Pentecostal megachurches promoting a prosperity gospel, led by millionaire superstar pastors promising economic salvation and HIV cures, are on the rise in Nigeria, a report has said.
DW.com attended a service of one of the churches in question and charted the growth in an article on Tuesday, noting that congregations are expanding and attracting multitudes to mass events.
One ministry highlighted was that of preacher David Oyedepo, whose Living Faith Church outside Lagos is Nigeria’s third biggest Pentecostal church.
“The siege of unemployment is over in your life, the siege of business stagnation, frustration in your life are finally over,” Oyedepo promises to crowds of 50,000 people.
The multi-millionaire pastor has a net worth of over $150 million, and is building an even larger church that will have the capacity to seat 100,000 people.
Nigeria is roughly divided by its Muslim and Christian population. Half of its close to 80 million Christians are members of Pentecostal churches, attracted partially by promises of finding economic salvation and their lives being changed.
DW.com reported on one instance where it was treated with suspicion as it attended a service led by Oyedepo.
“The crowd cannot stay seated when their pastor finally shows up. Oyedepo is celebrated like a star. It is in this moment of absolute devotion and ecstasy that huge yellow baskets are passed around to collect the offerings,” the article describes.
“Offerings are accepted outside the church, too. And the big donation baskets fill quickly. People believe that the more you give during and after the church service, the more your wealth will increase.”
Some of the items that churchgoers are encouraged to buy are $5 olive oil bottles that promise to cure HIV, though that is a significant investment in a country where the minimum wage is $50 per month.
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Source: Christian Post