Why I Handed Over The Church To A Successor, By Emmanuel
• Church Belongs To God, It Is Not A Family Business • People Have Asked Me What I Will Now Be Doing After Handing Over The ChurchWHY did you hand over your church, while still alive?
IT is because I don’t run a church, but a kingdom. People have asked me what I will now be doing after handing over the church. They have told me to make the Senior Pastor Deputy something, but I am not bothered. It is not my church. It belongs to God. It is not a family business. If I need money, I just ask if we can afford it or not. I don’t even know how much we have in the account.
And that does not bother you?
Why should it? If I want to know all that, it becomes micro-managing and you’ll just die before your time. The reason people do that is because they don’t run church like a kingdom. In such cases, it is only the pastor and his wife that are signatories. They carry the offering and go with it. So, they cannot leave it for others.
It is like what is happening now in Nigeria. If the PDP had won, we won’t hear what we are hearing now. They would have just covered up. But another party took over and we are seeing all the mess created. It is like that in many churches, too. They don’t want to hand over to someone that will expose them.
Are you saying that a succession crisis will not be a challenge here?
Of course, there won’t be. For over a decade now, everyone knew who would take over from me. We have another Resident Pastor also in the waiting. God forbids, but if anything happens now, there is no wife that will fight the church or a mother that will say we started the church together.
In 20 years, we have not had a breakaway because we allow people to display their talents. There can be visions within visions. When people leave, we celebrate them. We also support them if we can.
You must have a large heart…
No. I don’t. It is just the way it should be done. I am not a superhuman or special. It is the other people that are in error. Jesus raised 12 people and said they would be greater than Him. We all want our children to be greater than us. We understand biology, but not spiritology.
Did you envisage the church was going to come this far?
Well, whatever God does, one knows it will definitely grow from the scriptures and covenant relationship. We expected we’d grow and expand but we couldn’t have known where we’d be at every point or turn. In some aspects, what we are seeing are really mind-blowing. However, in some, we know we could have done better. But through it all, God has been graceful to us. For instance, when we first started in a rented apartment, it took us three months to raise the fee. When we look at the calibre of people we had, it was like, ‘will anything good come from us?’
A plot of land sold for N400, 000 and when he had N1.6m, it was like all the money in this world. The first set of land we bought was for N70, 000 per plot. We got four plots at N280, 000. It took us over one year to raise the money. To look at where we are now is a miracle. However, on the number of people we have, we believe we have what it takes to attract more people. We are like by now, we should have more people. But you know there are many dynamics to that. Are we ready to pay the price? Can we handle them if they come? There are environmental and logistical issues.
As I usually tell people, there are two ways to look at a thing for balance. You look at the people ahead for inspiration and those behind to be grateful to God. There are people who started before us, but do not have a church to look after again today. So, for that, we are grateful to God.
Does the numerical challenge have to do with the fact that you are hardly around, as an itinerant preacher?
Well, I don’t think so. We are a kingdom church. On a yearly basis, we reach out to 10, 000 people based on verifiable statistics. We go to bus stations, prisons, hotels and football pitches. The 10, 000 are not here because we are a kingdom church. It is not about our seating capacity, but impact-capacity. The Kingdom is not about that, but we also want those seating to be more.
Many people have difficulties defining you. They wonder if you are a general overseer, businessman, common sense coach or itinerant preacher
When you start, you are an individual. Then you get married and become a husband. When you have children, you are a father. You are the same person but your title changes by virtues of your responsibilities and roles. That is the challenge with defining me.
I always tell people that I am an apostle in the marketplace. God has raised me to raise kingdom believers and ministries. For those in the church, there is no confusion at all about that. The difference about a church and a kingdom is that the church says, ‘just come and be part of us,’ while the kingdom is about going forth. So, we are not interested in drawing people that will just seat and not make a difference in their world. I am more than a churchman.
When you started the real estate business, many wondered if you were leaving ministry for business…
Well, they will come to understand the more with time. When you pioneer something, you face that challenge. The challenge with the church in Nigeria is that we have more understanding of the church than the Kingdom. When somebody receives a call now, the first thing s/he does is to start a church. But God could be calling them to start ministries. There are many evangelists pastoring. Many who should be in different ministries are sitting down in churches. The Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin and Benny Hinn of the world did not have a church. They impacted the world running ministries.
It is not about how many people you could seat. When we went into the estate business, it was because many Christians say the earth is of the Lord but do not have a plot of land. If the earth is of the Lord, why can’t He give Christians lands? We came to a place, where we realised that faith is about lands.
I came into an investment understanding at a time, took the church on that journey and we began to grow. Whoever owns the land determines the faith of the land. If you were born in Pakistan today, you are going to be a Muslim. Why? It is because whoever owns the lands owns the faith.
That was how God told me to connect people to own territories. That was, what inspired the real estate issue. It was to inspire believers to own territories so that they can have influence for God. We have made homeowners and estates out of believers. But in the last two years, I have left the business and church for younger ministers to run.
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