Pastor Sunday Adelaja, Kings Capital and Multi-Level Marketing in the church
I dont know much about Sunday Adelaja, pastor of Embassy Church in Kiev, and the whole issue of Kings Capital. But, I do know that this issue is definitely having major impact on how Protestantism is now viewed and will continue to be viewed in Ukraine. Even if Sunday Adelaja is declared innocent at the end of all the court hearings, extensive damage and impact is already done.
Below is a link of Ukrainian television show discussing Pastor Sunday Adelaja, & Kings Capital. As you’ll see during the show, there are current members of his church present, people who were past members and were led to invest into Kings Capital and lost big, his lawyer who is currently representing him in court, phycologists, and others. Certainly, this is a secular show and they are unfair to Protestant Christians; even if Pastor Sunday made mistakes and is guilty, this show could have been more balanced.
That’s not the point.
The reason Im posting this is because we as pastors must be continuously reminded that we are called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastors must be very careful to not allow multi-level marketing to creep into the church. The pulpit cannot be used to promote & preach anything else than the Gospel. As pastors, people open up to us in ways that they wont to others. We are often one of the first people physically present in others’ lives when tragedy, death, accidents, birth, wedding, divorce, relationship conflicts, and other significant events happen. The words, recommendations and actions of pastors often play a heavier role and impact, when compared to someone else in the community. What is spoken behind the pulpit is given more value than what is spoken elsewhere.
All churches and minsters will often be approached by people in the church, dear & giving members with great intentions, who will try to use the pulpit for a small announcement, a small advertisement, a “good deal.” We must be firm in our stance & say no, even if we lose a relationship or two. But it happens all the time, in conservative and non-conservative churches. May we all learn from the situation of “Kings Capital.”
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of churches are able to hire their pastors, and pay their salary. In 70% of the churches in the United States, pastors are bi-vocational. It is in these cases that pastors must walk a very thin, balanced line. Ill share what I mean from personal experience. For almost 2 years of my life, I had a Real Estate license and helped people buy & sell homes. But as I got more and more involved in ministry, I quickly realized my “sales” position was often in conflict with ministry. When I would meet with someone for fellowship or counseling, I realized some people struggled especially if they had just bought or sold a home, and they didn’t do it through me. Even though it didn’t affect me and how I viewed them, people still genuinely cared for me, wanted me to be successful in business, but for many great or unknown reasons to me, used another person for their Real Estate needs (like their uncle or cousin!). I noticed that church members felt they needed to apologize to me, a part-time Real Estate agent, for not going through me. It affected many past relationships, and possibly kept new relationship from forming. Sensing that conflict, I surrendered my Real Estate license. Fortunately, I was blessed to be offered to work full-time at my church, City On A Hill, and provide for my family.
I use my personal story to share how business and ministry can easily come into conflict. As a pastor, every encounter & conversation I have with a person or family – I want there to be no barrier that can interfere. When a pastor is into multi-level marketing, many families and individuals will be hesitant to meet, afraid that if the pastor insists that they join the network, they will not be able to deny him.
To the pastors that work part or full time outside the church – my prayers are for you. You are the real heroes. My the Lord give you wisdom, integrity & character. May the Lord help you walk this fine line of balance.
To the pastors who are entertaining thoughts of business network marketing, pray really hard. Multi-level marketing leaders know that if they are able to get the pastor in, even if he doesnt say a word to anyone from the pulpit, it makes their job easy! Right away, they can go to any member of the church, only mention to them that the pastor is a part of it, and gain trust and momentum to sell a certain product or service which they otherwise would not initially have. Multi-level marketing leaders are after you! And theyll be after me, for writing this post. Its ok; Kings Capital and the story of Pastor Sunday Adelaja will help me brush them off.
And now, here are the links of the TV show.
PS. I watched a recent video of Pastor Sunday Adelaja doing an interview w/ CNL President Maxim Maximov. During that interview, Maxim Maximov questioned Pastor Sunday Adelaja’s current marking scheme of selling some vitamins/drugs. During the video, Maxim Maximov played a video where Pastor Sunday Adelaja says, “Look at me. Do I look great? Its all because of this vitamin…..” Ironically, this pill can only be purchased through the leaders/pastors associated with Embassy Church. Sad. Here are the links to this interview: Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE8oCVAIN3c&feature=youtu.be and Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rZXzvp3NI8&feature=relmfu
Here is video of Pastor Sunday using the pulpit to speak at these glyconutrients. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpogIgHpZJk
PSS. Keep Pastor Sunday Adelaja in your prayers. At one point, Embassy Church was the largest protestant church not only in Ukraine, but in Europe.