By Adekunle Adewunmi
A total of 306 seminarians graduated from the Life Theological Seminary on Saturday November 10 at the Lagos Ikorodu Campus of the institute with Jeremiah Jesuloba, 20, coming tops of the lot.
The 2018 Convocation makes it the 60th of such since the first set of students graduated in 1958. The school has over the years been training students who have been affecting the society and helping in expanding God’s kingdom on earth by exposing the unsaved to the knowledge of truth.
An affiliate of University of Ibadan, Nigeria, run by the Foursquare Gospel Church, LIFE’s 2018 Graduates were drawn from six different nations and camped in 47 study centers in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun.
Programmes offered in the school include Certificate in Christian Ministry, Diploma in Theology, Bachelor and Masters in Theology.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the governing council of the institute, Rev Femi Okunniyi noted that the occasion was one of the largest graduation ceremonies in the history of the school.
He described the graduates as a special class of ministers of the gospel noting, “You’re beacons of service, embodied with grace and power to dismiss pride, dispel self-centeredness and epitomize the character of the ministry that Jesus exemplified and called many to emulate in all nations of the world”.
The General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Rev. Felix Meduoye, in his speech made case for the advancement of God’s kingdom which cannot but involve more laborers in the field.
While noting that there is an increasing demand for skilled workforce in the field, he said; “as an organization, we would not relent but will remain committed to the mission of encouraging the training of men and women for the work of the ministry so that they can effectively discharge their God given callings.
Meduoye explained that as Beacons of Service, they have been chosen by God especially at this time when carnality is taking the centre-stage – to provide the right direction to a sin-infested, spiritually blinded world. He said, “You have been called to offer selfless, serious, spiritual, sacrificial and Christ-centered service which holds great reward in this world and eternity.”
He expressed great delight that the school has been included in the list of globally recognized training institutions of Foursquare Gospel Church noting also that the “Provost became one of the writers for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel-sponsored Discipleship and Leadership Training program. This is a great boost to their efforts in positioning LIFE as a foremost theology education institution.”
He then charged the graduates to watch diligently in all things, endure afflictions and resolve to make full proof of their ministry. His words, “You must all come to terms with the reality and magnitude of the assignments you have been given to execute, and be determined to tap into the abundant resources which God has made available to you through Christ”.
The Provost of the school, Cletus Chukwuemeka Orgu noted with great excitement that the impact of LIFE Seminary has been tremendous. This he said was further revealed in a survey supervised by Overseas Council (O.C) where the graduates from LIFE were assessed in the areas of character, competence and relationship. He noted that the report confirmed that the graduates are doing wonderfully well in serving God; church and humanity.
Orgu noted that significant improvements have been made in many areas, especially in the areas of facility and curriculum. According to him, there’s better internet service, equipped classrooms coupled with air-conditioners. The Curriculum has been reviewed with the inclusion of Doctor of Ministry Programme which is also equivalent to the Doctorate degree with hopes that some of them will be graduating next year.
He disclosed further that the Seminary received a full recognition from LIFE Pacific USA to enable graduates study M.A in Strategic Leadership while the McPherson University’s religious department is also available for the furtherance of academic pursuits.
He however called for more partnership and support in the areas of funds, infrastructure, scholarships for staff and students, furniture among others – to continually meet the greatest need of the church which involves training of workers in sound doctrine, godliness, and the ability to communicate God’s truth to His people.
“Our partnership with other international organizations such as Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA), International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), Cornerstone Trust Foundation, Theological Book Network and Global Association for Transformational Education (GATE) has positively added value to LIFE in terms of knowledge, skill, books and finance.”
The best graduating student, Jeremiah Jesuloba recounted his experience in the school describing the citadel as a place of intense learning.
He said, “for four years, I went into three levels of transition.” “There was a point in my life during 100 – 200 level where I was practically into academic Christianity – that is to say; you learn it, know it, preach it but don’t practice it. I was just having high scores, was given clapping ovation whenever I preach but at that time, I felt something was missing and decided to transit from academic Christianity to practical Christianity – that what I’m teaching, preaching, what I’m being taught, there is a need to practice it and that was quite exciting for me. But then I still wanted more”.
Recalling Archbishop Benson Idahosa’s words he said, “if God is not in the now then, He was never in the past. That statement put fire in my bones. “I’ve read how God performed miracles in the Bible, turn people’s situation around and I also desired to experience such in my life and ministry so I decided to move higher – to see those things real in my life and ministry so, that was when I experienced genuine transition.”
He however got to a point when he lost interest the academics and concentrated more on spiritual growth until he was made to understand the need to be both spiritually and academically sound. Jeremiah Jesuloba who was the youngest among the graduates gave credit to his father for not encouraging him to attend the secular University. “I was qualified to study in the secular university. But somehow my father kept ringing into my ears that what I needed was theological education and not secular education. But he did not arm-twist me. He allowed the whole scene to play out naturally.
“I just discovered I lost interest in secular University because of the call of God upon my life and that was why I decided to give it my best because what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. Though I met people who told me that all I needed is the power of God, I don’t need to read. But, both the spiritual and academic aspects are needed and I believe I was able to balance both during my four years in this school”.
Jeremiah declared that he would love to study Economics and International Relations so as to be versed and dynamic in life after he must have become a Professor of Theology.