Pastor Jakes continues to talk about what you can do to create your own religion.
Continued from Part 2
Milking them for every penny
Every pastor of a big church benefits financially from the hard-earned money of their congregation. There are always families struggling to pay the bills who have been convinced they still need to tithe and the church leaders can cash in on that. There are those who will give up their entire life savings to the church to gain supposed rewards in the afterlife.
Money will always be a sore point however, but let’s face it, money and power… and women… is what most people become leaders in religions for. Being in such a position of power you can pretty much dictate how much money you get as a salary.
Most church leaders are discrete about their large salaries and don’t make it obvious, but others just can’t help themselves, so buy new cars, new houses and travel overseas. And where would a debonair church leader be without his ridiculously expensive suit? Those ones have it sussed, because they preach the prosperity gospel, which in effect means they can claim that all the money they get from you is blessings from God because of how faithful and holy they are. You can tell people that God WANTS you to have all that money. You can even claim that God blessed you with cash donations that come from anonymous sources and it’s all because you have been a faithful servant.
Justify your huge salary by making out that you really do work hard, that it is highly stressful and that members of the congregation require a lot of your time so you get little time to yourself.
Tell them that they too can be blessed financially if they just keep giving financially to your ministry. Tell them they will always get back ten times what they put in.
To make it look like you truly are a saint you can actually tithe huge amounts of your income back to the church. You can tithe 50% rather than 10% and have all the congregation thinking how generous you are. Wow! They will say. So much of the money you have been blessed with you are channeling back into the church, back into ministries. What a guy!
How can you possibly afford to give 50% of your income back to God? Easy! Just double the amount of salary you were going to pay yourself to begin with. That’s what the big church pastors do!
Dealing with people you don’t like
One of the big problems with religions is they attract weirdos. People with personal issues who can’t solve their own problems or make friends, people with weird beliefs, whackos, nut jobs, people living in fantasy worlds. In fact religion breeds these people. Fortunately, it also tends to attract the gullible, so you can get them to believe almost anything.
You don't want to kick them out, because they're donating money right? Well if they are you don't want to lose them. The best way to deal with these people is with the use of small groups, ie home or cell groups.
You assign leaders for these groups, thus making them think they are truly valued and respected and then have them lead these groups. The people who come will feel a lot more part of your religion when they have personal relationships with others in small groups. This really works and it’s how big churches become even bigger. No need to rely on a God/holy spirit who is ineffective anyway. Just get people working with people and establishing bonds between them.
Even the dregs of society, the people you don’t want to have to deal with, can become part of those small groups and feel accepted. Even though the home group leaders can’t stand them, it will be their job to make them think they do and make them feel valued as part of the group. That benefits you as the senior leader, because it means you don’t have to deal with those losers yourself and can deal with people you actually like instead.
Members of churches often feel they should have some kind of relationship with you the pastor. Of course you don’t want to have to deal with weirdo after weirdo. By having small groups with leaders they can develop relationships with, it leaves them out of your hair and you can get away with simply a “hello mate” and a handshake at the door each Sunday, never having to talk to them or even learn their names.
Keeping the people in
We’ve already talked in part two about using fear tactics to keep your people in line, ie threats of Hell and being demonized/shunned. However, you still need to work at keeping your gullible followers hooked. They need to keep on being involved and keep on channeling their hard-earned cash into your church coffers. Home groups are one way to keep them feeling as though they are part of your church. Other ways?
Make your religion more exclusive by having memberships. People who become members of your religion get to feel a sense of pride and importance, while at the same time agreeing to support your religion in all ways possible, ie, time, money and loyalty
Give them jobs to do!
There are many crappy little jobs that need doing in religions. You’re gonna need people to do all the boring tasks like preparing religious rituals like communion, sweeping floors, serving morning tea etc etc, so get people involved in these things. Tell them that they are ministries and give them fancy titles like “deacons”. They will be able to tell everyone they are a church deacon and most likely people will think it’s something important rather than just doing the shit jobs none of the actual leaders want to do.
There are so many things to do, like meeting and greeting people at the door, children's indoctrination classes, youth groups, study groups, prayer groups. You need people to facilitate all these things and people will be happy to do these things believing they are doing them for God and it is part of a ministry. There are some cool things too like being in the church band or singing and drama groups.
This is the key thing that one can do to convince people to remain in your religion. It’s best done when they are children. Even Jesus himself realized you need to get them while they're young and taught that we should be as gullible children and sheep. Get them while they are at their most gullible and fill their heads with your nonsense. A good religion knows that the best way to sucker a person into remaining in a religion all their life is get them while they are young and impressionable. Make sure they are well aware that your religion is the one true religion and that everything they are taught is absolute fact and should not be argued against. Everything that disagrees with what you have taught them is a lie designed to lure you away from the true religion.
Promote Faith as a necessity
Never underestimate the power of faith. With faith you can get people believing any crazy stuff you want them to believe. Simply tell them that without faith, it’s impossible to please their god and that way you can fill their heads with all sorts of ridiculous nonsense and have them “taking it on faith”.
Just like with any successful religion, there is generally no real evidence of any claims made and you will find that those ones who promote faith as a virtue are the ones that stand the test of time. Just look at how successful Islam and Christianity is. They promote faith as one of the most important attributes you can possibly have.
No matter how many questions or doubts one has, one can simply insist that you “must have faith”. And if they leave your religion, you can simply tell everyone else in your congregation that their faith wasn’t strong enough.
With faith, you can have your congregation going around saying "We KNOW our God exists." and "We KNOW our religion is real."
Other advantages of utilizing faith as a tool is that you can have your congregation pretty much do anything you want them to do. You can have them performing menial tasks for you… even larger tasks. You can have them risking their lives for you and fighting for you. You can even have them dying for you.
Simply study up on cults and extremist religions and you can see what people will do for their leaders due to the “faith” they have in them and their teachings. Just be careful you do things in a way that won’t get you arrested and thrown into jail like some people who have created their own religion and put themselves up on a pedestal.