Enugu agog in spiritual rebirth for Assemblies of God
For four days, from July 19 and July 22, Enugu will be immerse in spiritual rebirth, as over 5,000 men of the oldest Pentecostal movement in the country, the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria (AGN), converge on the Coal City from various parts of the country for the 17th Men’s National Convention.
The biennial convention, organised by the Men’s Ministry of the church, with the theme, Men, Made in Bethel, is the largest gathering of the male folk. The convention has been dubbed as a ‘special’ one, as it is coming at a time the ministry is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an arm of the Assemblies of God Church.
The National President, Elder Bright Jaja, stated that the event is “loaded with transformative messages such as Back to Bethel; Raising Men for the 21st Century Physical and Spiritual transformation; Men of Integrity and Honest reports; Financial Men’s Ministries and Projects; Men and Leadership.
He said some of the speakers are the General Superintendent of the church, Rev. (Pastor) Ejikeme Ejim; Rev (Dr.) Godwin Amaowoh; Rev. (Dr) Vincent Alaje; Rev. (Dr.) Ogba Onyeije; Rev UcheChukwu Ama; Prof. I. U Kalu; Rev Dr Uma Ukpai and other anointed ministers of the gospel.
“Brethren, I am seeing a glorious and transformed Assemblies of God Nigeria after these four days’ convention and let it be known to all of us seated here, those at home and in the Diaspora that we all are the agents of the “Change” we are seeing. My prayer is that we will not just see it but enter into it in Jesus name,” Jaja said.
The ministry was conceived in 1971 for the purposes of contributing effectively to the growth of the church and fellowship with one another by involving men in Evangelism; stabilising men in Christian faith, creating awareness of the responsibility of men at national, district /sectional and local church as well as support genuine ministers and the ministry of the word of God and others. It has continued to grow in leaps and bounds.
In its 50 years of existence, the ministry has remained one of the strongest pillars in the church; planting churches, assisting indigent members of the society and spreading the gospel of salvation and other functions
Over the years, it has grown in leaps and bounds, drawing in membership strength of more than one million men, which include young men with marital and family responsibilities below 10 years; senior or matured men with marital responsibilities above 10 years; Clergy men accredited by the Church and elderly men above the age of 70 years.
The General Superintendent, Rev. Pastor Ejikeme Ejim, stated that the ministry, which began in 1971, under the leadership of the late General Superintendent, Rev G.O Oyakhilome, with various national directors such as the Rev. Augustus Asonye, Rev Joseph Omoronye, Rev Israel Nwokoro and Rev Azuka Obi, who are resting in the Lord, as well as Rev. Isah Zephaniah and Rev Alfred A. Okakah, has continued to grow.
“These men made tremendous contributions to the growth of the department. I am pleased that the current leadership under the board chairmanship of Rev. Ogbah Onyeije and the Director, Rev. UcheChukwu Okporie Ama, has decided to honour them in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee Celebration. I wish to encourage and urge leaders of the various Districts and Areas to do the same in their units,” Ejim said.
Ejim, who is full of praises to God for sparing the life of memebers, in spite of the current challenging security situation of the country, stated that God had graciously kept the members out of harm’s way and would continue to keep them safe and secure from all alarms.
Speaking on the importance of the gathering, he added: “We would do well to remind ourselves that whereas our all-wise God loves the whole of His creation and has given our beloved wives and children their pride of place in everyday affairs, He has, in His unassailable wisdom, placed men in front.
“We have so much love for our wives and children that we have encouraged them to share leadership with us in every sphere of our lives. While our love for them can only go deeper, wider and higher, and whereas, we appreciate all their contribution in the shared leadership formula, it is about time for us to up our game and effectively assume our God-given frontal position in all spheres, still in Christian love. Even in those spheres which appear to be the exclusive preserves of our wives and offspring of all ages, God has assigned leadership status to the men and we cannot but step into our God-given leadership shoes. If we fail in this, and God forbid, we would be failing God, failing our wives and failing our children and grandchildren. This, of course, we cannot afford to allow. It will be very strange and unwelcome if we so do.”
Board chairman, Men’s Ministry and Aba District Superintendent, Rev Onyeije, who elaborated on the convention and its theme stated: “The aim of the convention is to sensitise and equip men of the church to become men. It is to empower them become men. In 1st Corinth 16:13, the bible says, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be men, be strong”. So, through this programme, we want to equip our men so that they will become men indeed in their families, in the church, in the society and the entire nation, carrying out their functions as men. This is because not every man in trousers is a man indeed. So, God has known that, and that is why he wrote in the scripture, quit you as men. I remember, there was a time the Philistines came to attack Israelites in the days of Samuel. When the ark of God was brought to the battle field, the Philistines shouted and said they were finished because the God of Israelites had come to battle. Then, their leaders said to them, “you Philistines, be strong and be men, indeed”. So they encouraged them to be men indeed and because of that encouragement, they fought gallantly and Israel was defeated and the ark of God captured. What I am saying is that there are people who are men physically, but spiritually, emotionally, and otherwise they are not men in the sense that they are not able to meet up with what men are known for. So, this program will help our men to become men indeed and be able to carry out their functions. This is why the programme’s theme is ‘Men made in Bethel’.
He continued: “There are two things involved in the theme: “Many of our men are not what God created them to be. Many of our men spiritually are lagging behind. Many of our men economically are lagging behind. In fact some of them are not able to feed their families. Many of our men are not even measuring up in the expectations of God concerning them in His church. There are things that men should be doing in the church and in some places you go, it is the women that are dominating everywhere. In fact, it has been said that a church without women suffers while the men are there. So, the idea of making these men is so that in all those areas that they are not doing well – spiritually, economically, physically and even family wise through the remaking process that will happen through this convention, they will begin to measure up.
“You also know that Bethel means the House of God and that is where the presence of God is manifested and the theme of the Assemblies of God this year is “Back to Bethel”. At Bethel, there is security, there is blessing and there is everything that one needs. Even when God called Jacob and his family to go back to Bethel; it was a time of insecurity, in a time of threat to life, in a time of backsliding, because his children had already started embracing foreign gods, behaving strangely, becoming unclean and God said to Jacob, go back to Bethel. That is the solution to your problem, that is the solution to your insecurity, that is the solution to your backsliding and the solution to the problems you are encountering now. Go back to Bethel, where you met with me. He carried his family and returned to Bethel and when he got there, God blessed him. That is why we are saying we want our men to be made to have Bethel experiences; where they will experience God’s blessings, revival, holiness, and become close to God again.”
Rev. Onyeije, who assumed office in February this year, stated that within the short period he has led the Men’s Ministries, he has realised that the devil was out to attack the church, stressing; “As it attacks the church, it is attacking the ministries in the church. Men’s ministry also experiences an attack of the enemy, trying to disrupt what the church is doing, trying to disrupt what the department is doing, and also coldness that have characterised this end time.”
Also speaking on why the theme was chosen, the National Director, Rev UcheChukwu Ama likened Jeremiah’s experience at the Potter’s house and what God told him as a vivid illustration of the spiritual exercise.
“I am gladdened that at the time the church is facing several challenges and the heart of men failing them because of the insecurity, inflation and political instability in the country, that God has brought the Assemblies of God Men from all over this nation to potter’s house”, he said, adding, “we are here because the vessel is marred in the Potter’s hand. God is not pleased that the Vessel He first made out of us is marred. That is the sad news. But the good news is that God is not yet done with His people”.
Ama said he was hopeful that at the end of the Convention, “we as a ‘house’ or family will come out differently. God will announce to the world that the AG men are chosen vessel unto Him”.
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