The founder of True Vine Bible Church, Akure, Pastor Dayo Ajisafe, told Saturday PUNCH that his church had been seriously affected by the current economic situation of the country. Ajisafe added that the attendance on Sunday services in the church had dropped from 500 to between 200 and 350 members, while an average of 90 members attend midweek services. He blamed the development on irregular payment of salaries to workers in the state.
Ajisafe said, “We used to have as much as N350, 000 as offering on Sundays in our services and as much as N1m as tithe monthly. But now, we hardly get N150, 000 as offering and N400, 000 as tithes monthly. “This is because most of our members are civil servants and they are being owed salaries. The little we are getting now comes from the businessmen.”
Pastor Festus Oyewunmi of Arise and Build Bible Church, Ibadan, shared similar experience. Oyewunmi said, “The church is a component of the society. So, what is happening in the society will affect the church. Before, members would pay little, but now, they are not ready to pay anything. In fact, they are looking for ways to get something from the church.
“They want the pastor to dip his hands into his purse and pay for their transport and feeding for a whole month, especially in smaller churches in places like Ibadan.” Also, the Senior Pastor at the Worship Centre and Apostolic Church, Oregun, Lagos, Seyi Adeyemi, described the church as part of the society, saying, “the church consists of people who engage in various economic activities and if they are being impacted by the economic situation in the country, it will affect their ability to meet their obligations in terms of tithes and offering, which are the major sources of revenue for a church that does not engage in commercial activities.”
He added, “If the income of a church reduces, its ability to assist more people will also be curtailed. Be that as it may, people are still expecting more from the church in spite of what is going on. So, most churches now provide transportation to assist members get to church.”
According to Pastor Emmanuel Oyegoke of the Gospel Faith Mission International, Ikorodu, Lagos, the message for the people at this time is to look unto God. He said, “There is no cash flow, there is inflation, there is no fuel, no electricity and there is hike in transport fare. So, it is affecting the purse, businesses, and the health of the people. Some members of my church stay home because of the situation.
“We have told our members to turn to God at this time. You can read it on the faces of many people that they have issues they are passing through. “The cash inflow has dropped. It is when you receive salary that you will pay tithe. The people are just living by faith. If you see anybody in church today that is still paying his tithe and offering the way he used to, you should know it is by faith.”