One’s outward appearance should be a reflection of one’s heart-Pastor Paul Adefarasin

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By Remmy Diagbare
Pastor Paul Adeolu Adefarasin, author and social transformer, is Allure’s Style Icon 2009. Pastor Paul emerged after a robust competition from which readers selected him out of a list of fifteen outstanding and stylish men.

An amused Pastor Paul while humbly accepting the title did not want the style image to conflict with his primary function as a minister of God. After assurances that the Style Icon was not a freak award but an attempt to role mentor, he was pleased and agreed to answer our questions. But first a brief story of the man of God who prefers to be referred to simply as ‘Pastor Paul.’

A pastor of pastors and a shining light to the youth, Pastor Paul has continued to blaze the gospel trail with his leadership style.

He resided both in Nigeria and the United States early in life. He graduated from University of Miami with a professional Bachelors Degree in Architecture and practiced in Florida before his eventual call by God into ministry.

In 1994, Pastor Paul Adefarasin founded the House on the Rock church, a ministry with over 40 ‘daughter’ churches in Europe and Africa. He also started the Rock Foundation which collaborates with church-based social and humanitarian services to rehabilitate and empower of ex-convicts, urban miscreants, prostitutes, drug addicts etc. Formerly a drug user himself, he is well motivated to preach against all social vices that bedevils humanity. A well pronounced mentee of Bishop T.D. Jakes of Dallas Texas, Pastor Paul has been fervent in his message of hope to the world and especially the African continent. He collaborated with Bishop Jakes and many other famous artistes in producing the Inspired By… The Bible Experience where he portrayed the voice of God.

He has authored a book on the theme ‘changing your world’ titled The Call for a Performing Generation in 2005.

As a visionary, he obeyed the leading of God to start Lagos Experience Gospel Musical Concert and the programme was first produced in 2006. Now in its third year, Lagos Experience is now becoming a landmark event that draws gospel music greats of this age. Pastor Adefarasin is happily married to Ifeanyi and the family is blessed with children Hilda Adebola, Alvin Adegboyega and Alexander Adekunle. He also has his healthy, well postured octogenarian mother, Mrs. Hilda Adefarasin.

You have been voted by our readers as allures style icon 2009, congratulations .how would you want to respond to the selection?

First, let me clarify that the icon search, goes beyond just the search for the best dressed, it’s our attempt to set standards and role mentor the public.

I am generally rather uncomfortable with the attention that comes with being in the spotlight like this, as I have never thought of myself as a Style Icon. If one is to be completely honest however, there is a small part of me that feels quietly bemused and somewhat flattered that I would even be considered as a role model in such a category or a standard to be emulated by the public.

You did not want to be addressed as a bishop, in fact; you corrected me on that, could you please, clarify the difference? Most people think it is one and the same.

Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for many of the great men and women of God, who bear the title Bishop in our nation and around the world, many of whom are doing phenomenal things to affect our communities for good. In today’s usage, the title Bishop has been elevated somewhat higher than the Bible infers in its original translation. Originally the word bishop simply meant Pastor. In modern use however, the term refers to an office overseeing a plethora of Pastors along with a region of churches and church organizations. With regards to what I do, I believe the term Senior Pastor suffices to describe my responsibilities.

Is there a conflict between looks and the role of the pastor? One would have thought, your appearance as a pastor, should help to guide on how one should turn out. Especially, when Society dictates an appearance that is less than appropriate?

One’s outward appearance should be a reflection of the state of ones heart. As a Pastor

I believe that it is not wrong to dress well. Clothes however should be decent. A man of God in particular, should not invest more time and effort in his wardrobe than he invests in his heart.

Looking at the way fashion rules the world, how would you place the church, in terms of its role in puting some semblance of decorum in the way its memebers should embrace and inerprete fashion trends?

I personally do not believe in following trends. With regards to my sense of style, if it could be called that, I try to choose clothes that have a sense of timelessness to them. Christians ought not to follow fashion trends assiduously, but should actually set trends in keeping with the values of Christianity such as decency, moderation and order. Clothes that are inordinately revealing, suggestive or provocative should not be worn in public by either gender regardless of what the so-called fashion trends say.

The issue of dressing in the church has been a recurring one; whats your view on , a) covering of the head in the church that Apostle Paul spoke about in Corinthians ,and its interpretation by some Christians? B) plus, the wearing of trousers

Perhaps I am not the most appropriate person to comment on variences in Church doctrine. I believe our shared ideology is far greater than the doctrinal distinctions that exist between Churches. Given the times we live in, I think it is more important for us to stand together on our common ground than split hairs semantically over differences in doctrine

Recently you were on tv, commenting on the Jos crisis, what do you think is really wrong and how can it be resolved?

It would appear there are aspects of the situation that are political in nature. Not being a politician or appraised of all the facts, I cannot address the politics of the situation. However, as I understand it the Federal Republic of Nigeria constitutionally exists as a secular state and not a religious state. For this reason, every Nigerian has a constitutional right to worship however he or she chooses without fear, persecution or coercion as long as it does not infringe upon the freedoms of another. When killing occurs on a scale akin to genocide, as in the case of Jos, for no other reason than a person’s choice of worship. It is by law a crime and must be prosecuted as such. If the Federal Government does not put its full weight into investigating these incidents, finding the perpetrators and bringing them to Justice, the violence and mayhem will continue to occur. Unfortunately this seems to have been the case in this instance and several others like it.

As a pastor, do you get bothered by what is happening in the country , in the world?

Naturally I am concerned, as I believe everyone should be. Concern alone however is not enough; we must become part of the solution. The bible teaches Christians that we are the Light of the world and the Salt of the earth. We all have a responsibility to to do what we know to be right in our different walks of life. We have a responsibility to preserve and positively influence our specific areas of endeavour irrespective of our expertise, much like salt preserves food. The major cause of the state of our world is not the relatively few wicked people doing evil, it is the multitude of supposedly good people who analyse and complain but do nothing. We all have a part to play. While I am bothered by the occurences in our nation and around the world, I am more concerned that people like you and I, who can potentially make significant contribution for good, choose to remain apathetic. Edmund Burke put it quite succinctly when he wrote; “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

When you are overwhelmed, how do you re-invent yourself and get over issues that weigh you down?

Ultimately God is my source and it is essential for me to stay connected with God. Just as Psalm 23 teaches; He is the restorer of my soul. The demands of Pastoring often means that I am often required to give of myself or “exhale” in order to gird, guide, guard and nourish the flock of God. It is therefore just as important for me to “inhale” or breathe in and be replenished myself. This is achieved by a lifestyle given to prayer and the study of God’s word. There are also a number of elder statesmen within the wider Church with whom I seek counsel and who encourage me when the need arises. There are, nevertheless, times when what is needed is a break from the rigours of ministry to rest my body and mind. At times like this, I take a few days and go somewhere quiet so that I can rest, reflect, re-focus and reset.

The work of a pastor must be very demanding, having to councsseell people, minister the word and still be there for your family. How do you joggle all of these, so that one does not suffer?

As priorities go, the rule for me is God first, family second and ministry third. It is essential for me to create time to spend with my family and be part of their evolution. In instances where quantity time is not possible, then quality time must be maximized. I do not believe it to be the will of God that men or women should go into ministry at the expense of their families.

Could you tell me about some of youtr habits? E.g, do you excersise and how often? Your eating habits?

Finally, what is your philosophy of life?

After christ, or, your mother, who is your role model??

With regards to exercise, I have a small gym at home and I try to run several kilometers everyday. I also do abdominal exercises and whenever my schedule allows put in a round of golf once or twice a week.

Fruits are a large part of my diet. I love eating fruits whole or blending them in a juicer. I must confess however that I do struggle with a bit of a sweet tooth!

My philosophy of life is that it is the man (or woman) who dares to take God at His word and reach for the seemingly improbable promise that eventually gets incredible results and is of greatest benefit to his or her community.

Of the several persons who have positively influenced my life as role models, there are two of pertinent mention. Firstly my father, of blessed memory; for his humanitarian values, work ethic, consistency, simplicity and his love for God and his family. The second person is Sir Winston Churchill. I am particularly inspired by his resilience and his remarkable ability to rally Great Britain to stand firm and overcome in the face of overwhelming circumstances and what seemed to be imminent defeat. His courage, fortitude and indomitable spirit teach us all that regardless of the circumstances we face, if we persevere, there is very little that we will not be able to achieve.

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