By Victor Ochieng
Talking about today’s churches, one can’t help but wonder what difference they have with commercial businesses. For one, most of the pastors preach prosperity gospel and enrich themselves using church money. That’s why nowadays it’s okay for a pastor to live in a palatial home worth millions of shillings yet the church members who fund the lifestyle remain poor.
When it comes to succession at the church, most pastors are fighting for their children or wives to take over for them when they retire. In most cases, it’s because the pastors can’t let go of the financial benefits they derive from the church ‘business.’
This is, more or less, considered to be the reason why Dr. Irishea Hilliard was elevated to the position of senior pastor of New Light Christian Center Church, taking over from her father. She’s stepping into her father’s shoes, coming from the position of chief operations officer, having also previously served as the youth pastor at New Light’s west campus, where she organized several conferences.
But that’s not all; she’s the kind of person who speaks and people listen. She’s been a preacher and teacher of the word for close to two decades.
When she took over as the senior pastor of New Light, she said, “It has been a journey that has been amazing. I’ve been preparing for it for years, but to finally be here is exciting.”
Not only does she feel prepared for the responsibilities that come with the position, but her father also believes she can handle it.
“He really wanted a boy and I was supposed to be a boy. He always thought, you know, I don’t have a boy, so I don’t have someone to pass the church to, but in that moment, God spoke to him and told him he got it right, and that I was always meant to be his successor and take over the ministry and I was his promised seed,” she said.
However, G Craige Lewis doesn’t think it’s a good thing to have the Black woman inherit her father’s position as the senior pastor. His reason is that she isn’t qualified, biblically. To make it clear, it’s not about her education or ability to share the word, but simply because she’s a woman.
In an article posted on Exministries.com, he says the enemy is out to use women to do away with the order of authority as set up by God. He says that nowhere in the Bible do you find a woman pastor, stating that a pastor should be a man married to one woman and not the other way round.
However, he believes this is happening because of the many feminist movements, the LGBTQ community, and s*xual evolution that’s influencing the church to circumvent the order as set by the Creator.
But if Lewis believes this is nothing but family business, what’s wrong with a daughter inheriting her father’s empire?