying the voice of God and FOOLISHNESS.
    I just cant phantom how people sow what was meant for something or even sow school fees.
    God will never ask you to do that.

  14. Brizola

    July 4, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    I can totally relate. I grew up in a family where my mum was obsessed with these pastors especially the ones with spiritual eyes. These prophets were obviously less educated or exposed but they made her do crazy things. Fast for days and nights, spiritual and physical warfare against the unknown. Their lives were obviously not better than ours and I always wondered why they couldn’t pray themselves out of poverty. I grew up as a sceptic. I just moved to abuja and I have attended different churches but I’m yet to find one I am at peace with. I particularly liked one for the serene atmosphere but the pastor was weird, she had a way of making me feel bad or guilty after every sermon. The other one had an exciting choir but the pastor was too prosperity conscious. Money, money money!!! How can you tell your congregation that they will all buy brand new cars not Tokunbo before the end of the year? They all screamed Amen. But they have to sow more.. I have decided to be the best human being I can be and be kind to humanity. I have a personal relationship with God now and I am at peace. I have been to church just twice this year..

    • Sandoria

      July 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Brizola, I live in Ab as well, I was fortunate enough to find a church which have turned to a family. Here’s my email add, I’ll really like for you to write so I can send add. [email protected] thanks

  15. BijouxthisBijouxthat

    July 4, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Wow! Interesting experiences from you all. I totally can’t relate because the organization I belong to 100% relies on the Bible, doesn’t hero worship human beings, don’t have pastors, we are all brothers and sisters.
    But I see all the experiences related all around me with how my friends are deeply enamored with these charlatans.
    What I can say MAKE THE TRUTH YOUR OWN!

  16. Omotayo

    July 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Dear Ayo, I love the way you ended it “let God be God”. As believers we need to be wise and not worship man, we shouldn’t judge. If you focus on man you will miss it. We should also receive sense because wisdom is profitable to direct. Just connect to your God in worship, everyone will be judged individual on the last day and not according to the denomination or how many times we went to church.

  17. Nuna

    July 5, 2017 at 10:10 am

    If its not the Catholic church, forget it. Its not for me. I dont understand why people run around like headless chickens looking a ‘good church’. You will never know peace doing that. God is everywhere, even under your bed. Be still, and just maybe, you will hear His voice.

  18. Que

    July 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Quite true what is written here by Ayo and UNN Babe….BUT I will still say my dad and NCF built my character. I was a member of NCF in EBSU in my school days and I am a Dominion city member till date. Maybe am wrong but i will say the problem lies with the person who got deceived. The instruction that you acted upon from your pastor, did you lay it side by side with what God said? In EBSU, no one could use anybody’s brain. Yes we had programs that we funded but it was never by force because everyone was involved. No one sowed their school fees nor did extra year but rather extra mural classes were held for our juniors. All programs were fixed based on students timetable to avoid clashing. I was a mere worker but i knew these things and i taught in the extra mural division. Am not saying these things don’t exist…they do but it boils down to the deceiver and deceivee. Be gentle as a dove and also be wise as the serpent. When one of our pastors was accused of double dealing with girls, he was taken off his office immediately pending when all facts are gathered.

    I never sowed into student pastor’s life but there are welfare packages from the church for them and gifts from members. If you ever preach that bullcrap of sowing into your life, we report you straight to Npa (Rev David Ogueli). Same still reside in DC till date. We honour our pastors on their birthday but voluntarily if you are led. And the teachings I got from DC/NCF i apply still work for me till date and so they are very realistic…[email protected] UNN Babe.

  19. Bimbo

    July 6, 2017 at 2:02 am

    How would people not be gullible when you believe tales like jonah being swallowed by a whale for three days ? Off course you will be a mugun .

  20. paul

    July 6, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Ibiyesimama, can u tell me the church u mentioned please?

  21. ChurchGirl

    July 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I dunno about you guys but NCF, UNN helped me big time. I didn’t sow my school fees, I always paid my tithe, I was very very active in church… I had a conviction and nothing deterred me. I knew the life I lived before DC so, I literally saw my life transformed. As for my academics, I aced… very well. So, when people decide to follow something other than the word of God, I don’t blame the church. I blame their personal relationship with God.

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