Enenche: Government must take clue from church on development, resource management
Paul Enenche is a medical doctor, founder and senior pastor of the Dunamis International Gospel Centre with headquarters in Abuja. In this interview with KINGSLEY JEREMIAH, Enenche spoke about the church’s newly dedicated auditorium, adjudged the biggest in the world. He also discussed critical issues in Nigeria, particularly challenges facing Christians, the need to tackle growing rate of cultism, as well as why government must take a cue from the church to mitigate underdevelopment.
Statistics have shown that while industries are closing down in Nigeria, churches are thriving. Why is this so?
The church is the light and pacesetter for the world. People have negative thoughts about the church, but they have not been thinking of the positive impact the church is making on society.
I believe firmly that civilisation is thriving on the church’s impact. For example, the industrial revolution thrived in Europe on the wings of Martin Luther’s revival.
The mechanical revolution thrived on the wings of John Wesley’s revival in England. The church founded eight out of the 10 foremost universities in the world, including Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, and Yale.
For instance, the Catholic Church is contributing almost 34 per cent to the world’s healthcare system. We have Catholic hospitals and clinics all around the world. I attended a Catholic primary school and Methodist secondary school.
Covenant University, founded by a church is number one in Africa. It is among the leading universities in the world.
If only the world and government would learn what the church does to remain relevant, when things are being grounded, then we would have a better perspective of how to get things done.
How can the growing rate of cultism in Nigeria be addressed?
The issue of cultism is becoming rampant and is taking a frightening dimension. I feel it should be addressed at the level of households.
I have discovered that when children see their fathers living terrible lifestyle, then it is easy for the children to join cults. I have also seen that when children are not instructed and guided, they may misbehave.
The truth is that it is only when we embrace God and spirituality as a nation that the vices and wickedness in the land will reduce.
Nigeria was recently cited the worst place for Christians to live. What would you say are the challenges facing Christianity in the country and what are the ways forward?
I believe it is a challenge that lies squarely on government’s shoulder. It should be confronted and properly handled to prove to the world that that assertion is not true.
The level of persecution Christians have experienced in the last few years is unprecedented.
We have a situation, where people are confronted, attacked and killed in places of worship and nobody is prosecuted, even when they claim responsibility for the attack.
It is a terrible image for our country and its leadership. I believe it can be handled, if the leadership so desires. As the people of God take their stand and leadership takes responsibility, the problem can be handled.
Your church recently dedicated an auditorium. What inspired the church to build a 100,000-capacity auditorium?
We dedicated an auditorium called the Glory Dome. The good people of Dunamis International Gospel Centre built the Dome as a place to carry out their activities and programmes, primarily worshipping the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Dome spans almost two and a half football fields and according to Geometrica, the American Company that participated in the project, the auditorium is one of the largest church built dome in the world.
As a church, we have the passion to reach out to as many people as possible. This brought us to the point we were having services in open spaces.
As far back as 15 or more years ago, we held Sunday services at the Eagle Square twice; we have held such meetings at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja.
We have had all night meetings at the National Stadium in July 2007 and then in August and September, until there was a law that banned those places from being used for religious purposes. We also had to battle the issue of weather. That made it clear to us that we needed a place we could use at any time.
The passion is to reach more people, bring them to the Lord and transform them into better citizens, and enable them have a relationship with God.
At some point, our church services became so enlarged that we were running six services every Sunday morning, with overflow beyond the church fence, which was very strenuous.
So, we needed a place that would accommodate everybody under one roof and allow us worship together. The service time was so short that programmes were overly summarised.
So, we needed to have a bigger space that would enable us have time to do all the things that needed to be done during the service. All of that informed the need for the building.
How were you able to finance the project?
One thing people must understand is that God’s economy is different from man’s economy. The Bible says when men are cast down, then thou shalt say, there is lifting up.
The children of Israel came out of Egypt many years ago, and the Bible made it clear that when the economy declined for the Egyptians in those days, the Israelites’ camp was booming.
The Scripture can never be broken, because the ways of God are different from that of man’s. God supplied the means mysteriously because it was His project.
If it was a personal project meant for an ordinary system, maybe there would have been a struggle, but it was stress-free. That is to show the world that when God is put first, anything is possible.
The economy, the climate and world’s situations cannot affect people that believe and trust in God.
If nations would embrace God and His principles, they would not need to battle and struggle the way they are doing. We have done this project without taking a loan or overdraft from the bank.
I believe it is possible for governments and organisations to run on God’s principles and be able to function effectively.
So, God in His infinite mercy and His economy and supply system was able to supply without any struggle.
This, coupled with good management of both human and financial resources, the project was done at a time there was recession in the country. I believe if there is good management in any system, together with God’s principles, everything is possible.
What are the economic benefits of this project?
Well, first of all, on spiritual benefits, there are people who are going to come to be saved. The other day, we gave an altar call and 28 cultists gave their lives to Christ publicly, renounced cultism and to have their lives changed.
Beyond that, we have people coming from different countries in all the continents of the world. For instance, we had people from about 40 countries represented at the just concluded conference, and the economic impact was massive.
Without a doubt, this place has become a tourist destination, where people want to see and know what is going on. All the hotels around were fully booked during the conference. Even the flights coming into town were all booked.
Presently, we have little businesses and commercial activities that are springing up. Also, the value of property around here will go up. There is going to be an explosion on every facet of the economy.
People are going to be employed in the services of the church. For instance, unemployment was practically arrested around this area and beyond, while construction was going on.
We had about 5, 000 people of different trades, from artisans, welders, bricklayers, to surveyors, electricians and others.
About 21,000 pieces of metal were joined end to end, and that was done by human beings in their thousands. They were all employed at that period and beyond. They also learnt new trades and crafts they could use for future benefit.
How do you intend finding members to fill all the seats?
While constructing the Dome, we held two vigils here. The first time, it was on the ground floor and we had an overflow.
The second vigil held on the ground floor and the first gallery, and there was again an overflow outside.
On the day of dedication, there was also an overflow. Then during the conference, we had a vigil and there was thrice the overflow we used to have.
So, we are not talking of how to get people, we are talking of how to handle the overflow.