The Lagos chapter of the Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association held a strategic conference on how to reach the unreached on August 24 and 25
The conference tagged, Finish the task, took place at the Grace and Glory Chapel in Ikeja, Lagos. It attracted representatives of missions’ agencies in the state, lovers of missions, and a number of church leaders
Speaking on the first day of the event, the convener of the Global Mandate Conference, Rev Toyin Kehinde expressed confidence that the task of reaching the unreached is not an option for believers but an assignment that has to be accomplished.
It is doable
The first step according to him is to have the understanding that the assignment is doable. “Don’t let us have a defeatist mentality. That is what is keeping us from accomplishing the task. We feel we don’t have the manpower, the ability, and the resources. But if we have the orientation that it is doable, we will go out to actually finish it. We can do it.” Rev Kehinde said.
He added, “The task is, making disciples of every ethnic group. It is not just every nation, but every ethnic group. Nigeria is one nation politically but there are several nations in Nigeria. God needs disciples from every language in Nigeria. Each of these ethnic groups must hear the gospel and worship the Lord.”
Making reference to the book of Revelation, he said, “At the end of the age, there will be representatives of all the languages in all the countries of the world before the throne of God. And they will not be before the throne except somebody has preached to them in a way they will understand and then surrender to Christ.”
Gospel of repentance
Rev Kehinde who is also the Secretary of the SouthWest Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, said further that God expects the church to preach the gospel of repentance. “It is not the gospel of leadership, or making money. Jesus said in Luke 24 v 27 that we should preach repentance and forgiveness of sins. That is the mandate.
“The mandate remains unchanged though we are in changing times. If we don’t see it as that, we will just be talking. Jesus said I must work while it is day.” he said.
While noting that many spend more time talking than doing the work of missions, he said, “Jesus sent us to finish the work. He set the pace for us to finish the task. We must come out of our comfort zone and reach out to souls”
Woman by the well
Making allusion to the woman by the well that encountered Jesus, he said, “When that woman met Jesus, he ran to nearby villages to preach to people and he brought people to Jesus. Many of those who came to see Jesus came because the woman told them but they also experienced Jesus by themselves.
“Ironically, the disciples who had been with Jesus went to the same nearby villages to bring food. The woman brought souls. The disciples brought food. But unfortunately for them, Jesus was no longer feeling the pang of hunger. He said his food was to do the work of God and to complete it.”
How to finish the task
On how to complete the task, Kehinde said, the first thing is to identify the scope of the work and areas where the gospel has not reached.
“We must have clarity about the remaining task. We must have an idea of what has been done and the things left undone. If we don’t do that, we may find out that most of our efforts are still being channeled to areas and people where the work has been done. I call that the great imbalance.
“There are thousands that are yet to give their life to Christ in Lagos but they have the gospel available to them. But there are people who do not have the gospel available to them because nobody has presented an alternative to them. The task is to get the gospel to all to hear and let them make a choice. Somebody should not be so privileged to hear the second coming when some have not heard about the first coming.”
Unreached in Lagos
He recalled that some years ago research showed that some people were yet to hear about Jesus in the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos and a few other places adding that “If we want to finish it we need to know where we are yet to reach. We should not be like people beating the air. NEMA Lagos may have to do research and bring to the knowledge of the church in Lagos areas that have not experienced the gospel of Jesus.”
He suggested also that the Church needs to explore networking possibilities so that those who are strong in certain areas of ministry can help those who are weak.
Rev Kehinde also emphasised the need to engage new people to help us to think about how to carry out the task. “Many of us have spent years in the ministry and have run out of ideas. We need new people to help us think through the process. Many of us are already set in our minds and we longer have fresh ideas about reaching the unreached. But people who are just joining the work can bring fresh ideas on how to do the work.”
Market place labourers
The mission enthusiast also suggested the need to engage marketplace labourers. “That is a ready harvest force untapped. There are many people we can reach through businessmen, professionals in various fields, footballers, etc. But we need to engage the professionals and teach them the art of soul-winning. There are many places that these people can reach by virtue of their profession. But they need to be equipped.”He said.
He added that there is a need for new funding strategies for missions.
God will go with us
Also speaking at the event, Pastor Precious Adams assured participants that God “who gave us the task will go with us”
She spent time challenging women to take up the challenge of missions irrespective of the distractions around them.
“Evangelism means to tell someone about Jesus. Mission means being sent out. It entails going out of your location to preach the gospel. Missions actually mean leaving your comfort zone to unreached places. As a woman, you must deliberately take the step to go.”
She wondered how people would be planning to see Jesus without a soul. “Many of us give excuses because of our children and our husbands. But there are things we can do irrespective of these factors. We can decide to embark on praying for souls. Prayers can bring souls to the kingdom. You will be shocked that your prayers can bring a million souls to the kingdom.” she said.
She asked: “What is your plan for the marriage supper of the lamb? adding, “Spend time to pray. There are communities that need prayers. Pray that all children in your community be saved. Prayer is key, pray for missionaries and pray for all the people around you to know Jesus. Prayer is stronger than you think. Tell the holy spirit you want to intercede for souls and he will give you the unction and grace. The aim of missions is to ensure that those that are saved become like Christ. We have to do this deliberately. You have to intentionally pray.”
She encouraged women to be submissive to their husbands at the same time be instruments of help in their homes”
Value of women
Pastor Shade Toyin Kehinde continued the charge the following day of the conference. She encouraged women to make themselves available for missions.
She said God did not make a mistake creating a woman. “God in his wisdom made the woman to help the man. Ignoring that help will stop the man from operating at full capacity. Ignoring the woman is like ignoring God’s help. It is like telling God that he is not wise creating the woman.”
Pastor Mrs Kehinde who pastors at Agape Generation International Church noted that if women do not make themselves available for the task, God will find alternative instruments but they will be the loser.
Recalling her own experience, she said, “I was doing well in the banking sector when God called me to join my husband in the work. It was not easy leaving banking. But I obeyed. We came to ground zero when I resigned to join my husband. I had to resort to selling petty things like biscuits in the front of our house just so we could make ends meet. It was a tough period. But God saw us through those times. What I have discovered is that the pain will not last. God is there to see you through only if you are committed to the task.”
She emphasised the need for women to cooperate with their husbands who have been called to do missions adding that it often leads to confusion if the woman has a separate call from that of the husband.
Women according to her should encourage their husbands. “If your husband is looking for a shoulder to cry on, let it be your shoulder. The woman is the best encourager for her husband. The woman should be the prayer partner of her husband and should go all the way to support him. The woman should support her husband physically, and emotionally. She should also ensure that she does not fail in her conjugal responsibility.”
Time to work
Chairman of Lagos NEMA, Evang Edwin Ebeniro noted at the conference that many believers are doing what God has not called them to do. “We are doing many things that have no bearing on what God has asked us to do. Mission is about the love of Christ. He has called every believer to do missions. Unfortunately, we have become like firemen who are sleeping when they are supposed to do what we have been trained to do, to put out the fire in a burning house.”
Ebeniro contended that if Christians truly have the spirit of God “they will not be unwilling to do what God has called us to do.”
He charged participants at the two-day event to make use of the valuable nuggets shared by the speakers for the purpose of expanding God’s kingdom.