Any law-abid­ing church has these rules in place al­ready

The Africa Report - - COUNTRY FOCUS - Fran­cis Bola Akin-john

Ev­ery re­spon­si­ble na­tion will want to en­act good laws to help in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the church, to func­tion prop­erly. For churches that have branches in Europe and North Amer­ica, you will no­tice that the laws guid­ing churches in those places are more strin­gent than the ones in Nige­ria. Here, not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing churches, are reg­is­tered un­der the 1990 Com­pa­nies and Al­lied Mat­ters De­cree. Nige­ria’s Code of Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance is sim­ply a lit­tle am­pli­fi­ca­tion

of this de­cree, so any law-abid­ing church should find it easy to op­er­ate by. I’ve re­alised most of the op­po­si­tion to this law is com­ing from Pen­te­costal and Evan­gel­i­cal churches, and this is no sur­prise. Most of these churches are not or­gan­ised or trans­par­ent in how they run their in­sti­tu­tions. They are shrouded in se­crecy when it comes to money or suc­ces­sion mat­ters, and there is no proper gov­er­nance in place. A leader of­ten re­mains in po­si­tion for life and when he dies, his wife or chil­dren take over. This is the prac­tice the code is try­ing to change. Other in­sti­tu­tions, such as the Catholic and Angli­can churches, are in­dif­fer­ent be­cause they al­ready have sys­tems in place that con­form to this law. Per­son­ally, I think it’s a shame to wait for the gov­ern­ment to en­act a code to reg­u­late the lead­er­ship, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and ac­count­abil­ity, re­tire­ment, suc­ces­sion and gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion of a church. We are now bound by the code be­cause any reg­is­tered church is bound by the laws of the land and must obey what the gov­ern­ment says, ex­cept when it is against the scrip­tures or against the clear lead­ing of the Lord. I dis­agree when my Chris­tian coun­ter­parts say the gov­ern­ment has no right to in­ter­fere in church af­fairs. It is worth not­ing that we are first cit­i­zens of our coun­try be­fore we be­come cit­i­zens of heaven. There are ex­am­ples of pas­toral suc­ces­sion, both bib­li­cal and prac­ti­cal. In the Bi­ble, Joshua suc­ceeded Moses and Solomon suc­ceeded David, even while David was still alive. Prac­ti­cally speak­ing, I know of lead­ers in Nige­ria who have handed over to their suc­ces­sors while they are still alive so that the work can con­tinue smoothly. The ad­van­tage is that they are able to mon­i­tor their suc­ces­sor and pro­vide guid­ance so that the min­istry can keep on flour­ish­ing. The code doesn’t say a leader’s min­istry has come to an end when he or she hands over power. The law sim­ply says that ev­ery

I think it’s a shame to wait for the gov­ern­ment to en­act a code to reg­u­late lead­er­ship

over­seer or church founder must have a suc­ces­sion plan in place so the church doesn’t be­come a per­sonal en­ter­prise for per­sonal gain. A leader can still teach, travel around the world and pro­vide per­sonal coun­selling. When he or she is more than 70 years old, it is best to leave the day-to­day run­ning of the church to some­one else who is equally ca­pa­ble to lead ef­fec­tively.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Botswana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.