With owning private jets being the new trend for Nigerian pastors at the moment, I keep wondering whether Jesus would agree to have one if He were in the shoes of these same pastors today. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Bishop David Oyedepo, Enoch Adeboye and Pastor T.B. Joshua are Nigerian pastors reported to have private jets.
As a christian who believes a lot in humility, I disagree with the ownership of such luxurious vessels in the name of evangelism. Here are the reasons why I feel that private jets are not necessary for christian leaders;
1) Diplomats and International business executives manage travelling a lot without it; there are many jobs that require a lot of travel such as being a diplomat or an international aid worker or a top level executive of an international firm. A lot of people travel frequently and globally as part of their job without the aid of a private jet and so, why can’t pastors do the same? Some of the rich business executives probably travel more than these pastors. Even the pope doesn’t own a private jet, and he is responsible for all catholic churches across the world! Honestly, it is hard to muster up an excuse for a pastor’s private jet when even the pope doesn’t own one.
2) Private jets actually hamper evangelism by consuming more time, effort and money than a commercial flight; The time and effort needed to maintain a private jet and keep it running is ridiculous when one considers the fact that a commercial flight is a far cheaper and less tedious service to use for global evangelism. As a private jet owner, you will have to think about numerous issues such as the pilot’s fees and demands, the scheduling of the maintenance or repairs of the plane, and also the international restrictions/laws regarding the flight of the private jet. This means that a private jet owner will have less time to think about preaching the word of God because of all the time and effort spent on the private jet’s issues. A first cla$$ commercial flight will only involve buying your ticket online, checking in and then going early for your flight-isn’t that just easier?
3) Jesus rode on donkeys and not on chariots; horses and chariots were the highest level of transport in biblical times but Jesus chose to humbly enter the city of Jerusalem with a donkey in what we know as the triumphal entry in the New Testament. Conversely, we have pastors riding on the highest levels of transports in the form of private jets that reeks of the very materialism that Jesus speaks against in Matthew 6;24.
4) Private jets are bad for the Nigerian economy; private jets and planes in general are not manufactured in Nigeria and so, a lot of the repairs and maintenance will require importation of labour and spare parts from countries like the USA or Canada. This also means that lot of transactions will be done in thousands of Dollars, rather than our local Naira. One can imagine the exorbitant cost to the Nigerian private jet owner if he or she has to pay the pilots, technicians and mechanics in Dollars given that the exchange rate doesn’t favour the Naira. Should a church really contribute to this leakage to our economy?
5) Private jets do not help the image of Nigerian leaders; one has to consider the bad image our Nigerian leaders have in the eyes of the foreign press- flamboyant and corrupt people who care little for the suffering of their impoverished ma$$es. A pastor owning a private jet worth millions of dollars while many of his church members struggle to survive everyday is not going to help such an image.
Whatever happened to the John the Baptist type of preachers who lived a chaste life not corrupted by the illusions of vanity? I think some of our religious leaders should learn from Jose Mujica, a man who chose a simple life despite wielding so much power and influence as the president of Uruguay.