I am going to say this even though I know your stone will be waiting for me. But I’ll still say it anyway. Those that will agree with me, will. And a whole lot will not agree. No problems at all.
At their infancy stage, both Christ Embassy and Winners Chapel (Living Faith) propagated the belief that “come the way you are; God will change you afterwards”. They allowed people to put on any type of rubbish into the sanctuary. They made it look like a business strategy to win more “customers” from other churches so that the church will grow.
They studied the weaknesses of other denominations, especially the Orthodox churches like Catholic (non charismatic), Presbyterian and Methodists. They strategized on how to “win” souls. And they actually won them. And they made each soul to feel like a king, after all he that winneth a soul is wise.
You know what happens when a new product hits the market. They will reduce price. They will engage in intensive advertisement. They will even go door to door. They will brand their packets with flashy colors so as to appeal to the “customers’”. They may lower the standard set by the monopolies. Their aim is to join the competition. And when they gain a foot at the market, they will relax back to the regulated standard.
This was exactly what these two churches did. Instead of staying in church from 8am to 1pm, they slashed it into three services. Why will you sit one place for that long? Don’t you have something doing? Come! We will make it 8am to 9:30am. The next will come in after you. Isn’t that wonderful?
And instead of singing old mama songs, let’s add some reggae to it. Let’s dance. This place is your own party house. Dance the way you used to dance at party houses. Hold a sister and give her a “holy” rock song. Sing aloud. Dance and sweat. This is your own party house. And a short while into the service, a comedian is invited to “spice up” the service.
Little by little, the world crept in.
When you dress like a stripper to church, the ushers will inform the pastor that a new soul has been added. The pastor will call you forward to the cheering of the crowd. You will be admonished to stay. You will be entertained with drinks and sausage. You will be intensively followed up. NOBODY will tell her she is dressed improperly. She doesn’t need head ties. Soon, that soul finds that this is the true house of God, and she will refer to her former church as “boring”.
Meanwhile, that same newcomer will not dare dress like that to a service in The Lord’s Chosen or Deeper Life Bible Church. Invite him or her to deeper life, she will intuitively dress properly. Nobody will tell her that here we use head ties. Nobody will admonish her to cover her body. She will naturally know how to dress.
But the moment she is going to Winners, she becomes lousy in dressing. In case she dares her soul into Deeper Life, trust me, the ushers will get a huge braid of wrapper and embalm her head untill they will start looking for her ear. They will also cover her shoulders as if she has cold, and they will show her where to stay. An usher will always have her eyes on her.
Ask yourself, will you dare dress like that to Deeper Life? Will you try it when going to MFM? Will you use that sleeveless top when you are going to Catholic or Assemblies of God’s Church? You only do that when you are going to Winners and Christ Embassy because you know they won’t correct you.
My greatest pain is that Bishop David Oyedepo and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome did not realize that a lot of young pastors looked up to them as role models. They began to copy so many of them. There is a church called BEAUTIFUL MINISTERIES in Awka. Oh mehn, you need to go there and see, except if they have modified their service formulas. Many young men began to fry their hairs because they want to imitate Pastor Chris.
Ok, I actually followed this development acutely. Bishop David Oyedepo soon began to realize that people are beginning to abuse the laxity he let. People started to think Winners is where you do as you like. So, he began to make rules to curtail these trends. But, the seed had gouged enough fibre that changing became Herculean. The people were already used to this new found freedom. And if you try to insist, you will sound rude.
At a time, I saw one message of Dr. Paul Enenche where he recounted how he lashed out at a supposed church member who dressed so shabbily. He called her demonic. He tore her ego apart and told her that the church is a sanctuary and not a party house. She was visibly embarrassed and she left. But the message had been passed.
Oh Steve, I know I have opened a can of worms. But God save us. I am convinced that there is an atom of truth in this write-up even if you may not agree with me that all of it are true.
I am an accomplished organist. I have worshiped in all the churches I mentioned except The Anglican Communion.