Any law-abiding church has these rules in place already
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.