Nigerian Prophet T.B. Joshua has opened up as to why his church does not have foreign branches despite his popularity abroad.
The cleric, who spoke on Sunday 24th August 2014 at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), stressed on the need for God’s character to be fully established before ministerial expansion.
“I would have loved to have branches all over the world because people want T.B. Joshua everywhere,” he told the congregation. “But it is not yet time because it will be too much for my character. When the load is too heavy for you, it will become a burden.”
He further added that he was not moved by pleas from people but rather relied on God’s instruction. “Not where they want me but where God wants me,” he emphasised, adding that he was not in a haste or hurry and would not jump ahead of God’s timing.
“If you run before God, you cannot run after God,” he continued, explaining that this had been the bane of many businessmen and pastors as their desire to expand superseded their level of character.
His views stand in stark contrast to the popular notion that the amount of branches a church has is indicative of its level of success.
“In a situation where you become so great without God’s character, it means the end is going to be bad,” Joshua went on further to explain, reminding congregants of Jesus’ words in John 14:27 that the world too could provide wealth and fame although with conditions attached.
“When you see someone who is great without God’s character, don’t admire him – pray for him because the beginner is not the owner but the finisher… The beginning and middle are off-record; the end is what will put the record straight.”
The cleric stated that it was even better not to have fame and popularity than to achieve what would eventually end in calamity.
“Character is the one that carries whatever we become. If your wealth is bigger than your character, that wealth will be spending you, not you spending it.”
Joshua stated that one of the secrets of his ministerial success was not being driven by money, explaining that some worshippers were still under canopies in his church not because he lacked the financial capacity to expand but because he was waiting on God.
“There is money to build but money cannot dictate for me. We could expand this place (The SCOAN) and build the biggest church in the world but I allow the Source of money to tell me what to do, not the money itself.”
Joshua also bemoaned the way people complained about their problems as if they bore no responsibility for them, adding that their challenges were not a consequence of God leaving them but rather their choice to live contrary to His ways.
“God does not want you to suffer but you want to suffer,” he soberly stated. “God is always with you but you are not with Him.”
Joshua, who has been the center of several controversies especially within the fold of Nigerian Christendom, added that if not for his persecutors, he would have remained a street-preacher.
According to him, detractors motivated God to bestow more favour and mercy upon his ministry, adding that no billboard can be found advertising The SCOAN yet visitors flock from around the world
“If God has called you, the more they block your way, the more that trouble and temptation, the more God’s love is provoked… Each attempt to stop you asks for more evidence from God.”
The cleric concluded with some profound advice for Christians, calling on them to change their style of prayer. According to Joshua, prayers for blessing, healing and protection were redundant as God is fully aware of the challenges of His children and does not require reminding.
“You need to block the avenue satan is using to afflict you – your weaknesses,”Joshua counseled. “Your prayer should be against weaknesses.”
He further clarified that prayer alone was not enough, stating that genuine desire to desist from bad habits and weaknesses was also essential.
“Live the life of your prayer,” he told the congregation, citing an example that praying for God to help you stop smoking and then picking up a cigarette immediately was akin to hypocrisy. “God always leaves us to play our role before He comes to our rescue,” he concluded.
Ihechukwu Njoku – freelance journalist currently in Lagos, Nigeria