Paying Church Workers: RCCG Minister’s Suicide Sparks Debate

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A Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) music minister, Michael Arowosaiye, has been in the news recently after he allegedly committed suicide over his inability to cater for his accommodation bills.

According to his friend, the incident happened around 4pm on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Sunnyvale Estate. The deceased allegedly hung himself with his belt.

It was gathered that Michael, who recently ministered during a Youth Praise event at the church, entered into depression over his accommodation issues before taking the drastic step.

The incident, however, has stirred a great deal of controveries. Many think the self-killing minister could have looked for other options to solve his problems; others blame the church for not supporting him financially.

During a breakfast show on Inspiration FM, an Uyo based private radio station, callers shared diverse views on whether or not churches should pay their workers.

A caller, Mr. Valentine, opined that only people who work on full time basis should be paid, while those who work part time should be left to only serve God.

“If you are a part time worker in the church, you don’t need to be paid. But jobs like security should be paid because they are doing it full time. People like instrumentalists do not deserve salaries because they are serving God,” he stated.

Another caller who gave his name as Don JP, said that it was totally wrong for any worker in church, irrespective of their duties, to be paid, saying that the payment would hinder the blessings attached to the services they render.

“As I am talking to you now, I am a Sunday School teacher in my church and I’m not getting paid for it. I think people working in church should not be paid because they are serving God. If you pay them, they will not receive the blessings for which you are serving. When Hezekiah wanted to die, he asked God to remember his labour and spare him. If you are collecting the wages, what will you ask God to remember when you are in trouble?” he questioned.

Iboro in his contribution, explained that if a church offers people employments with appointment letters, it should pay for their services. He, however, maintained that people serving in choir and other non-administrative areas of the church should not be paid.

To Mr. Onyema, who has been a professional musician for 23 years, the church is the largest employers of musicians in the world. He said musicians in church should be paid as they do not have any other sector in the society where their services are demanded.

“There are action, mission, vocation and profession in music. It behooves the musician to choose what aspect to do in the church. A vast majority of musician do not have something else to do in the society. While driving to work this morning, did you see any music publishing company, music journalism company or even music technology company?

“The church is the highest employer of musicians in the world. That is why, even secular musicians, you can trace their origin to the church. Out of 1000 secular musicians, 999 started from church. So, if the person is serving professionally, be should be paid,” he said.

This debate has existed for donkey years. There seems not to be a middle ground. What works for Peter may not work for Paul. However, if pastors reap the harvests from church, why shouldn’t other workers? Minister Michael would have paid for his accommodation if he was assisted by his church. This is the position of many critics. What is yours?