James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye called on churches in the country to leverage social media and other veritable tools in expanding the frontiers of the church in the new normal.
Adeboye gave the advice at the opening ceremony of a 3-day international conference on the eruption of megachurches in the Global South organised by Redeemed Church Bible College (RCBC), Nigeria, in collaboration with the John Templeton Foundation, United States (U. S).
The conference with the “Imaging Mega Churches In The Global South And Beyond: Trends, Trajectories and Impacts”, took place at the RCCG Camp, Mowe, Ogun State.
Adeboye who was represented by the RCCG Intercontinental Overseer for the African Region, Pastor Johnson Odesola, noted that the mega-churches in the Global South had continued to spread their religious frontiers to the global North including Europe and North America described the growth as “a global phenomenon”.
He explained that most of the mega-churches shared similar and identifiable characteristics in leadership model, technology, and religious idiosyncrasies.
He charged Church leaders in Nigeria to be innovative, creative and become solution centres in the midst of an ever-changing religious topography, adding that they should explore the reasons why churches in the Global South had continued to grow in the ever-competitive global religious environment in the last 30 years.
He noted that religious intellectuals and scholars should brainstorm on issues surrounding mega-churches in their quest for expansion opportunities within the highly competitive religious economy of the global South.
He charged participants at the conference to have “fresh ideas as they reflect on the many dynamics of the church today, especially the digital church as well as the role of social media platforms in expanding its frontiers in the new normal”.
According to him, most of the mega churches are largely Pentecostal charismatic in outlook.
The cleric, however, noted that the churches and their leaders had attracted scholarly attention and public scrutiny “partly due to the problem of lack or inadequate commitment to the concept of good corporate governance because of the problem of accountability”.
The convener of the conference, Prof. Are Adogame, in his remarks, said that the conference was preparatory to project research of 20 diverse mega-churches in 10 different countries, which included El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, India, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Philippines and the South- Korea.
Adogame explained that the project which would be funded by the John Templeton Foundation would be carried out by an interdisciplinary team of scholars adding that the findings would be disseminated to the public.
At the end of the conference, participants challenged mega-churches to concentrate more on building the body of Christ rather than physical structures, and as well strengthen their internal disciplinary mechanism to arrest unethical practices.
“Mega-Churches should reexamine church leadership structures towards ensuring sustainable leadership and smooth leadership succession”.