For a long time to come the 2022 Global Mandate conference will continue to echo in the minds of participants.
The yearly conference was initiated by Rev Toyin Kehinde, General Overseer of Agape Generation International Church 15 years.
From home-coming to Global Mandate Conference
But then, it wasn’t known as GMC in its early years. It was just a yearly hosting of missionaries known as home-coming.
Only a handful of missionaries were hosted. Over the years, however, it grew into what is now known as the Global Mandate Conference.
In 2020, the conference attracted over 200 missionaries from across Africa. That was like the peak in terms of the number being hosted. It was shortly before the ravaging Covid 19 pandemic.
The following year, the meeting was spread across some provinces of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria in Lagos. It was a unique experience. The awareness among pastors increased because more city pastors were involved in the planning and hosting.
But the 2022 GMC was a step ahead of the previous years. Though the number of missionaries this time had come down to a manageable number, it brought a refreshing dimension to the missions conference.
The awareness among city pastors has soared. The missionaries too were not disappointed as it served as a time of refreshing for them. They were also able to communicate their needs in a clearer and better way.
In all, just about 60 missionaries were hosted. Thirty were hosted at the mainland end of Lagos while the other 30 were hosted at the Island end of the state.
Rev Kehinde has said in an interview with Church Times that the limited number was deliberate as the church was experimenting with new terrain and as well working with new sets of people.
The New Experiment
Indeed the experiment was a good one. At the venue of the one held at the mainland, there was a rekindling of the apostolic zeal and fervour.
About 100 city pastors joined the missionaries to drink from the Lord’s table.
The high points of the events were the messages and the testimonies by the missionaries.
The prayer sessions led by Rev Emmanuel Ajose at both venues were quite exhilarating. He was able to rouse the congregation to fervent and heartfelt prayers.
Pastor David Adewusi a missionary from Kwara state first came with the good news. He shared how he and his team went to a village in Kwara where the gospel had not been heard.
He said there was no single Christian in the entire village. When they got to the village, they met a man who turned out to be the village head sitting at its outskirt.
Adewusi was taken aback by the man’s strange look and had concluded that the man would not listen to the gospel. But as God would have it by the time they opened discussion of God’s word with him, he was receptive.
Immediately, he ordered that all the villagers be gathered to hear the gospel. And that was it. Adewusi who was excited sharing the story said many of the villagers have since embraced Jesus.
Beyond that, the development that has eluded the village for years came instantly. By some divine intervention, the only school in the village that had been long abandoned was rehabilitated by the government in less than two months that the gospel was embraced.
The village that had no light was also given a solar system that has since brought respite to their age-long sojourn in darkness.
Adewusi said many incredible things have since been happening to the inhabitants of the village thus making their efforts worth the while.
For the city pastors in attendance, such testimony was really encouraging. It was thus not difficult for some to quickly render support for Adewusi to facilitate his movement in the village.
He would need a motorbike. Right at the venue of the event, a participant promised to contribute a sum of N50k for the motorbike. The participant was to later send N100k. The missionary who needed a projector got one instantly too.
The immediate response from the city pastor was a pointer that there seems to be now a synergy between them and missionaries. The objective of the GMC is gradually being achieved.
Bishop Olaleye: Faith of our fathers
Bishop Olaleye while preaching at the event noted that any faith that does not showcase Jesus is not recognized in heaven.
Olaleye who preached on the faith of our fathers ignited the passion of participants pointing them to the faith of the early apostles.
He said, rather than believers see being a missionary as a call to suffer they should consider it a privilege. The mandate of a living church is a global mandate pointing out however that it is not the building that globalizes the mandate. It is the very essence of the mandate itself makes it global.”
The building has no link with a global mandate
“Many of us think the bigger the builder the better we are able to fulfill God’s mandate. But it has nothing to do with the building. It is about us being able to reach the ends of the world with the gospel.’ he said.
He lamented how the church has been reduced to a mere gathering; lacking in power and zeal.
Olaleye however expressed joy that GMC has continued to make a difference. He observed that GMC is the best thing that has happened to the church in Nigeria in recent times.
Colette Pienen and the healing touch
Still, at the mainland venue, a Cameronian sister, Colette Pienen who has been in Benue State doing missions came to testify how God used the GMC to bring succour to her on the field. The supports according to Pienen are spiritual, physical, and social.
She recalled that one of the years she came for the conference, she came with a heavy burden and was literally sick in her body.
Pienen said however that one of the officials in the conference was always welcoming her with a smile and a warm embrace.
“Every day this sister sees me, she would embrace me with a smile. I noticed that the more she embraced me, felt lighter and better. The sickness was leaving me gradually.
“At a point, I felt the sickness was being transferred to this sister. I started pleading with God not to make me a problem to another person. Each time the sister hugs me, I would look at her critically just to be sure she is not the one carrying the sickness.”
Eventually, Pienen was healed of her infirmity. She recalled days of loneliness and traumatic experiences on the mission field adding however that God saw her through those trying times.
Oladoyinbo: Missionaries on a war front
Dr. Babatunde Oladoyinbo in his message had earlier hinted participants not to feign ignorance of the enemies’ devices.
He said the missionaries must know of a fact that they are in war with the kingdom of darkness. He however stressed that the authority in the name of Jesus is enough to silence the devil.
Oladoyinbo who has been in missions for over 40 years noted that the devil did many things to hinder the spread of the gospel, but that God is always a step ahead of him.
“We must appreciate that we are in a war zone. The devil manipulates systems and causes things to malfunction just to stop the spread of the gospel. But we will always have the victory” he said.
Archbishop John Osa-Oni, the Vice President South West of the PFN was also on the ground to charge participants at the conference on the first day of the mainland meeting.
He spoke on “step out boldly” urging his listeners to be courageous at all times. . He said, “Until you step out, nothing moves”
Osa-Oni stated that age has no relevance where impact is concerned. “Caleb dared the mountains and the giants inhabiting them at age 85. He conquered because he stepped out in boldness. There is no mountain that can withstand a man who is determined.
Urban missions, the way out
Vice-Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of PFN, Pastor Oluleke Akinola shared exciting testimonies of how his ministry has made a lot of inroads on the missions field. He spoke on fruitfulness in urban ministry.
He noted that there are lots of opportunities around the city pastors for mission work which are often despised. Akinola urged them to explore missions’ opportunities around them. According to him, occupational or marketplace evangelism is worth exploring.
Partnership in missions
Pastor Stephen Shomide talked about the need for partnership maintenance in missions. He observed that there is bound to be conflict where two or three are involved in a project. He however noted that these conflicts could be managed.
Shomide said GMC is about a partnership between missionaries on the field and the city pastors. For the partnership to continue without hitch, he said humility is key. He added also that trust and accountability will go a long way to foster a good relationship between the missionaries and the church leaders.
Parties in partnership according to him should also be flexible. “They should examine their expectations. When situations around the agreement have changed, the parties should be humble enough to adapt to the changes. Things are not always the same.” he said.
Medical items to the rescue
On the mainland, missionaries were given medical items and drugs to take to the missions’ field. Dr. Majebi had earlier in the meeting charged the missionaries on how to attend to their health. He said God’s instructions in the book of Leviticus on what to eat are not there for the fun of it.
According to him, those instructions were given by God because, at that time, there was no knowledge of medicine. “But God knew that certain animals are not healthy for us, they would cause increased fat in our system, so he instructed the children of Israel not to take them. There was no knowledge of cholesterol then. So the only way God could help them is to dissuade them from fatty animal diets.”
He also told the participants to be careful not to allow injuries warning also that ministry work is one of the most stressful work.
“You need to take time to do check-ups and attend to your health. Do not take your body for granted because you need it to carry out the task of evangelism,” he said.
The meeting on the mainland took place at the Truth Christian Mission, Abule Egba from February 16 -17. This was followed by the Island meeting, which took place at the Church of Evangelism, Lekki Lagos from February 17-18.
Apostle Bamgbola: Why the gospel is hindered
Former Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola was at the Island conference to charge participants. He encouraged the missionaries; assuring them they are doing a great work for the kingdom.
He noted that the church has lost so many territories to the enemy. “many cathedrals have been lost to Islam in the UK. We are losing territories so fast.” he said, adding that there is a need for the church to rise up to the occasion.
According to Apostle Bamgbola, the greatest hindrance is when a Christian does not live out the word of God that he preaches.
“Unbelievers are watching us. What we have revealed to people in our generation cannot encourage them to become Christians until we live the life God has called us to live,” Bamgbola said.
Orekoya: God has the globe in mind
At the Lekki venue, Pastor Bode Orekoya of Christ Image Church spoke on the Global Church. He noted in his message that the power that God gave the church is built on a structure with the world in mind.
He said, “The fact that you are in a local church does not give you the excuse to have a local mind. If you do that you will be behaving like the Jerusalem church that stayed back in Jerusalem until persecution came and scattered them.”
Orekoya said the size of the church does not determine its reach. “Local church must be structured in such a way that will influence the world” he said.
Orekoya noted that some pastors have structured their minds on how the church is run and thereby run into trouble.
To build a global church he said, “there is a need to be strong in the word of God. People that are not strong in the word can’t go far. That was what Joshua had. He had to revert to the book of the law.”
Finance and accountability
Also at the meeting was the Director of Training of the Lagos Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Pastor Olumide Olugbenle, and its secretary, Apostle Akin Akindejoye who both talked on finance and accountability.
Olugbenle charged participants on how to balance family and ministry finance. He urged them to play for the long run adding also that they need to optimise the potential around them.
He counseled participants on how to manage their resources so that their ministry can endure for generations yet unborn. “It’s not about you and I. it is about generation yet unborn. The spiritual value we have is solid but in terms of management, we are not there yet. When we don’t plan, we plan to fail. Budget and be transparent. When our priorities are not right, we won’t get it right.”
Akindejeyo on his part stressed the need for church leaders to be accountable. He explained that reporting ministry activity must cover the operation, administration, finance, challenges and Prospects.
Youths and the role of women
Dr. Andrew Oladepo on his part made a case for discipleship and the need to build the next generation.
He said the church needs to prayerfully look inward and look for people who are vision runners. “Every youth need to be valued and encouraged. If we don’t invest in the next generation there will be nobody to take the baton from us and make sure the church continues.” He said.
Rev Dr. Shade Toyin Kehinde took a session where she underscored the place of women in ministry. She stressed the need for pastors to carry their wives along on the field noting that women have been especially grace to do the work of an evangelist.
She cited several examples of women used by God in the Bible. “The salvation that Jesus gives is for both genders. The gift of the holy spirit is for both genders. So women can’t be excluded from the great commission” she said
The Taraba testimony
Perhaps one of the sobering moments at the Island end of the conference was when a sister named Jemima Samuel from Taraba State shared her testimony
Samuel comes from a village where residents still live in the past. The killing of twins is still a common practice in that part of Taraba State.
Whenever a woman gives birth to twins they would be buried alive. Children that are not born with their heads descending from the womb are not allowed to live either. Some missionaries visited the village and there Jemima Samuel gave her life to Jesus along with her husband and a few others.
She and her husband became missionaries and were doing missions in Taraba State. But her husband was slaughtered by unknown people about three years ago. She was however not deterred. She remained on the field still preaching the gospel.
Just two years ago she too was kidnapped. But she survived the ordeal. She came to appreciate the prayers of the saints confirming that she feels the impact of the prayers on the mission field.
Onilude: Reaching rural dwellers
Apostle Olatunji Onilude’s testimony was also encouraging. He goes to rural areas to plant churches. He said last year his ministry was able to reach 23 villages adding that over 1000 people surrendered their lives to Christ.
Onilude said last year about 70 young people were trained on missions while children’s Bible club was set up on the missions field. He is trusting God for a mission bus that would help the work of the ministry to move seamlessly.
The GMC rounded off with a thanksgiving service on Sunday, February 19. Pastor Toyin Kehinde used the opportunity to remind the church of the need to make more sacrifices by showing more love for the things that concern God.