Pastor Sola Owoeye is the National Youth Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Assistant Pastor in charge of Region 35, as well as Pastor in charge of Youth Province 2. He is an evangelist who is noted to be dynamic in the ministration of the word. In an exclusive interview with Beautiful Day Magazine, two months ago, he bares his mind on his vision for the Church’s youths and explains how God qualifies the unqualified for leadership amongst others. Excerpts.
Sir, can we meet you?
My name is Sola Owoeye. By the grace of God, I’m the RCCG National Youth Pastor, an Assistant Pastor-in-Charge of Region 35 and Pastor-in-charge of Youth Province 2. I am married and blessed with children.
As a National Youth Pastor, what has been your experience dealing with the youths of today?
By the grace of God, I’ve been in the youth ministry for the past 30 years. The reality of this in the present day is that one needs to be very dynamic to be able to lead youths successfully. If you look at the way and manner children of these days do their things, you’ll know it is beyond civilization. This generation is not the generation you tell to go without giving them a convincing reason; when your reason is convincing enough, they are willing to go to any length. They are not the generation that you command and they do as you say; they don’t go blindly. They live by personal conviction; you have to tell them the reason why they should do it, the implication of doing it; that is the generation of conviction. In your way of convincing them, be original. Don’t tell them what you’re not. This is the generation we’re leading.
Nigerian Youths are noted to be industrious, but have a limited impact on governance and economy, what is your take on this?
Two things contribute to that. One, no platform for the youths to release their potential. The impact is not actually there to release their potential because the elders refuse to leave the scene for the young ones to come. There is this sense of insecurity on the part of the elders thinking that, this youths don’t have what it takes to be in charge and that fear of the unknown will not allow them to provide the platform for the young ones to be able to release their potential. So, there’s no economic and political environment built for such impact to be noted. Hence the need for the youths to accept the responsibility and get involved. Get involved in the sense that nobody will give you what is your own until you place a demand.
Now you don’t wait for the future rather you go for the future. One of the major challenges the young ones are having that stands as why their impact is not being felt is that they’re waiting for the future to come and meet them. You have to go for the future if you really want to feature your potentials, you don’t have to wait for it; if you wait for it, you will waste. That is why we see many young people with high potentials wasting away because they are waiting for the time on what they can do or asked to do to be handed over to them. Until David gave Saul proof to fight Goliath, he was not given the platform, he was not sent to the battlefield to go and fight. He was sent to go and give his elder brothers food and see how they were faring in the battlefield. He was sent to be a spectator but when he got there, he refused to be a spectator. He became an actor of the battle where he was meant to be a spectator. He became the major actor. So, until David gave Saul enough proof why he should be allowed to fight Goliath, he was not given the platform.
I think starting small within the space of one’s influence can also be necessary. One’s sphere of influence is responding to God’s given ability. You respond to it by accepting responsibility; that can go a long way to make that happen. David started by conquering bear and lion and it was his testimony that created the platform for him to fight Goliath.
Now, when they say, “but you are a youth, you can’t do it,” but unknowing to them you are industrious. Inside the little boy was the mantle to fight the battle and carry the title with the entitlement, but he was belittled because he was a teenager. But he said I can do it. His persistence in his sphere of influence opened doors of larger dimension for him.
Also, every youth must not keep quiet about whatever they have the capacity to do. They should make noise about it and let the world know that they have what it takes. Until they begin to make a proof of their capacity, the platform will never be given to them. For instance, if God had not called me, I would have been a politician because as I was growing up, I knew within me that I have what it takes to provide a solution. I knew I’m the type that can vehemently resist anything. So, the youths have to get involved in their little space to influence the nation. My advice to them is that they should not sit on the fence but get involved.
While speaking on economy and empowerment for youths, I remember Daddy G.O once encouraged members to go into farming and the youths are known to have one. Can you expatiate on this, Sir?
Concerning this, one needs to know how to handle this generation. Apart from the fact that some people are passionate about farming, there’s a way on how to make what’s not interesting attractive through packaging. Now, we have to understand the kind of generation we’re leading, we have to think of how we can make farming interesting for this people going by the present-day reality. We’re in the age where you are in the corner of your room and you see activities happening around the globe.
What I think would make farming more appealing to young people is to go mechanized, they will even catch fun while doing it. You don’t expect youths who have graduated from university to carry cutlass when there are better ways of farming which they have seen on the internet. So, if the church can invest into that, it will shock you as more youths will be interested in farming. With that in place, nobody will find it primitive to start a career in farming.
Nigeria clocks 63 in October, what advice do you have to give to Political and Spiritual Leaders on how to carry the youths along so that they can be relevant and impactful?
First, I’ll say they should be more intentional and deliberate about carrying the youths along. To see that they have what it takes to deliver, they should be given opportunity to express themselves. The younger generation should have the opportunity to express themselves, they should be given platforms and believe more in their capacity.
I did research on the disciples of Jesus Christ and realized that all the 12 apostles were teenagers. Paul was the oldest and the youngest of them was John the Beloved, yet they turned their world around. Josiah became King at the age of 8 and he ruled for 40 years and the Bible says He did well in the sight of the Lord. And that wasn’t the era of jet age; that was the dark age. My advice is that the leaders should give the youths opportunities to express themselves. If you are a leader, as someone passes through your leadership or mentorship, have a sense of fulfilment that you have a vibrant and an excellent person like you. That’s my advice to the leaders either in the church or in the secular space.
National Youth Convention holds in October, what should the youths expect?
When I came on board in the month of May, I took my time to evaluate who and who can make up our convention and I discovered there are three categories of youths: those who are still students, those who have finished schooling and are unemployed, and the working class. I also considered the number of days of our program, Monday to Friday. Thinking through, we realized we won’t be able to gain hold of those who are engaged with work because of the demand of their work. So, they opt to watch it online. And for those who are students, many have resumed school because most schools resume in September. So, we are now left with the class of those who are jobless and the class of those who are young school leavers; those who have completed SSCE but await admission into tertiary institutions.
Then, I thought of what could increase the taste of these categories of youths who may attend this convention in big numbers, so I came up with Education Endowment Fund: this will make scholarships and bursary award available for the indigents, those who are doing well in their academics, and those who did well in SSCE which is one of the new things we’re bringing on ground this year. We also want to celebrate brains. Those who have excelled academically; first class graduates. We want to show them we appreciate them, and we also want to use these awards to create competition of excellence among the young ones. We also want to see how to connect the youths. We also have a proposal on establishing Young Professionals Club in RCCG. Again, we have NYAYA Employment Bureau. We have spoken to close to 40 professionals who will be present at this year’s convention to take all of those who are jobless in the area of packaging their CV, and expose them to job opportunities around them and take them through all they need to know to enable them excel in the work or marketplace.
We’ve announced that all those who are jobless should be present at the Youth Convention and also come along with their CV. One thing we have discovered is that we’re not standing on our two legs as a Church. There’s a place of prayer, there’s a place of doing something for your prayers to come into reality; no one prays for money and the money comes from Heaven. But if you pray for money, God will give you the idea on what to do to get the money. Although, many a times we want to turn God to a magician, our God is not a magician, our God is a miracle working God. Whatever that is miraculous takes a process, whatever that is miraculous is systematic. Many a times, there are prayers we have prayed which God has answered but we lack strategy to bring it into reality.
Now we want to create a platform for networking and mentoring among young ones whereby they can network amongst themselves. So instead of joining Ikoyi Club or Ikeja Club, the idea is to have our own Jesus Club. My vision as National Youth President is to raise total youths for maximum exploits; youths who are spiritually sound, academically up, business and professionally competent, as well as emotionally and psychologically sound. Not a youth who is speaking in tongues and failing exams, and have no future ambition. And you know Vision 2023 involves the youths and a youth that is failing will be unable to influence his peers. So, this takes us back to the mission of achieving total youths for maximum exploits.
Daddy G.O has consistently said he is preparing the youths for succession. As the RCCG Youth National Pastor, do you think the youths are prepared to take over leadership when the opportunity or duty comes?
There are two ways to it. God does not call the qualified but He qualifies the called. There are traits God looks out for; someone may be famous; he may even have what it takes in terms of charisma and looks, but God who sees the heart of men will do justice. There are many youths we have not discovered and there are youths God is preparing like a cake in an oven waiting for manifestation and there are some making good noise. God will not be unfaithful that He will call this church the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a church that will stand till He returns and knowing a man is limited by age that one day end will come to mortal man. God will be very unjust if He doesn’t bring up someone in His own way; it will be His own candidate and not man’s candidate. God is looking for someone who is flexible in His hand, someone He can mould, someone who will fit into His divine purpose for the Church. It is God that selects. All we are seeing is action and manifestation of men, but all God is looking for is the intent of man’s heart. You are the one looking at the outer part which is the open manifestation but God is looking at the inner preparation of the heart and when the time comes, the God who will never put His Church in the midst of confusion will lead our father-in-the-Lord to the right person that will lead the church to the next level. Our prayer should be that God who owns the Church should lead our father-in-the-Lord aright.
We know we cannot separate the people from what’s happening in the country. What advice do you have for believers and Nigerians over the effect of fuel subsidy removal and economic hardship?
For believers, the Bible says in Philippians 4:19, the Lord will provide all your need according to His riches in glory. In the time of famine, there is no way God will not care for His own; when you are in the centre of His will, the goodies of the world will come to you and that’s where knowing your God comes in. Unfortunately, some believers are joining the multitude to do evil and the Bible says it is righteousness that exalts a nation. Even on this camp, there are people with a competitive mindset, whereas they don’t know the sacrifice the other person has made. Begging is never our portion if truly we are righteous; it doesn’t matter how dark the cloud may be, there will be a ray of light. So, this is the time to hold firm for those who truly believe in Christ Jesus. The Bible says they look up to Him and they were radiant and they were never put to shame, meaning that no one looked up to Him and ended up in shame. Now the question is how many people look up to the hill?
In Isaiah 31:1, the Bible says woe unto them who go down to Egypt for help. It tells us that God has all it takes to meet our needs if only we can stand by Him. That’s one thing I strongly believe in. We have seen people become multi-billionaires without any involvement in any form of atrocity in this era of hardship. As children of God, we belong to the Kingdom where God Himself is the head. So, we are ambassadors of God here on earth who are to serve as light in the dark world we are in. Solution to the world is in our hands as believers.
For Nigerians who are not Christians, the only solution is in Christ Jesus because you cannot use evil to conquer evil. They’re the ones using their hands to undo themselves, they should come back to their senses and they should stop being cajoled, they should stop selling their tomorrow, they should stop eating their tomorrow in their today.
For example, someone was given 5k to vote against his conscience and a street boy was given arms to snatch ballot boxes during election whereas he has no roof over his head and those who sent them will forget them when they get to power. Until they get back to their senses, this problem will not cease. So, I advise the populace to come back to their senses and those who want change to be more objective in their sense of judgment. Now this is another year, it is 63 years of independence in Nigeria. Despite practicing democracy which is the government for the people but in reality, the power is in the hands of the few. Only, if we can come together on the common ground to achieve good governance, it will be well with the country.