By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
THE 2019 National Convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, themed ‘AND GOD SAID’, has come to end but the reverberations, including the outstanding testimonies of healings and deliverances, have continued.
Describing the 2019 convention as a mighty and prophetic one, never seen before, the General Overseer of the Church, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, had earlier promised participants some of the first things ‘God said to man.’
God said to man “he is blessed; he will be fruitful, multiply and have dominion.” Adeboye said those, who had challenges in those areas of life, will be free of them.
Adeboye leads walk
The spiritual event, which was flagged off on Monday, August 5 to open the anniversary, was preceded by Ministers Conference (August 1 – 4) to prepare ministers for the programme during which the 77-year old General Overseer led young ministers on a spiritual and physical walk for hours. Many of the ministers, who couldn’t walk for one hour on the first day or two hours on the second day, didn’t attempt to join the walk for three hours on the third day.
Several of the more scientifically-inclined ministers, who couldn’t find empirical explanation for a sebteranian walking with the same pace for hours, are still in awe of him, remembering his sermon titled: ‘Spirit, not flesh’.
In that sermon, Adeboye said: “To break away from our limitations as humans, we must move towards becoming more of spirit by becoming more like God. Man is a tripartite being made up of spirit, soul and body.
“All three components must be developed in that order. Your spirit must be given the greatest priority in development, followed by your soul. Your body should not be developed to the detriment of your spirit and soul.
“If you are not born-again, your spirit is dead, and the soul is heading for hell. In the unsaved state, the flesh is in charge of an individual’s life.”
As part of the RCCG Corporate Social Responsibility, Adeboye took time off his pressing spiritual matters to commission an Intensive Care Unit, ICU, at the church’s Redeemer’s Health Centre. The ICU is the third in a series of ultra modern health projects facilitated by His Love Foundation, the benevolence arm of the church, the first and second being the ICUs at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and Plateau State Specialist Hospital.
In his short remarks before Ogun State governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, cut the tape to declare the facility open in the presence of some traditional rulers from Lagos and Ogun states, the General Overseer said he was convinced that any attempt to restructure the nation now must take into account a special constitutional role for traditional rulers.
Giving a breakdown of the number of children born during the convention as of 8.00 a.m. on Sunday (109-56 boys and 53 girls), an elated Adeboye assured the enthusiastic crowd of worshippers at the closing service that next year’s convention would be more glorious.
Explaining modalities for childbirth at the church’s maternity, the head of the unit, Pastor Joshua Kayode, disclosed that the mission bears all the medical expenses for all the babies delivered at the unit irrespective of creed.
“There are herbalists and Muslims among others living around the Redemption Camp who take advantage of the facility and they are all treated free and given packs for their new born babies,” Kayode stated.
Assistant General Overseer in charge of Administration and Personnel, Pastor Johnson Funsho Odesola, gave the breakdown of those ordained during the convention to beef up the work force for the fast growing church with footholds in 197 countries. According to him, the number of pastors was 1,904, assistant pastors 4,126 while deacons/deaconesses rose to 16,100.
And according to the Special Assistant to the General Overseer on Missions and Chairman of Central Missions Board, Pastor Brown Oyitso, it is obvious that RCCG has been divinely positioned as an arrowhead for global revival.
“The RCCG has grown from an obscure church that was started in an obscure neighbourhood of Lagos, 67 years ago, into a mission that will fulfil the divinely covenants global mandate of taking the gospel to the whole world”, Oyitso said.
“From the founder, Rev. Josiah Akindayomi, to Pastor Enoch Adeboye, we’ve seen leaders who are passionately and vigorously committed to the divine mandate and who are exhibiting exemplary leadership”.
Oyitso, who is also the pastor-in-charge of RCCG Region 19, expressed gratitude to God for all He has enabled the church to accomplish thus far, saying: “RCCG currently has presence in 198 countries and territories of the world.
“There are about 50 countries and territories yet to be penetrated by the RCCG. Most of these nations are in territories that will need very creative evangelistic strategies to penetrate. Traditional missions and church planting strategies will not work in these nations”.
Commuters within the camp decried the high cost of transport fare they were made to pay from one point to the other especially during national programmes of the church.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that due to the mammoth crowd that attends the major programmes of the church, the Transport Department allows tricycles and other buses from outside the camp to complement the efforts of registered ones to convey the large army of passengers within the camp.
Participants at the convention lamented that operators indiscriminately increased transport fare between the Old and New Arena by as much as 75 per cent depending on the size of the crowd, thus making it difficult for many participants, who cannot afford such high fares, to trek long distances to get to their destinations.
One of such commuters, who identified himself as Mr. Taiwo Odushile, said: “I am surprised that we are having a bad situation on the campground in terms of transportation. Imagine we are charged N100 instead of N50 to the Old Arena and N300-N400 to the New Auditorium.
“It was even worse on Friday night because of the crowd when these guys charged N500 to the New Arena.”
Another worshipper, Mrs. Agnes John from Lagos Province 23, said: “It is a pity that we are experiencing this type of extortion in the church. These transporters behave anyhow and I expect the church Transport Department to have an enforcement agency to monitor their activities.”
Sunday Vanguard found that a large number of the transporters who came into the camp from Ibadan in Oyo State, Ilorin in Kwara State, several towns in Ogun State as well as Lagos State refused to comply with the camp’s regulatory fee stickers which pegged fares from the main gate to Old Auditorium at N50 while a longer route should be N70.
Some of the tricycle operators in separate interviews gave reasons why they could not comply with the church regulation, saying that they paid N13, 000 to the church authorities as registration fee, and were expected to recoup their ‘deliver’ money to the owners.