ICGC at 30: Mammoth celebration ends

Some of the founding members of the church.

Some of the founding members of the church.

Myjoyonline – Thousands of faithful congregants have thronged the Accra Sports Stadium to commemorate 30 years of the establishment of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC).
Under the inspirational leadership of Dr Mensa Otabil, leaders have been raised; visions shaped and the society has been inflenced in many unimaginable ways.
With 20 founding members in a classroom somewhere in Accra on 26 February, 1984, the seed was sown for what will become one of the greatest churches across the world.
Today, thousands of great leaders and several young ones being groomed into leaders are at the stadium thanking the Lord for his grace and faithfulness.
The lower terraces have all been filled with patches of spaces left to be filled at the Upper Terrace of the stadium. Even under a scorching sun, the atmosphere is one of celebration but the spirit of the faithful could be felt.
With praises, the celebration started as congregants jumped, sang hymns in absolute elation; then came prayers to thank God for the life of Dr Otabil and for Ghana which is to celebrate its 57 Anniversary on March 6.
How can a church with 30 long years of living its mission of raising leaders, shaping visions and influencing society through Christ not have a testimony to share? The testimony came in thick and fast and well coordinated.
Elorm Dzahe, Tetteh Nettey, Pastor Ashford Smith and many others shared inspiring testimonies of how faithful the Lord has been to them; of how Dr Otabil and the ICGC have been shepherds of their lives.
Pastor Smith shared how growing up he wasted his life on alcohol; jumped from one club and joint to the other; how he dreamt of becoming a politician and a business man; and how his life was completely transformed under the guidance of Dr Otabil. He is now the head pastor of the ICGC Restoration Temple, Osu.
The symphony orchestra, a musical group formed by the church then served a delectable rendition of some of the greatest gospel jazzy music to tune the minds of the congregation to what was next on the agenda. The word. The Living word which formed the foundation of the church.

And who else will deliver that word on such a momentous occassion?

The man, the leader and motivational speaker; the shepherd under whose feet thousands were flocked, were nurtured, were groomed to be generational thinkers; the man who loves his agbada and leads the campaign for Africans to chart a new path, the Dr. but who would rather be referred to simply as the pastor, Mensa Otabil mounted the podium in glow, humbled and enthralled by the presence of the faithful.
“It is a day to remember God’s faithfulness . He has been good to us. Today is a day we remember where we met God and where he met us,” he said.
Pastor Otabil narrated how the ICGC journey began. From a classroom in the Kanda Cluster of Schools with no electricity but a traditional lighting system called ‘bobo’ which emits hazardous smoke the ICGC dream was birthed.
The Church was born at a difficult time in 1984. It was a period of great “economic depression” a period of “political uncertainty.” A period “difficult to start anything.” Yet it was that period that ICGC was formed by faithful men including Pastor Yaw Annor.
Foundation of ICGC
Pastor Otabil said if there are any three words that describe ICGC the words are;
“Leadership, Vision and Influence.”
He said every member of this church must be a leader; must have vision and must be a person with great influence.
“If a person comes to our church crawling he or she will be inspired to start walking; if he comes walking he will be inspired to start running; if he comes running he will be inspired to start flying; whatever stage you come in into this church you will leave here improved in a better version of yourself.
“We are passionate about personal transformation. We are passionate about social transformation,” he said.
Sad African story
Pastor Otabil said God created us on the continent of Africa because he has a vision for us on this continent. He is however saddened by the turn of events in Africa.
He told a story of how he visited the AU HQ in Ethiopia, an imposing building in Addis Ababa with a gold decorated statue of Dr Kwame Nkrumah which sat right in front of the building.
He said beneath the statue is a biblical verse inscribed from Psalm 68:31 saying “Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hand to God.” It was the same quote Dr Kwame Nkrumah used to conclude his famous Africa must rise speech.
He said when he read the quote he was saddened; there was no sense of pride in looking at the building. The verse was inconsistent with how the imposing building was acquired.

“Africans did not build that building. The Chinese government donated that building to Africans free. African government could not contribute to put up that building,” he said.
The building typified how incapable Africans are in solving their own problems. The AU building represents Africa’s continued dependence on foreign assistance.
He said he left the AU HQ sad but with a deeper resolve to change the African story and paint a new picture of Africa.
And with that resolve he declared that ICGC will be an “indigenous self supporting church.” That declaration was made in the Kanda classroom with no sound system, no electricity, no building to call their own but with faith, purpose and conviction of mind. That declaration was made at a time when it was fashionable for churches at the time to depend on missionaries abroad to fund their activities in Ghana.

With that resolve, ICGC can now boast of its own church; hundreds of them. Its own university and several other palpable structures to refer to.
Pastor Otabil said ICGC has learnt to stretch its hands to God and not to man. Africans must do same. He said if ICGC from that background with no resources and yet it is able to achieve all these then Ghana, endowed with numerous natural resources and Africa blessed with abundant resources can do far better.
Challenge to Youth
Pastor Otabil said at the heart of the continent’s problems is disorder and challenged the youth of the country to live a life of order. “Prioritise your lives and develop a 20 year development plan,” he encouraged.
“Prepare yourself spiritually, morally, and intellectually. Build good habits and develop problem solving skills.Live uprightly for Christ and the future is yours
“The challenge is that if we have come this far from nothing you can do a thousand times more,” he inspired.
Pastor Otabil after his rich words of inspiration prayed for all who wanted to give their lives to Christ.
A performance by Soul Winners climaxed what will undoubtedly be a memorable occasion in the hearts, minds and lives of each member of the congregation who sat through the service on the scorching sun; or watched on MultiTV from their homes or monitored it across the world on Myjoyonline.com.

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