‘We are giving attention to mission, evangelism, discipleship’
• ‘In Church Of Nigeria, Role Of Our Youths Is Critical’
The third part of Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba’s interview conducted by Advent Cable Network Nigeria (ACNN TV) continues again today, as the Primate shares his vision for the youth ministry.
Primate Akinola started GAFCON and Okoh, DIVCCON. What should the church expect from Primate Ndukuba?
Let me say this clearly: neither of my predecessors set out to establish GAFCON or DIVCCON. The unique thing about this office is that the Lord leads you one step at a time, and we thank God that whatever vision and mission He gives; He is the One to sustain it. GAFCON has been a blessing to the body of Christ universally and DIVCCON has been a blessing to the Church of Nigeria and the Church of God in Nigeria, because it is not only Anglicans that come. I am looking up to the Lord and I believe Him that that which He leads us to do, we shall do.
We gathered at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka from April 5 to 10. Throughout that week, we were with the young people in the Anglican Church and across other denominations. The programme was a mission to the young people. We instituted this mission with young people, the children and the youth, whom we termed, “Joshua Generation” because we are confident that, though our situation and circumstances do not give such a glowing and hopeful future, we believe God has a plan, and will be moving in our midst. If that will happen, the young people, men and women are very vital within the plan and purpose of God.
The Joshua Generation is like Joshua and Caleb that came out of Egypt, both of whom made it to the Promised Land because they obeyed God. They not only made it to the Promised Land, but God also used them to conquer their generation and gave them their rightful possession. I am believing God that if the Church of Nigeria will play the key role that the church should play, just as God laid it in our hearts, in mission, ministry and evangelism, discipleship and mobilise the universal church unto the world mission, preparing the church for the return of the Master and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I believe that youths have a place and role to play.
We are giving attention to mission, evangelism and discipleship because you can find out that in Church of Nigeria, the stage is set. Archbishop Adetiloye started the creation of missionary dioceses. It was built upon by Archbishop Akinola. The creation of missionary dioceses opened up this country so much so that every inch of this country is within a diocese, no matter how remote it is. The missionary dioceses come with dynamic Bishops who are planting churches all over the place. So, you can see that the Church of Nigeria has grown numerically and also in coverage. But, just as we have it even in our parish outreaches, crusades and other programmes, you discover that many will come for altar call, but few will be properly discipled. The church in our generation is, therefore, marked with profession without character, the claim of becoming Christians without the character of Jesus, without becoming like Him, without a changed and transformed life.
Change and transformation come by the pruning, teaching and leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. This can only happen within the context of discipleship. Besides, how many of our people are really mentored, even among us leaders? Someone said Christianity in Africa has grown one mile long and one inch deep. The burden and mission is for the Church to rise up to the core ministry God has called us, that is, the Great Commission, commitment to the Word of God, preaching this gospel, teaching this Word and living by it in such a way that each member becomes an instrument in the hands of God in bringing people unto the Lord.
If the young people are mobilised to catch the vision of the purpose of God for us as a church and as a people and also empowered to occupy the seven mountains of influence, in education, social life, politics, economy, family and others, it will be a good thing. If we nurture these young people, disciple and release them; if the Church of Nigeria will, within the next two or three years, raise up to 1000 youths and send them on mission across this country and across Africa, can you imagine what will happen? This is how the young people from England sacrificed their lives and evangelised us.
The Hausa mission in Wusasa was carried out by Walter Miller, a medical doctor. He was neither a pastor nor a Lay Reader, but a Christian who believed that God called him into mission. He died in Nigeria. You cannot mention powerful Christian leaders in the North without mentioning those who came under his influence — from Yakubu Gowon to TY Danjuma, Prof Adamu Beki, Dr. Dikko and Prof Ishaya, among many others. This is what I believe the Lord has called us to do — to impact lives. The greatest thing that God has given the Church is not the building or money, but people, and if we will pay attention and give our time to nurturing, we may not see the results immediately. As to building structures, it’s painstakingly slow. But if it is done with the guidance of God, you will leave a permanent impact on peoples’ lives, such that if you, from anywhere, pull a Christian who has been nurtured and he caught the vision of the purpose of the Kingdom, he always impacts his environment.
The Church of Nigeria believes in the transforming power of God, not only in the lives of the individuals, but also the community. That’s what informs our involvement in education, agriculture, commerce and industry. These things come out of the fact that we believe it is not only “if any man is in Christ he is a new creature,” but also our minds and hearts are transformed. We believe God to have the power to influence wherever we are, to change people and the system. And that is how the early missionaries were able to stop killing of twins, human sacrifice and other obnoxious practices. That’s what convinces us to oppose oppressive regimes and government and we will not relent, because that is the impact of what the Word of God can do in a man and a community.
TO BE CONTINUED
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