Nigeria: ‘Church Leaders Should See Themselves As the Conscience of the Nation’

By Ben Atonko,Daily Trust

Pastor Emeka Igwe of Realm of Glory International Church, Gwrinpa Centre, Abuja spoke with Sunday Sermon in Abuja saying what the church needs do in the face of present national challenges.

You recently opened a branch of your denomination. What does this mean for society?

The church is line with the command given the General Overseer of the church Abraham Aiyedegbo, to go and teach the people the way of righteousness 29 years ago. He started in Katsina then moved to Lagos where he founded the church’s headquarters. From there, the church spread branches cutting across the nation.

The church is meant to transform life and transform society. How do we transform the society?

It’s only when families are transformed, a life is given focused, bearing, hope and reason to live; life is made to see that there’s eternity, there’s life hereafter, that life is transformed. When it goes out in the society, the same life begins to reflect the views that we believe in. That’s how we want to make our contribution toward the transformation of the society.

Our vision tallies with what Mr President calls Transformation Agenda. Government is doing its best in transforming the society. But that is the physical. The truth is until the heart of a man is transformed, it doesn’t matter what you do. It’s a matter of time, everything will crumble because if the environment is transformed but the people living in the environment are not transformed you waste all the efforts because the same people will rise and mess up whatever you think you’ve transformed. So we strongly believe that the transformation agenda of Mr President should start from the hearts of men–it should be inside out.

The church as the body of Christ in general should rise up to begin to preach messages that will bring transformation of lives, messages that will change a sinner to a saint. As soon as the church rises to this challenge, I believe this nation will flourish.

Considering the myriad of problems we have, does it mean the church has not been doing it right?

The church has been doing its best but the truth is there are churches that aren’t getting it right. Just like the genuine currency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is, there’s also the counterfeit. Everything that has original has counterfeit. There’re places that bear the name Church but what do they stand for? The messages they give out to feed the public don’t in any way reflect the nature of Christ who is the owner of the church. As many churches teach the principles of Godly living, it will reflect in the society.

It’s amazing that with the increase in churches though, crime, indiscipline and corruption are on the increase. What’s happening? Is it that that church isn’t doing it right?

Not many churches are doing and teaching what they should be teaching.

We have agencies of government that are meant to work on the minds of people and instill discipline. The National Orientation Agency (NOA) is one of them.

Don’t you think this is time the church gets closer to government in this moral armament struggle?

The challenge the nation faces is not the constitution, federalism, democracy. If we get it right, if it’s a Hausa man that is at the helm of affairs, say he’s from Sokoto State, the way he looks at Sokoto State is the way he will look at Imo, Lagos States. A detribalized mind will see this nation as one. When such a leader emerges, the resources are equitably distributed, development equitably carried out. The issue of let the leader come from this side–from north, south, east, west may not be the issue.

Pushing our messages to government, the church is the custodian of truth. The church is the conscience of the nation. As long as the church continues to maintain this position… The challenge we have is some ministers of the gospel have misrepresented the church even in government circles. It now becomes difficult for you as a pastor, as a man of God to speak to people in government and they will listen without thinking maybe he is one of them. He has his personal agenda. They have eroded the integrity of the church in the minds of people in government.

However, we’re not giving up. We’ll continue to drum the truth as much as we can until the truth prevails. Until the truth prevails all government’s efforts will take the nation nowhere because the problem of the nation is the people, the mindset of the people.

Somebody once said evacuate the whole of Nigerians, bring in Americans, give them few years. They’ll transform the same Nigeria we look at today to be more than America because of the resources we have, the blessings of God upon Nigeria, America doesn’t have. Relocate all Nigerians to America, give us time, we’ll bring the same place down and it will become worse than the Nigeria we see today. The problem is people.

You have a beautiful church.

It’s not good to worship in a tattered place. But in as much as I believe in building the physical structures for the Lord, I believe more in building lives for God. The life you transform by the help of the Holy Spirit is the greatest building you give to God.

So what should unbelievers expect when they walk in here?

Not believer. There’s this erroneous belief people have that the church is meant for believers. The truth is the church is meant for people that are not yet believers. They’re expected to come into the church, hear the undiluted word of God and get their minds regenerated and become new persons–what the bible calls being born again. Anybody who walks into this assembly, we look forward that if they are already believers, they walk out as better, stronger believer in our faith. Per adventure a sinner walks in hear, as they are leaving by the instrumentality of the word of God, that life must have been regenerated for Christ.

One phenomenon that is giving church leaders headache is Boko Haram. What is your reaction to it?

Boko Haram, I see that as outward demonstration of age-long negligence on the part of the elite or our leaders. It’s a kind of an outburst… the people we call Boko Haram going round not only to kill but ready to die are people that have suffered deprivation. These are people that have lost hope in this nation as a result of the disappointment they’ve seen over the years. They can be easily mobilized to go and cause havoc even if it means laying down their lives because they don’t see their lives as lives.

If our leaders begin to provide the basic amenities every citizen of this country should have, the issue of Boko Haram will die a natural death. When people are not educated, when people are sick and can’t access health services–a lot of deprivations–some people can’t eat twice in a day. What do you expect of such persons? Such people become vulnerable to any idea that is meant for destruction.

Categories: Church & Ministries

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