For you to enjoy this piece and make the most out of it, you would need to shove aside your religious biases and idiosyncrasies for a moment.
Nigerian pastors are ranked to be the richest in the world and the simple reason why churches flourish and boom as a business in Nigeria is because Nigerians are tremendously religious and we also have a large population; over two hundred million people out of which half of that size are Christians.
Most of these Christians live up to some “christianly” religious laws and virtues that fetch money into the coffers of the church and Nigerian pastors no doubt have mastered the skills of squeezing this popular Christain trigger phrases, hence why Nigerian pastors are ranked richest in the world. Some of these religious laws and Christain-like virtues include; you have to pay 10% of your total earnings immediately after the earnings hit your bank if not you are robbing God, this is called a tithe. After the tithe, you are also to pay your offerings, which could even be bigger than your tithe, it can as well be all you have, which is religiously called “the widow’s might”, or as the spirit leads you or as God places in your heart to; after offering you are also to sow seeds. Sowing of seeds so you reap a bountiful harvest, in tens of millions of folds, after then, you are also to pay your first fruits.
How rich are Nigerian pastors or Nigerian Christian religious leaders then?: the simple answer is that they are extremely rich, I mean they are extravagantly wealthy. Riches and wealth are in categories but there is this highest category which people on the street refer to as “private jet rich”. When a person is so rich that he or she can afford a private jet and owns a private jet, then that fellow is on another level of wealth and riches. Most Nigerian pastors and Christain religious leaders are on this level.
It is in this 21st century that pastors in Nigeria have made being a pastor glamorous and appealing as against the earlier belief that once you’ve decided to be a pastor or priest you have signed up to be abjectly poor for life and dedicate your life solely to the service of God and in the service of humanity.
Nigerian pastors now drive the latest models of exotic cars. There was a car that is currently owned by a popular Nigerian “wealthy pastor “ and it is rumored that the car is just one in Nigeria and he is currently the only person that owns that kind of car in Nigeria. You guessed right, the car is extremely expensive. If a politician dares to purchase that car it will be confiscated because it will be so obvious that it was acquired using stolen public funds. It is so eye soothing and scintillating to see Nigerian pastors driving exotic cars in convoys like Rolls Royce, Maybach, Range Rover, Bentley, Porsche, and even Private jets, all the latest models. This is to show that serving God truly pays; the payment can be in life after death and as well payment in material wealth here on earth.
Nigerian pastors now wear exotic clothing brands like Gucci, Giorgio Amani, Fendi, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, etc, to preach, a young Christain watching his pastors preach with so much candor and class without breaking a sweat in order not to stain his expensive wears will definitely want to be a pastor.
To those Christain folks with business mindsets, who after seeing some pastors live lavishly and “prosperous”, have considered venturing into the “pastoral career” as well, I have good news for you, becoming a pastor is easy, you do not have to do much; I learned that there is a special qualification to that career which is “getting called by God”, but I doubt if that matters much, all you need is to learn how to speak convincingly and persuasively, then learn to preach in well spoken English with candor and class so you can appeal to the elite Christians, then learn to dress well also; and lest I forget, location matters in everything, or haven’t you thought about why the rich pastors are concentrated in rich cities like Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Warri, oh yes, that’s where the money is, rich people reside in those cities. Don’t even think you will be rich; I mean Roll Royce and Private Jet Rich if you go to some places like Taraba or Nasarawa state to situate your church, even though our God can bless anybody anywhere but you also need to make it easier for God to bless you, the money you need is not in those states because they have a lesser population as Christians and the state is not also flourishing economically.
For you to be successful as a pastor, you need to master these religious persuasive phrases which some were lifted out of scriptural passages like; reaping in bountiful harvest or reaping in ten or million folds, give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, press down and shaken together and running over shall men give back unto you, you must learn to recite the above phrase with vigor during offering time if you want to collect a good offering from members; can a man rob God, if you do not pay your tithe you are robbing God, this phrase is important before tithe collection; your first fruit which is your first earning for the year belongs to God, this phrase is good to be said at the starting of the year so your members who may be stubborn will pay everything they earned at the beginning of the year as their first fruits.
You also need to create a budget for marketing and advertising, just like in business, nobody will patronize you if they do not know you, so spend money on social media marketing and also on mainstream advertising. Also, create a budget to invite popular gospel musicians to your church and even entertainers like comedians, oh yes, you read right, that is a good strategy to draw members to your church after all the Bible says that there is time for everything things even a time to laugh and be entertained in the church by secular comedians and entertainers.
When you have gathered those new members through different acquisition strategies, you also need to retain them and convert them to full-time members of your church, you can do this by what they call “follow up”. You need a department in the church to handle this because this is an important strategy. Constantly call them and remind them of church services, if they are influential members of society, make them leaders in church, make him or her a deacon or a deaconess. You should pay more attention to the rich and affluent members of the church, they hold the key to that private jet you want.
Most importantly, do not pay church workers from monies made by the church, or do you want to reduce your pastoral ration? All the money made is for you and for the expansion of the church (the work of ministry), after all, the church workers are in service of the Lord and their rewards are in heaven, they can only be carnal to be expecting a material or earthly pay for their heavenly service, their reward is in heaven. They should as well count themselves worthy to be chosen to serve in the vineyard of the Lord.
Also make sure to be close to the government in power and closer to the reigning politicians of the day so you can get contracts, pecks, and grants from the government. After all, you serve a God of multiple sources of income. Do not even think of criticizing the government even when the Government is doing something wrong, that will be you biting the finger that feeds you. if people ask you why you do not speak against the ill vices of the government as a religious leader, keep this scripture handy to support your silence; “give to God what belongs to God and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar; pastors are called to tend to the spiritual flocks and not to mingle with politics after all politics is a dirty game”. Your audience will applaud you, I promise you that they won’t know that why you are quite over the ills and vices of the government is that you do not want to be in the black book of the government and stop getting those contracts and pecks from the government. In the same vien, make sure you do not preach against your church members with questionable source of income, if not they might be angry and leave your church, all that should concern you is how to get the money out of their hands into the church offering box, leave judgment for God.
Finally, spending money on good music and sound equipment and good interior decorations also helps. Have you not thought of why nightclubs and expensive restaurants rip their patrons off with inflated prices? it’s just the packaging and branding. Package and brand your church to be an elite or first-class church and you will attract elites and first-class members of the societies as members.
You see that I have not mentioned miracles or good knowledge of the Bible; you do not need to be a miracle worker or have a good knowledge of the Bible to be a successful pastor in Nigeria today, although if your prayers can perform miracles and you can break down scripture then that is a plus; that is why you should brand yourself to appeal to elite Christians, elite Christians do not care much about miracles all they want is a good and cozy environment to worship their God and pay back to God through fat offerings and tithes.
I’m sure with the bullet points I have highlighted here, you have gotten some points you need to set you apart in starting your church business and flourishing in it but do not forget to sow seeds to me for this eye opener I have given you when the business starts to boom.
Praise the Lord somebody!