The mass of people at the Ketu, Lagos LAWNA ground of The Apostolic Church Nigeria on August 1 was a clear indication of how they had longed for fellowship. It was the 45th annual convention of the Lagos and Western/Northern Areas (LAWNA) territory of TACN.
First meeting after covid-19
Last year, the convention could not hold physically because of the scourge of covid-19. This time, members of the first-generation Pentecostal church were more than eager to congregate.
Despite the threat of the third wave of Covid-19, many found their way to the convention ground. The church however did not take chances as they ensured that no one gained access to the ground without a nose mask.
All the major entrances of the church were manned by protocol officers armed with sanitizers. They ensured that everybody’s hands were sanitized before they could enter the massive church auditorium.
The excitement was palpable. The fellowship was electrifying. Folks who had not seen themselves for a couple of years shared banter. There was exuberance in the air.
Prophetic declaration for attendees
At the welcome service on Saturday, July 31, attendees were treated to a menu of prophetic offerings by Pastor J.O. Olayemi. He shared the love of God with the expectant congregation assuring that God was set to bless them and renew all that concerns them.
Declaring the words of God, he said, “I will work over your lives. Who shall stop Me? and there shall be spiritual deepening, more deepening than before on your Christian journey. Therefore, be always present in all the services on this mount because you don’t know the hour the angel I sent will pay you a visit, saith the Lord.
“Each individual will have a different time of visitation: you don’t know your own time, saith the Lord. I will visit you on this mount; those that are afraid to come on this mount, fear not, fear not, because the mount has been declared holy, and is ready for wonders, this year, saith the Lord.”
He declared that the convention will be a convention of consolation and joy. “Tell your enemy and your pursuer, to get back from you: it is your Convention of consolation and joy. You have endured pain enough. You have endured joblessness enough, you have endured hunger enough. I declare you seek Me, seek the Lord on this mount, saith the Lord. Seek Me and I shall be found and there shall be consolation and joy before you go.”
Indeed, it turned out to be a convention of consolation and joy. The entire landscape of the territory was littered with people who sincerely desired an encounter with the Lord. All around the massive auditorium were individuals, groups, and families groaning in prayer and seeking the face of the Lord. One could almost feel the passion in the air.
Holiness is agreeing with God-Igwe
The President of the Church, Pastor Sampson Igwe captured the essence of the convention in his sermon on Sunday, August 1 describing the gathering as a unique one. He said the theme of the convention was inspired by the Lord noting that the subject of holiness is hardly broached in many assemblies.
“People don’t want to talk about holiness but that is the very essence of God. He called us to holiness and he expects us to be holy. Moses called us to holiness. Peter in his epistles called us to holiness. They were all speaking the mind of God. The call to holiness is not something that is negotiable because that is the very character and nature of God.”
Igwe who spoke for about one hour explained that holiness simply means agreeing with the word of God. “It is a decision from within to follow after God. We must get to the point in our Christian walk that we agree with God in whatever he says. If He says it is wrong, it is wrong. If He says it is right it is right. When you begin to call sin, sin, you are on your way to holiness,” he stated.
He said further that the true believer should see God’s call for us to be holy as a privilege and not a burden. “We should see it as a privilege to share in God’s nature and attribute. If our worship will be acceptable, we have to be holy. We must excuse ourselves from all forms of filthiness. We must realise that nothing unclean will make it to heaven.”
The TACN President observed that if holiness is not possible, God will not command us to be holy. “God will not tell us to do what is not possible. If we have genuinely allowed Christ in our lives, the grace to be holy is already in us because he is a Holy God. It is the holiness of God in us that reflects in our attitude and behaviour. The more we walk with God, the more we are supplied with the grace and ability to stay holy.”
He urged his listeners not to harden their hearts as they continue to fellowship with God. “The starting point is for you to release yourself to him and allow him to work through you. He is ready to grant you the grace to live a holy life if you are ready to yield to him. Nothing is impossible for God to do through you,” he said.
Ordination of Pastors Prophets
Before Igwe’s ministration that Sunday, the church ordained 12 apostles and seven pastors. One of the ordained pastors is the immediate past General Secretary of Bible Society of Nigeria, Dr. Dare Ajiboye.
The Chairman of the LAWNA territory, Pastor Segun Awojide had earlier in his welcome address during the ministers’ Conference; ahead of the convention called for commitment from leaders in all walks of life.
He said the leaders and the followers in the Church and in the nation must consecrate their financial resources, time, and strength towards the development of the nation and the Church.
He told the ministers that consecration is the price they have to pay to receive God’s blessing, to wrought signs and miracles, and be fulfilled in their ministry.
The subject of holiness however ran throughout the convention with several breakout sessions. Leaders of the church from various parts of the country took turns to enlighten participants at the convention on the subject. The song ministration and from various regions that constitute the LAWNA territory made the convention a memorable one.
The Secretary of the Planning Committee of the convention, Pastor Solomon Nkopeti said the convention was unique in all ramifications. “Last year we could not gather like this because of the covid-19. But here we are today to the glory of God. We thank God for the arrangement. This year as you move around you discover that we have a solid arrangement in place to accommodate the thousands of people.”
He said the theme of the convention was inspired by God. “The Lord had told our leaders that there are evil days ahead. The Lord told us a lot of people will compromise their faith but he told us that the call to holiness is a safety net. Only those who are clothed with holiness will be able to stand what is coming ahead.”
Nkopeti stated that the convention had cost the church a lot of money. “We had to recruit people to help with the sanitation of the premises and we to procure health equipment to help to test people. You can see that despite the thousands of people, we are not leaving anything to chance. God is indeed working in great and miraculous ways among us.”