Harvest of souls

By Gbenga Osinaike 

It is a vision like no other. But the Redeemed Christian Church of God is leaving no stone un-turned to bring it to reality. It is a drive to grow the church from its present less than 3 million membership to 40 million in 2032.

That is the dream.  The question on the lips of many is, how feasible? Some, perhaps, are wondering, does it mean with all the popularity of the RCCG, it has less than 3 million members? How come?

That seems to be a valid question, but that is the truth. Just in the month of May, the Special Assistant to the General Overseer on Personnel, Pastor Olalekan Julius, during a session in Region 2 Champions Fire Conference with some leaders of the church broke the ice.

In a meeting shared online, Olalekan made it known that the present membership of the church is less than 3 million. He did not stop at that. He gave gripping statistics of how the church is only high in the number of parishes but low in membership. The implication is that many of the parishes of the church have a membership of less than 50 people.

That is however not the issue. The problem really is that many have lost steam and are not doing the work of evangelism. They are content with doing church. And that was the basis for the need for the vision 2032. It is to wake the church from its lethargy and cause members to respond to the cry of people that are still lost in the world.

Pastor Julius Olalekan

In the session which spanned about an hour, Olalekan said Vision 2032 is predicated on Genesis 13:14-15. That is the scripture where God spoke to Abraham about the need to look around him and take possession of the land as far as he could see.

He said for the RCCG, there is need to wake up, adding that God is telling the church there is a need to look around and possess the land.

According to him, RCCG is presently in a state of stagnation. “Where we are today is a state of stagnation for the past few years. Workers and ministers in RCCG are just content with doing church. But there is a lot for us to do. The attendance of the church has stagnated for some years. We are not growing. The number of parishes are multiplying, provinces are multiplying, but the attendance is not growing.”

What that means, in his words, is that, “something is wrong somewhere. We say we have arrived. But Daddy G.O says we have not started.”

While noting that Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people, he said, “RCCG attendees are less than 3 million. And we think we have arrived. But we have not. Nobody is involved in evangelism again. We are just comfortable doing church, counting our testimonies and our achievements.”

Olalekan stretches his point further saying, the burden on ground is for the church to increase its growth. “Vision 2032 is for us to increase our attendance to not less than 40 million in 2032. And you must be part of it. There is no limitation. God has given us the mandate to grow. God said there will be revival in the church. That means God is interested and involved in what we are doing,” he said.

But then, Olalekan gave a quick rundown of the trajectory of growth in the church. He said, “When you look at the history of the church, you will know that it is time for us to have a new wave. At the inception of the church, God did a lot of glorious work through the founder. That took the church to a level when the G.O (Pastor Enoch Adeboye) took over.

“He started the model parishes and it broke through several avenues. That took us to Lekki 98 which turned RCCG to a tourist attraction all over the world. That event advertised the church and moved us forward. At that time, RCCG was the happening church. Every member of the church was a phenomenon,” he said.

From Lekki 98, the RCCG moved to the era of the youth revival. But since that time, Olalekan noted that the growth of the church has stagnated.

He adds, “There must be something that must be done to get to the next level. This new wave is evangelism driven. We want to achieve 40 million souls by year 2032.”

Pastor Henry Adeyemo

For the vision to become a reality, Olalekan reeled out the modus operandi.

He said, “For us to achieve this number of membership, we need to establish 400,000 units of 100 persons per unit. A unit consists of 100 persons meaning that if there is a parish where the membership is not up to 100, it is not a unit. This will give us 40 million souls.”

One of the delivery strategies is that the church will embark on massive publicity and awareness among its members. “Every member of the RCCG needs to buy into this vision. That is the starting point. The Bible makes us to know that we need to write the vision down so that all those who read it will run with it. The awareness should permeate the provinces, zones, areas and parishes. Every member of the church has to key into it.”

He informed further that the 400,000 units will be distributed to regions of the RCCG.  And the regions will be prayerfully expected to meet their target of a particular number of units.

In line with this move, all parishes of the church are expected to register on the church’s portal so that the growth of the church can be effectively tracked.

In addition to this, RCCG will set up mobile parishes. This, according to him, is called the Paste Approach. “The church will be taken to people where they are. Places like football fields, motor parks, will be visited. Efforts will be made to share the word of God with them in those places.

“On Sunday morning, some groups can be sent to football fields. We go there and ask for the team leader. We can then request that we be allowed to pray for them before they start their match. In doing this, we can provide something for them to eat before they start their match. But we will request that we want to pray and then share the word of God for just 10 minutes. When they become born again, they will become part of us.”

He, however, noted that there is no way the church can grow without well-equipped pastors in the parishes. To make this a reality, Olalekan informed that Pastor Adeboye has approved that 10,000 copies of a book titled, “The Man, the Message and the Ministry” be printed and given to pastors of the parishes free of charge. “The manual is very rich. It contains major things that a pastor needs to know. It will go a long way to help pastors to do well,” he said.

In addition to this, every member of the RCCG is being encouraged to win a soul in one month. This, according to Olalekan, is operation 111.  He said, “You can’t claim to be born again without winning a soul. Your primary assignment is to win souls. 

“We should aim at turning everybody to soul winners. Create events as opportunity to invite people to church. The first thing is to bring them to church. Pastors should also prepare ahead for their weekly messages so that members can advertise the message and invite people.”

The Aide of the General Overseer also pointed out that pastors of the RCCG should seek the supernatural. “We must operate in the supernatural. People want to see the supernatural. Every worker should know we are in this gospel to be engaged in the supernatural. That is what will draw people. Encourage our members to share testimonies. That is a practical evidence of what God is doing in our churches. Advertising testimonies is very good,” he said.

He argued that there is a need to sometimes use bait to get people to the kingdom. “Some people say when you give people bread in the church, you will turn them to rice Christians. But the truth is that it is something that will bring people to church. Jesus called us to be fishers of men. You can’t catch a fish without first using something to attract the fish.

“The fishermen throw food into the sea to attract fishes to the net. Jesus commanded us to feed the poor. Our Christian Social Responsibility is vital to spreading the gospel. Jesus said I was hungry you gave me food. It is part of our responsibility as believers to give the hungry food.”

Data and Statistics

The most astonishing of Olalekan’s delivery was however the data of RCCG Region 2 that he reeled out to buttress his point that the church is still far from its target.

He noted that the region has 1461 parishes with 88,539 members. Of the parishes, 114 has less than 10 members each while about 811 parishes has between 11 and 50 members. 356 parishes have between 51 and 100 members while 83 parishes have between 101 and 150 members. Only 43 of the parishes have between 151 and 200 members each. 28 of the Parishes have between 201and 300 parishes while only 14 parishes have between 301 and 400 in membership.

Parishes that have between 400 and 450 are 10. Only 7 parishes can boast of membership of between 450 and 600. Parishes with a population of between 700 and 1000 are just 4 while only one parish has a population above 1000.

The implication is that parishes above 100 is 13 percent while those with a population of less than 100 is 87 percent.

One critical area Olalekan emphasised in his presentation is the need for aggressive prayer. He noted that many members of the church no longer pray for salvation of souls. “We don’t pray for souls anymore. We need to pray people to come to the kingdom.  Special prayers, prayer chains for people to come to church, should be organised. It is only God that can save the souls of men. To get all these things done, everybody must cooperate. Ushers must be up to their duty.”

Funding

One of the questions that came up during the session was how the Vision 2032 will be funded. The answer to this question was quite revealing.

Olalekan said what it takes is for people to have a vision for church growth. “There was need to first define what we need money for. The truth is that we need to think out of the box. When there is a willing heart, there will be support from heaven.”

He debunked the notion that the church has so much money to spend. He said many of the parishes outside Nigeria are being sponsored from the remittances from the Nigerian parishes. “The question is, what do you need money for?  People who ask for money can’t tell why they need money. Whatever money we remit to national is being spent on mission. We have churches in 197 nations of the world. All the churches are sponsored from Nigeria. We send money from here to those countries.”

He said the church can’t grow on tithes alone while also encouraging members to give sacrificially towards the vision.

Commenting on the vision, Pastor Ola Adejubee, Assistant to the Continental Overseer of Training and Development African Continent 2, as at the time of this report said several meetings have been held on Vision 2032.

Pastor Ola Adejubee

Adejubee, who is also pastor of Region 18 of RCCG comprising of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara provinces said, “I want to thank God for the life of my Continental Overseer, Daddy Odeyemi. We have had several meetings on this vision 2032 and a lot of things have been put in place.

“We are raising indigenous pastors to train them at our training centre in Abuja, and there is a dimension of diversified ministries of sport, CRS, youth, men, women and school movements, that we are bringing into the vision; all these things are put in place in order to come out with a good report for vision 2032.

“There are many other things that are going on. For instance, strategies are being developed in the area of land acquisition. We are doing a lot to make sure that vision 2032 is given a pride of place.  We have various targets given to regions and based on their reports from the meetings, they have identified areas requiring some very important actions and they are working seriously on them now.”

Pastor Belemina Obunge who is the Pastor in charge of Region 35 Youth Provinces believes Vision 2032 is a divine assignment. “I believe the youth can do better, the youth are set already concerning the vision 2032.  All struggling parishes will be encouraged to develop and will be assisted in any way possible.

Pastor Belemina Obunge

“The youth are trying and there is room for them to do more.  In fact, the theme for this year’s Youth Convention is ENLARGE so there is a space for enlargement and the youth are ready to take the position.

Pastor in charge of Region 37, Henrry Adeyemo, states that obedience is the first key to achieving the vision. “We must obey. This leads to the second. We are to mobilize all our people even from the grassroots. So we have been able to examine all our parishes in our region that are less than 100 members to have minimum of 100 membership on or before December 2023. That’s what we’re doing.”

He said he had a meeting with pastors in charge of provinces and their assistants and had set up an effective committee to properly articulate the vision and create a template that can be used to achieve it.

“We are determined to evaluate our performance on quarterly basis. We informed our people on how important this vision is, that it has to be accomplished at all cost. So everybody, including pastors, need to tighten their belts because with the development from the top now, this isn’t a joke and this is where prayer needs to come in. I believe in prayer, that there is nothing God cannot do, He can bring something out of nothing.” he said

Pastor Tosin Oludoyi

Pastor John Tosin Oludoyi who is an Assistant Pastor in charge of Youth 7 Province (CSR) in RCCG says his strategy is to have meetings with ministers and workers on Sunday and appreciate them for the past RCCG calendar year. So for anyone who evangelises two persons in two months, there will be a special gift. Every Saturday by 4pm, I’ll lead the evangelism team, I’ll be leading the follow-up: so bring them to church then we follow them up and with the help of God in areas like welfare, we will take care of them.”

A missionary in Uganda, Pastor Ayodele Olubodun gives insight on what is to be done outside Nigeria. He said, “I was privileged to attend a 3-day House Fellowship Leadership Training recently at Redemption City of God. What I discovered is that these house fellowship teachings are inspiring, especially for some of us that are on the mission field because we think anything that involves Church Planting requires lot of money.

Pastor Ayodele Olubodun

“In some cases, we don’t need much money to start house fellowships, for example in some countries where they don’t allow physical church; you can have house fellowships and call it underground churches. So where we cannot open like 10 churches in a year, we can have 100 house fellowships, so I see it as one of the strategies to back up the Vision 2032.”

He suggested the need for a pastor to be in charge of House Fellowship at the provincial level. “Now, we need to be more focused. If we can return to the past commitment, we’ll achieve the vision. So, let there be an office of Assistant Pastor in-charge of House Fellowship. Let it also be applied in all the mission fields. The House Fellowship is a big project. So there will be APICP in-charge of House Fellowship within Nigeria and outside Nigeria and this is one of the best strategy that I see that can actualize the vision 2032.”

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