By Sunday Osanyintuyi
COVID-19 pandemic caught almost everyone in Nigeria unaware and unprepared. Yet, the full brunt of the pandemic is not on us as experienced in other climes.
What we are experiencing now seems to be a dress rehearsal. We can only pray that it will not get worse.
But then the unpreparedness of most church organisations showed as the pandemic practically upturned events and some established norms were uprooted.
Nobody would have imagined that churches will not have physical gathering for three weeks running. It is even more challenging that Easter 2020 will be celebrated in homes of every Christian in states where there is a lock-down.
Besides, many homes are grappling with survival as the shut-down on activities have made it practically impossible for people to earn a living.
Daystar Christian Centre was however not taken aback by both the pandemic and the lockdown. The church which is under the divine leading of Holy Spirit and the senior pastors, Sam and Nike Adeyemi, had long been prepared to face the present pandemic.
The theme of the year, REST, had prepared members of the assembly to remain calm in the face of trouble. God had made it clear that the year is secured in His arms as well as all His children who will live their lives on revelation and obedience.
Just before Lagos State government gave the lockdown directive, the church leadership had moved the idea of suspending her physical worship service to curb the spread, possibly. Hence, the church wasted no time to announce suspension of physical gathering and moved all her services online when government ordered.
Long before now, the church online streaming remains one of the best in Nigeria. It has remained a blessing to those who are far away from Lagos but who want to experience the church’s service. The online platform of the church is indeed a top-notch. So, the absence of physical gathering of members has no effect on the church.
As a responsible church being led by a visionary servant of God, Daystar Christian Centre has food bank where indigent members and non-members come to draw food stuff, clothing and other items every week. The benevolence unit of the church coordinates this every week. This is to ensure “no member of the church goes hungry”. This is a policy statement and the leadership of the church is committed to this.
In the wake of the pandemic and complete lock down in Lagos, the church did not have to create an emergency welfare unit, rather it enhanced the already existing Food Bank. More food items were added to the bank for immediately deployment to the needy. These were given out to some Lagos residents to cushion the effects of the stay at home order.
In addition to this, over three thousand indigent members of the church received N5000 (five thousand) each credited to their accounts by the church. The church through her effective home cell structure was able to identify those who are in need and responded accordingly.
The church, though silent about this, is currently giving scholarship to many indigent members’ children. Also, medical bills of some members are being funded by the church.
Sam & Nike Adeyemi believe that the essence of a church should not be about the magnificent buildings but making real impact in the society. The church has been committed to this value since it was established twenty- five years ago.