In Part 1 of this series, I discussed why the church should play a leading role in the task of building a developed Nigeria. In Part 2 of the series, I addressed the first role and what I consider the main starting point – Prayer. In this Part 3, we will delve into the next role – Messaging. The remaining 6 key roles will be covered in the coming months.
The messaging of the church has the power to make the first role (prayer) and every other role most effective. In fact, I believe that our biggest hindrance to nation-building is the lack of the correct messaging from our churches.
Why is Messaging important?
Messaging is communication. We communicate verbally, non-verbally, through our modeling and through our mentoring. These are the 4 keys ways human beings learn.
So, the teachings we listen to, the messages we watch, the model of behaviour we note of our leaders in church and our direct or indirect interactions with the church leadership shapes our mindset, core values and ultimately, our actions concerning Nigeria.
When we add into this mix the fact that our church leadership is our biggest influencer by virtue of their spiritual authority and that we the members religiously attend at least two church services each week, it is not hard to see that the church’s messaging carries enormous weight among her members and is so important for nation-building.
What are the key areas the church messaging should focus on?
Responsibility: The New Testament indicates that the era of a king taking the responsibility for the people had ended with the Old Testament and now, the work of building the kingdom is undertaken by every member of that kingdom. If it is true for the church, it must also be true for Nigeria.
Through the correct church’s messaging, the king mindset can be dismantled and in doing so, many more members will accept responsibility for Nigeria and contribute actively in her development.
Without responsibility, we cannot take ownership of our various challenges and lead the development and delivery of solutions. The change is in our hands and not just that of the government. It is the church’s role to communicate this verbally, non-verbally and through modeling and mentoring.
Love: The greatest commandment given by Jesus – the love of God and of man – expresses itself in sacrificial acts of compassion. True compassion is manifested when we give up our comfort, convenience and desires to implement change in the lives of others.
The church’s messaging will produce a lot more citizens who will shift focus from self to the nation because of love for other citizens.
Nation-building Core Values: Love gives birth to compassion and compassion is the first of the nation-building core values:
Compassion Opportunity Responsibility Equality
Valour Ambition Liberty Enterprise Spirituality
These are values regularly seen in the heroes of the faith in biblical times up till modern times. Therefore, the church must lead in teaching these values and as said earlier, it must be verbal, non-verbal, modeling and mentoring. We will replace the current negative values if we speak less about them and instead demonstrate the nation-building core values more.
I will make bold to say that the church ceases to exist in her true form when these core values are non-existent.
God’s Plan: Our enormous resources and potential do affirm the point that God intends for Nigeria to be blessed and also to be a blessing to the rest of the world, particularly the black race. This has always been God’s process.
The creation ofNigeria may have been a mistake but God does take mistakes and works out His purpose. This kind of messaging helps to create big dreams in the heart of members and it also ensures that when we become a developed nation, the task of nation-building will not plateau but rather the momentum will be sustained until Africa and the rest of the world is transformed.
National Identity: Through her messaging, the church can help create a more united people, after all members are from various parts of Nigeria but currently prioritise ethnic group over the nation.
Beyond unity, the church can through messaging cause a shift from a fixed mindset (one that says nothing can change) to a growth mindset (one that believes in possibilities).
Still under national identity, the church can cause a shift from the rent-seeking mindset produced by our oil economy to a productive mindset that will harness our numerous resources yet untapped.
The church is a global body but she must also be locally relevant. Her messaging can help create the new National Identity that is passionate about Nigeria, puts the nation above ethnicity and self, innovative, law abiding and sacrificial.
Volunteering: To accomplish the enormous task of building a developed nation, much of the work would have to be done via volunteering. This involves people volunteering their time, expertise, experience and other resources to achieve a nation-building objective.
The church has enormous human resources with a great influence in it. Through her messaging, she can mobilize members to her nation-building initiatives and also inculcate the volunteering culture into members who will also volunteer at their communities, alumni, workplace, etc.
If the church accepts the reasons why she must lead in nation-building and genuinely pray for Nigeria’s development, I fully believe that the church will change her current messaging. When her messaging changes, the nation-building train will witness a rise in passengers (committed citizens) and speed (more momentum and spread of impact).
Knowing this, would you challenge your church leadership to change her messaging?