By Wilson Adekumola
The General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church Nigeria, Rev. Samuel Aboyeji, has said Christians are mobile pulpits and are expected to be agents of change everywhere they go and through their professions.
Aboyeji made the observation while delivering a special keynote address at the 2022 convocation of LIFE Theological Seminary on Saturday, November 12.
The seminary is run by Foursquare Gospel Church Nigeria. It has been in operation for over 60 years and has produced many leading servants of God in Nigeria and beyond.
Life Theological Seminary is an affiliate of the University of Ibadan and accredited by Association for Christian Education in Africa(ACTEA)
At the convocation, Aboyeji who is the fifth General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church Nigeria also urged the graduating seminarians to be agents of transformation wherever they find themselves.
He noted that Nigeria is in a dire strait and urgently needs leaders that could cause a change and impact the world positively.
“Ministers of the gospel are expected to be at the forefront demonstrating and inspiring leadership to transform our society to the glory of God,” he said.
According to him, “One of the greatest things our Lord Jesus required of us is change and change is the most difficult thing to do because not everybody likes to change from their comfort zone.
“Change is not convenient. Yet, this world cannot be a better place unless we experience change.”
The Foursquare G.O stressed further that the ministry relevant for this age is the one that places a premium on the transformation of lives and society.
He pleaded with the graduating students to make themselves agents of change.
He notes, “A man does not change from outside to inside but from inside to outside. We do not need the pulpit to preach the gospel before we can change our society.”
The critical question
The critical question Christians must ask according to him is whether they are making progress with Jesus
Aboyeji who spoke on the topic, “Transformation Ministers, Agents of Change” gave more insight on how to change and the glorious future awaiting a preacher that places a premium on change.
He stated that transformation simply means changing the individual, relationships and institutions to something better
“The transformed minister has the capacity to raise marketplace ministers under the power of the Holy Ghost. His message has the capacity to transform individuals, relationships, institutions and the world around us. That is the call and essence of transformation ministry.” he said.
How to know a transformed minister
The first sign to know a transformed minister according to Aboyeji is the progress the person is making with Jesus.
“The person’s approach to life will change, his or her feeling will change, his or her reaction to things will change,” he said.
He recalled that in the 70s, Christians were not many, but they wielded great influence in society.
“They were able to do that because it takes light to fight darkness. But today, if we want to be sincere with ourselves a lot of our light has been blurred. We have a lot of people who are bringing down our nation, who are committing all sorts of atrocities.
“Yet, you hear names like; Daniel, Joseph and Michael among them. But I believe we can do better than what we are doing as Christians and believers of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There is pulpit everywhere
Aboyeji maintained that Christians who place a premium on transformation make everywhere their pulpit. “There is pulpit everywhere. As a medical doctor, you have a pulpit in your place, as a pharmacist, you have a pulpit in your career. A banker has a pulpit in the banking hall.”
Referring to the graduating students, he said, “As you are being sent to the world I want you to know and know very well that you are not being sent to go and create another pulpit, you are being sent to the world to convert wherever you find yourself to the pulpit to transform lives and cause change through the word of God.
Citing the example of Saul who later became Paul in the Bible, Aboyeji said, “There is always a minimum of three encounters. One encounter does not bring transformation. The first is subsequent to another.
“Our coming to Jesus and accepting him as our Lord and saviour is one encounter. The major encounter is the encounter we have with the word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. This leads to several other encounters that build us up spiritually.”
He said any preacher of the gospel must have a burden for the lost adding however that the preacher must first be the first partaker of his own message.
“We need to check ourselves, whatever we preach let it happen to us first. Let us correct those who err in the doctrine and in behaviour. Exhort and encourage those who are weak in the spirit with inexhaustible teaching of the Word,” he said.
Live like early apostles
Aboyeji implored the graduating ministers to live like the early Apostles. He said, “the early Apostles achieved so much for the kingdom, and made a great impact for God. You have been called, chosen and configured through your training to do likewise.
“There is great expectation from you as transformation Ministers. You have been chosen by God to provide the much-needed right direction to a world ravaged by sin and iniquity.”
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to theological training and development at various levels. “This administration will continue to pay premium attention to theological training and development at various levels.
“We will advance and support worthy initiatives aimed at equipping men and women to overcome the challenges of the times. We will do all within our capacity to make them relevant and result-driven in the service of the kingdom.”
At the event, about 390 students received certificates in various categories.
These include; Diploma in Theology (D, Th), Diploma in Music (D.Music)Bachelor of Theology (B.TH), Master of Theology (M.TH), and Doctor of Philosophy (P.HD) Doctor of Ministry.
Special awards were also given to the overall best graduating students and also in some classes.
The Provost of the school, Rev. Prof. Cletus Orgu, urged the graduating seminarians to apply the skills and knowledge they acquired as service to humanity and to the glory of God.
“Theological training at LIFE is not just about academic grades but about transforming lives, the Church and society.
“Undeniably, over the years, we have made remarkable progress quantitatively and qualitatively. This time last year we graduated 259 students. To the glory of God, this year we are churning out 390 students with certificates in Ministry, Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, Doctors of Ministry and Doctors of Philosophy.
“This set has been branded “Transformation Ministers” Acts 17:6. I, therefore, charge you all to be fully committed to the great commission.
“Without doubt, you have been enriched and equipped to carry out this noble assignment of transforming the sin-infested and spiritually blinded world. You must all go out there to apply the knowledge and skills for the good of humanity and the glory of God”
Chairman Governing Council
The Chairman of the Life Theological Seminary Governing Council, Rev. Joseph Ameh used the opportunity to invite Christians to avail themselves of the training programmes in the school.
He said, “As you can see, our seminary has continued to witness physical, spiritual and theological strides in realizing the objectives of its founders.
“As you may be aware, the seminary offers various levels of theological education from Certificate in Christian Ministry to terminal degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Ministry with assured quality of theological education earned in over 60 years of our establishment.”
He called on interested Christians to avail themselves of the opportunity that the institution offers.
The chairman disclosed further that there is now online teaching and learning opportunity in the seminary.
“The online platform has broadened our reach to all categories of students to benefit from LIFE,” he said.
People from all walks of life graced the event which lasted for about five hours. The graduating students were full of joy and excitement. Many of them who spoke with our correspondent expressed great delight at the quality of the training they got from the seminary.
Otun David who obtained a Bachelor of Theology said the seminary is an eye opener adding that the four-year course has really equipped him with knowledge and skills to impact the society
“It is an eye opener for anyone who wants to have the knowledge of what the Bible teaches and interpret it properly also. In our four years of study, we dealt with each book of the Bible thoroughly.
We were able to understand the content and the concept pertaining to the arrangement of the Bible and these have enhanced and broadened my knowledge. I have been challenged by the seminary and I feel I have a lot to do.”
In her own words, Mrs., Adejobi Ajoke said, “I feel very happy for being part of this programme. This is what I have been dreaming of becoming. Having gone through this process, my knowledge about God and His words has increased tremendously.
“God has revealed Himself to me in various forms. I can confidently recommend this great institution to people that want to know more about the Bible.
“I can now impact society with my education in Life Theological Seminary. It is a great place to be. My life has changed and by the grace of God, I will use what I have learnt to influence society positively.
“My advice for every other graduating student is to be a good ambassador of this school.”