The Lagos Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria is set to rejig its operations with a view to making a greater impact in the state.
The chapter which is currently being chaired by Apostle Eyinnaya Okwuonu held a three-day strategic retreat from February 1-3 to pray and chart an informed pathway.
Okwuonu told Church Times Nigeria that the PFN is set on the path of making a greater impact in the coming years adding however that there was a need to look at its operations and make necessary changes.
He said the need to make drastic and long-lasting changes informed the retreat.
Leaders of all the provinces and directors of the various directorates in the PFN numbering about 50 were at the programme held at the Redemption Camp.
PFN, an enabling organisation
The Director of Learning and Development of the fellowship, Pastor Olumide Olugbenle took time at the retreat to explain the paradigm shift.
According to him, there is a need to fully actualise the potential of the PFN and also deepen the activities of the leaders. “The leaders need to know their primary audience and deepen their knowledge and role in that direction.”
He noted that some PFN leaders think they are meant to serve themselves adding however that “such notion has to change if the fellowship is to make a greater impact in the coming years.”
Olugbenle, a public speaker and transformational leader explained that PFN should not see itself as a doing organisation, but rather as an enabling organisation.
“By that I mean, the fellowship should not be seen to be doing activities, but rather they should be the enabler of activities. The fellowship should be seen to be giving support to churches and also enable them to carry out their vision.
“For instance, the director of evangelism should not be holding crusade on PFN platform. The directorate could hold one as a prototype for churches to learn and see how crusades should be conducted.
“But its job should not be to hold crusades. It should be to support churches that want to hold crusades and enable them to hold the crusades. It should be to train evangelists in the provinces under the PFN so that they hold crusades that would bring souls to God’s kingdom.
“Our goal should be to win more souls to God’s kingdom and not to keep circulating believers among ourselves,”Olugbenle said, adding that “ Such understanding will go a long way to make the fellowship impact the church in Lagos better.”
Long term impact is key
He also observed that church leaders should find a way of assessing their impact. “We should not be excited by performance. Rather, we should be more interested in the long-term impact that we are making.
“A church for instance should be able to find out if its message on love is making an impact. It should be able to find out if its message on marital fidelity is making an impact. There are experts who can help churches to do this.” he said.
Some of the directors in the PFN took turns making submissions at the retreat.
Best practice in ministry
One of the high points of the retreat was the presentation by Rev Mrs. Janet Onaolapo.
She addressed the gathering on the best practice in life, ministry, and business.
Onaolapo who is the General Overseer of Abundant Life Gospel Church with headquarters in Agege, Lagos said prayer is the minister’s best practice.
She said the place to start for ministers of the gospel is to first have a connection with God.
“If you don’t have a connection with God, you will do ministry in vain. The way to have that connection is to shut the door when you pray.
“It simply means to be truly connected without any distraction or mechanical attempt to speak good English in the place of prayer. Praying well is not about good English,” she said.
Making copious references to the Bible, Onaolapo said “prayer is simply God taking away your burden. It is simply God manifesting in your life. It is divinity showing forth in humanity.”
She noted that God does not respond to people who don’t call upon him. “We must learn to step aside early in the morning to pray. Before you step into any project, take time to pray. Personal all-night prayers is one of the best practices in life, business, and ministry.”
According to her the aftermath of a successful ministration should be spending time in prayer no matter how tired the minister is.
“After a major crusade, a great practice we need to imbibe is to pray. Don’t just go and sit down after church. Go back and refuel. Let there be continuous communication between you and God.”
Prayer can’t be overemphasised
She said further, “Teach the brethren to rely on the Lord. We can’t overemphasise prayers. It is between you and God. Even when you have people pray for you, you have to pray by yourself. Jesus prayed by himself even when he had the apostles with him.
“We must learn to pray for fallen soldiers. Anybody who is caught up in sin needs prayers. Some of those things are set up by the power of darkness. They are demonic. We need to intercede for one another.
“Jesus had to pray to stop the attack over Peter. Praying against temptation is part of the daily prayer points. We need to pay against temptation on a regular basis. If Jesus did it we need to also do it. In the place of prayer, God will send you help.” she submitted.
Onaolapo, a pragmatic teacher of the word said God gives direction in the place of prayer. “It is a continuous practice. It takes men, not children to pray and not to faint.”
While citing various instances where prayers have worked in her ministry, she said, “Earnest prayer is more important in our walk with God. Prayer is one of the best practices we can’t over-emphasise. Let’s go back on our knees. Increase your prayer time. Pray about anything and everything”
At the event, Barrister Tomi Vincent took a session where he espoused the nitty-gritty of the law as it relates to ministry. The publisher of Church Times Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Osinaike also took the leaders on The Press and You. He emphasised the need for the fellowship to take advantage of the media in their operations.