Why I Stopped Tithe and Offering Payments in My Church — Pastor

1. Introduction

Pastor Oye Baruwa of the INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Talitakumi parish in Ijoko, Ogun State, recently made a significant decision to halt the collection of tithes and offerings in his church. In an interview with AJIBADE OMAPE, he discusses the reasons behind this decision and its implications for his congregation and the broader community.

2. Motivations Behind the Decision

Prophet Dr. Emmanuel Baruwa, widely known as Baba Talitakumi, leads the INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church Talitakumi parish in Ijoko Otta, Ogun State. He cites multiple reasons for ceasing the collection of tithes and offerings. Foremost among them is the severe economic hardship faced by many Nigerians, particularly following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

Baruwa noticed that many congregants struggled to attend services due to high transportation costs and the skyrocketing prices of basic necessities. This observation led him to empathize deeply with their plight. “If I stop the offering, it doesn’t mean I will not eat. If I stop the tithes, it doesn’t mean God will not send a helper to me,” he explained. This decision reflects his belief that the spiritual needs of his congregation should not come at the expense of their physical well-being.

3. Impact of Economic Hardships

The economic conditions in Nigeria have severely impacted the lives of ordinary citizens. The cost of transportation and food has risen dramatically, making it difficult for many to afford even the basics. Baruwa illustrated this with the example of a church member who spends a significant portion of their limited funds on transportation to attend services. This financial strain is exacerbated when they feel obligated to contribute to church offerings.

Baruwa’s decision is rooted in compassion and understanding of these economic realities. He argues that forcing individuals to give money they can scarcely afford contradicts the spirit of true giving and the teachings of the Bible. “Many people believe the Bible says we should pay for offerings in Church, and it is when we pay for offerings that God will bless us.

4. Community and Congregational Support

In addition to ceasing the collection of tithes and offerings, Baruwa has implemented measures to support his congregation during these challenging times. Every first Sunday of the month, his church distributes food to those in need. This initiative began last year and aims to alleviate some of the financial burdens faced by his church members.

Baruwa also plans to sell essential food items like rice and garri at significantly reduced prices during church programs. For instance, he mentioned selling a bag of rice worth N80,000 for just N20,000 to church members and community residents, including non-Christians. This initiative underscores his commitment to supporting the community irrespective of their religious affiliations.

5. Reactions from Other Churches

Baruwa’s call for other pastors to adopt similar measures has not been widely embraced. He observes that many pastors are reluctant to stop collecting tithes and offerings, driven by a desire to maintain their financial status. “Many of them are not doing so.

Despite this, Baruwa remains steadfast in his decision, confident that true divine calling involves providing for the congregation’s needs. He cites his mentor, Primate Babatunde Elijah, as an influence on his firm stance against collecting offerings during economic downturns.

6. Historical Context of the Decision

This is not the first time Baruwa has suspended the collection of offerings. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his church similarly refrained from asking for tithes and offerings, though this decision was not publicly announced at the time. Following the pandemic, the practice resumed but has now been halted again in light of the current economic difficulties.

Baruwa emphasizes that his actions are guided by his faith and the teachings of his mentor. He believes that true pastoral care involves understanding and addressing the hardships faced by church members, even if it means challenging traditional practices.

7. Addressing Public Perceptions

The viral nature of Baruwa’s decision on social media was unintended. He clarifies that his actions were not motivated by a desire for attention but by genuine concern for his congregation. “For me, I didn’t believe what I did in my church could go viral.

The decision was influenced by both divine guidance and the economic realities observed within his community. He recounts an instance where two female congregants discussed their financial struggles, which further solidified his resolve to stop collecting offerings.

8. Conclusion

Pastor Oye Baruwa’s decision to halt the collection of tithes and offerings in his church is a bold and compassionate response to the economic hardships faced by many Nigerians. By prioritizing the well-being of his congregation and offering tangible support, he sets an example of pastoral care that goes beyond traditional practices. His actions challenge other religious leaders to reconsider their approaches and emphasize the importance of empathy and support during difficult times.

 

 

 

 

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