*COVID-19: THE WAYS NIGERIAN CHURCHES CAN SHOW TRUE CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP*
By: Orji Udemezue, KSC
As the global pandemic, Coronavirus (termed Covid-19) ravages the world and causes enormous loss of human lives, and crippling economies around the world, God’s people are facing great dangers and threats to their well-being.
Governments all over the world are announcing all manner of monetary and fiscal policy initiatives and stimulus (or stimuli, if you like), in order to lessen the horrible impact of this pandemic on their people.
Apart from the intervention funds announcements made by the Nigerian Central Bank, which by the way are focused on monetary and financial systems stability, and easy credit to the health sector among others, we have seen no clear fiscal policy initiatives by the Nigerian Government to support many Nigerians and key institutions who may soon face the worst kind of hardships and life-threatening situations (may God forbid this).
We have also not seen any coordinated action by responsible government agencies to ensure that the facilities and materials required to combat and contain Covid-19 are provided in key states/local communities in Nigeria.
Except for God’s mercies and grace, Covid-19, which is highly contagious, could be devastatingly disastrous in Nigerian communities. Many lives may be put in serious danger. Hunger and extreme poverty would be so prevalent.
God’s Church must play very critical roles in seeing to the welfare of people who are or may soon become less privileged in the current circumstances. God’s Church and Caesar’s State must collaborate in this trying time.
The biblical mandates of the Church include:
1) Bringing men and women to Christ (salvation) – the priestly mandate.
2). Caring for God’s people – the prophetic mandate.
Through these mandates, the Church remains a LIGHT in the dark world.
Again, our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we confess and follow, is seriously interested in the welfare of God’s people (see Matt.25: 31 – 46; James 2: 14 – 17; James 1: 27; among others).
In fact, there is no Christianity without focused and clear attention to the needs of God’s people.
*HOW CAN OUR CHURCHES HELP?*
I contend that this period is a great test to the effective leadership of our Churches, and *I commend all the Churches who have already taken initiatives to touch lives at this critical moment.*
I am persuaded, under the grace of Christ to offer the following suggestions to our Churches in Nigeria as God’s people go through a worst kind of plague in the land:
1. Our Churches must continue to offer sincere prayers to God Almighty – for His mercies and healing powers upon our lands.
2. Churches must beef up their food banks for the poor and badly affected – (with proper guideline put in place).
3. Churches can convert some of their giant properties to isolation centres in partnership with government and/or medical institutions.
4. Churches that own medical centres/ mission hospitals must quickly equip them for Covid-19 intervention activities.
5. Churches can also donate medical facilities and equipment (test kits, masks, ventilators, respirators, hospital beds, useful drugs, etc) to government or private hospitals that attend to Covid-19 patients.
6. Entrepreneurship committees should provide some “interest-free” loans (and in some cases, grants) to micro-small businesses – especially for widows and other women who struggle to support their families.
7. Encourage the wealthy members amongst them to extend generous gifts (directly) to affected families. A Church Committee can be set up to drive this.
8. Organize constant health awareness sessions (particularly online) as well as business survival tips for families.
I am certain that God would be pleased when our Churches take these initiatives to support His people.
*Church means “God’s people” as much as it does the “Institutions” which worship and follow Christ/God.*
It is my sincere prayer that God’s grace will see us through this pestilence and danger.
Fervent prayers of God’s people avails much; so we must keep the faith by praying unceasingly while doing the good works that prove our faith.
I wish you all God’s protection and deliverance now and forevermore. Amen.
From Your Brother and Friend,
Sir Orji Udemezue