Photo by John Price on Unsplash

What if your Church is a cult too?

When some of the Church leaders get busted for their dirty laundry, my first response is that they are also humans. They make mistakes and sometimes deliberately. I always say the difference between your associate pastor and one caught is that one hasn’t been busted yet.

If your Church is keeping you from your own immediate family, friends, and loved ones, it is not far from a cult. When you spend the whole week doing all church activities except if you’re not an employee of that church, there’s a problem. On many occasions, it’s the members of the church that volunteer to be useful at church, not a problem. When do you get time to be with your family that the church claims to build if on Sunday you’re attending the main service? Monday is a prayer meeting or Intercession, Tuesday Leaders meeting and first weekly service, Wednesday Home Church, Thursday choir and second leadership meeting, Friday is all-night prayer, Saturday Fundraising event, and youth choir concert. If you attend and expected to take part and where do your life and family feature?

Your leader doesn’t mind seeing you working hard but if it’s through his mandates you’re almost in a cult. Going to church every day of your life and every week doesn’t make you holier than nonbelievers. At least nonbelievers spend their time with family even if it’s drinking the whole weekend.

I believe there is one scripture in the Bible, “if you cannot provide for your own immediate family, you’re worse than a non-believer.” We grew up with the hope and fear that the Messiah is coming very soon and we ought to be ready. The misunderstanding was assuming that we have to lock ourselves up in Church every time a leader calls for a meeting or service. Read nothing but the Bible all day. That sounds like being tightened up in a cult.

The question is always, “what if your Church is a cult too and you’re not aware?” What makes it not a cult? All organized gatherings as means to separate you from the world(family), that’s almost a cult. Strange practices that separate your own Church from the rest as the best and holier than others chances its a cult.

The church was meant for the community. Gifts collected there were for the less fortunate and poor even among church members. Building the largest auditorium is the last thing. I don’t blame leaders asking for money and more money because who is going to pay for the church building costs? The problem I have is when we claim to say it’s for God. God didn’t ask for a building, we built it. So let’s fund it too. It makes me wonder when 80% of the South African population is Christianity yet someone will come from somewhere in the continent and start a Church and call it SA FOR JESUS, yet his country is really struggling. I feel like it’s digging for gold in the name…

When you give at Church you are helping with the maintenance of that building and its costs. You are not giving to God. It’s for the bills you’ve created and flown your pastor to wherever he wants to go. I am just exaggerating. I think any movement that is excommunicating you from your own people, culture, family, and society is not far from a cult.



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Malibongwe Sithelo

I'm a freelance writer, a runner and a public servant in South Africa. I write about everyday life experiences.