In order to improve administrative capacity, church leaders have been urged to endeavor to be abreast of legal matters, which relate to religious institutions. This formed the crux of discussion at the launch of Church Administration in Nigeria: In the Eye of the Law, written by pastor and lawyer, Michael Oyagha.
In his opening remarks, Lagos State Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Shola Ore, extolled the author for publishing the book which he said, "is what the church needs at this time."
Urging all church leaders to get a copy of the book, Ore said, "Church administration is almost non-existent presently. There are many churches that are not registered and so most of the time government policies, especially on tax matters, are always viewed as anti-Christ and targeted at the church."
Ore said PFN would be organising a seminar for pastors where the author will serve as resource person to make sure "we are not running fowl of the law."
The Attorney-General of Oyo State, Mr Oluseun Abimbola, while giving his keynote address through his representative, Mr. Bori Ogundiran, noted that upon incorporation a church becomes a legal entity entitled to some rights but that it is also saddled with obligations.
According to him, "Many principles, procedures and techniques used in today's business world apply in churches and its leadership. The church enjoys some rights and it is saddled with obligations which its governing body must adhere to and it must reflected in its governing documents."
While reviewing the book, Pastor Ejinkeonye Ugochukwu, said the book had been long awaited as some of the many avoidable embarrassment, which the church had been embroiled in, could have been avoided.
He said, "The need for church organisations and all their subsidiaries to perfect their papers are examined by the author. Virtually every critical aspect of church administration is touched. I have a grouse with the author actually because this book is coming late. It would have helped prevent many embarrassing issues confronting the church presently."
Also speaking at the launch, the Registrar, International Gospel Ministers Conference of the Ark, Pastor Mike Iheanacho, said most church leaders suffer from lack of knowledge as was captured in the scripture many years ago in the book of Hosea, adding, "With a book like this we can't quantify what instruments we have got in our hands for church administration" noting that being involved in interdenominational activities, he had observed so many things that are taken for granted by the church, which could have serious legal ramifications.
The author said the book would serve as a guide to church leaders in relation to the country's relevant laws which would invariably prevent many of the avoidable embarrassment that are often caused as a result of ignorance. He also revealed that he got instruction to write the book through divine inspiration he got at work.
According to him, "I got the inspiration with the topic at work. The only thing that was changed in the title was 'in the eye of the law,' from 'through the eye of the law' which was a suggestion by the publisher."