Vincent Omegba is a Nigerian resident in Aurora Colorado. He is the provincial pastor of NAR HQ Region 7 of the Redeemed Christian church of God, The Americas Operations overseeing 11 parishes in both Colorado and Missouri states.
A lawyer by training, Omegba is the VP of International Collaboration Consensys Group LLC and manages her Nigerian affiliate ConsensysGrowth Ltd.
A senior consultant with ConsensysGrowth LLC, a Colorado corporation, and also sits on the board of City of Aurora Key Community Response Team (KCRT) that advises the government on cultural, security, safety, and social issues. He leads a multi-cultural church that actively participates in community development through Hope Hall Inc.
Omegba holds a masters in organizational leadership and specialized in strategic innovation and change management.
Currently a Ph.D. student in Industrial & Organizational Psychology at the Capella University Minneapolis MN. He has contributed to policies in the US, Nigeria, Uganda, Bangladesh, UAE, South Africa, and Cameroon.
Though in his 60s and also a grandfather, his passion for Nigeria remains strong. He is ready to join forces with like-minded Nigerians to build a strong, prosperous, and godly nation.
His wife, Priscilla Omegba is an early childhood educator, women ministry leader, and prayer warrior. She collaborates with her husband in the work of the ministry. Omegba shares his story with Church Times in this interview.
It’s interesting that you are a lawyer by training and also a pastor. At what point did you get to know the Lord Jesus and how did it happen?
Well, I got born again on the 19th of December, 1997 under the ministry of Pastor Enoch Adeboye. My conversion was dramatic judging by my background. I was born into the Catholic Church, I was so interested in the Catholic Church that I went into the seminary with the hope of becoming a priest. There used to be a minor seminary and a major seminary then. The minor seminary was to prepare you for the major seminary. I was prepared to go to Saint Peter and Paul Seminary in Bodija, Ibadan. But as God would have it I declined from moving further in the Catholic Church for two main reasons. But that has not in any way affected my respect for the Catholic Church.
Why did you lose interest in the Catholic Church?
The most important reason was that right from the age of 16 I noticed that there were some things the church was practicing that were not in alignment with the Bible. And that gave me a lot of concern and disturbed me a lot. I didn’t have anyone to counsel me because the people around me were people in the Church and they would never utter anything against it. My parents were not really theological. My mother was a Christian but my father was neither a Christian nor a Muslim.
My father lived with an uncle who was a seafarer and acted like his adoptive father. It was this uncle of his who was a Muslim that gave him the Islamic name Braimah. He was just a teenager at that time when he left our village to live with him in Idah.
His uncle was the captain of a ship that produce buyers used to purchase Agric produce from the hinterland. To the best of our knowledge, we did not grow to see him practice Islam nor was he a Christian. It was our mom who took us to church because her uncle the late Chief Philip Obozuwa with whom she lived in the eastern region was a Catholic. The most encouraging part of my story is that our Dad gave his life to Christ before he passed on. He also attended the Catholic Church in my home town.
But in those early days, my parents were not able to give me any good advice when it comes to the issue of faith.
The second reason again was that I am the first son of my parent and my father expected me to continue his lineage. Going to the seminary would mean I won’t marry. So I had to jettison the idea.
I had also wanted to be a journalist. But I was advised by some Journalists not to go into it because we were in a military regime. They knew I was very vocal and could get into trouble with the military as a journalist. But I later decided to study law so as to give expression to my activism spirit.
Was it after your secondary school that you went to the lower seminary?
No. The Lower seminary is a secondary school. It’s a preparatory school for the major seminary. We take all the courses like those in the secondary school take from class one to five then.
What was the attraction for you then to be a Catholic priest?
Actually, the major attraction to the catholic seminary is what is sustaining my ministry even in the Pentecostal church. The attraction for me honestly speaking was that the Catholic Church provided us with free school. I attended Sacred Heart Primary school. We saw the influence of the Reverend fathers because the school was close to the Catholic Church. They also met our social needs, giving us things. That was what attracted me to the church and by extension the interest in becoming a priest. I was also fascinated by the discipline of some of the priests.
From your own little experience with the Catholic Church, why do you think some would decide not to marry, even when it’s not that they are impotent?
The idea of celibacy has no basis in the Bible. It was something the church came up with over time and it is unnatural. It has even caused a lot of problems in the church. That was even part of the contradictions I saw that made me leave the Church. That was also what discouraged me from being a priest because I knew I wasn’t impotent. But then I also didn’t want to serve God and be hypocritical about it. I remember raising the question in one of our meetings and I was asked to keep quiet.
You said your salvation experience was dramatic. How dramatic was it?
I have an interesting background. Some very great journalists like Dele Giwa influenced me apart from the fact that I studied law. The philosophy of the people I moved with greatly influenced my life. It made me think not only about myself but outside myself. I was a very busy lawyer and I had the opportunity of being a lawyer to very prominent people even to date. But despite all the money I was making I noticed that I was confused, I was conflicted in my thoughts process. I was doing things that I knew were wrong. The roles I was supposed to play as a father and a husband I wasn’t playing them. Money was rolling in here and there but I wasn’t happy. I knew that there was something missing in my life.
So, I decided to take some practical steps to change my life. Before I came to that realisation, I discovered that in my hiring process of workers in my law office I had always emphasized competence and not integrity and character. So this time because of the willingness to turn a new leaf, I decided to change that and chose to employ a born-again secretary.
I got one eventually. But she gave me a lot of terms and conditions about meeting her standards as a Christian. I agreed. The moment I hired her there was actually a change in my office. But one part of me did not want to go the way of God. So, I warned her that she shouldn’t bring anything spiritual to the office not Bible or magazines or anything church. She agreed.
But God was working out something. One day I was alone in the office. My secretary had gone out for lunch and as I came out I saw a flier on her desk, it reads, Crusade! Crusade! Crusade!. The flier was about a crusade to be conducted by Pastor Adeboye. I was furious. Then, I didn’t know Pastor Adeboye. I believed many of the modern-day pastors just wanted to take our money and all that. So I called my secretary in and asked how the flier got to her desk,
She explained that she had nothing to do with it and that she wasn’t the one that put it there. Because I knew she was a woman of integrity I believed her. So I took the flier and kept on looking at it. That was the beginning of my conversion.
Immediately I made up my mind that I was going to go attend the crusade which was to hold at the National Stadium in Lagos. I got home and told my wife that I was going to the national stadium for the crusade. She was surprised. I asked if she was going to go with me. She refused. She said she was born a Catholic and was going to die a Catholic.
Fortunately for me, my sister who was a Redeemed member had come to my house in Lagos on a business trip. She was around my house that particular day. I told her about the crusade I was going to and she agreed to go with me.
Another of my friend also agreed to go with me. So three of us went for the crusade. By the end of the first day on the crusade ground, I joined those who wanted to give their lives to Christ. The change was immediate. I got a Bible that same day. The change was dramatic in the sense that I discovered I could not do what I used to do before. In fact some people who knew I had become born again stayed away from me. I lost some of my clients because they could not relate to me on the basis of my newfound faith. There was a particular top Nigerian who was my client. The moment he knew I was no longer in the Catholic Church he stopped me from being his lawyer.
I stopped doing illegal stuff and stopped handling some of the cases I was handling before. When many of the main clients knew I was born again, they stopped patronising me. But today, those people that mocked me then, by the special grace of God come to meet me now to pray for them.
A lot of people claim to be born again, but there isn’t any positive change in their lives. What is your take on this?
I don’t actually have an answer to that question but I think most times the problem comes from how they got born again in the first place. Are they getting born again because of genuine repentance in their heart? Or because there is no other hope of getting something better in their life? For me, it was a hopeless situation that made me come to Jesus. I was already fed up with my old way of life. The man that led me to Christ Pastor E.A Adeboye is a man of high integrity. I have studied him to the extent that I find him to be a man that follows Christ, so I also imitate that quality. I was also followed up by a parish pastor of the RCCG when I gave my life to Christ. Ironically, I did not want to attend RCCG when I gave my life to Christ.
Why. You just said you had a lot of respect for Pastor Adeboye?
it was at the crusade ground of Pastor Adeboye that God drew me to himself. But I was fascinated by Pastor Bakare because he is also a lawyer. So I wanted to go to his church. But the Lord insisted that I must be in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The RCCG parish pastor I attended then followed me up very well and he really did a very good job in that aspect. I remember the many visits just to encourage me. I think the challenge today is that many Christians are not being followed up properly. The consequence is that we have people who profess the faith but don’t know the doctrines of Christ.
Why did you travel to the US in the first place?
My coming to the U.S to do the work of God was not planned. Before coming I took a class on how to do missions. Incidentally, I got a visa after doing the course. I told my pastor then about the visa. Before I left Nigeria my pastor gave me the number of the pastor of the branch of RCCG in the state I was going to in the US. He advised that I work with the pastor in the six weeks I was going to be there.
On getting to the US I met this pastor and submitted myself to him. I got so involved in church activities. It was at that time I visited Denver Colorado. My sister was also there and it was that time the Lord spoke to me. I heard an audible voice saying to me, my son this is where I’m going to bring you to serve me. That was in 1999. But it took another four years for that to happen.
I was in the US in 2003 to preach in a parish of the RCCG after preaching the pastor called me aside and said God had told him to start two branches of the RCCG in the state of Colorado and that he would need a pastor to handle one of the parishes. Immediately he said that I knew that was a confirmation of what the Lord said four years earlier and that was how I became a Pastor here.
Was there anything that came as a surprise to you in those early days of your ministry?
I’m still even experiencing some culture shock 19 years after. The truth is we are still trying to adjust to what is here. I am still a Nigerian. I haven’t even taken American citizenship. My heart is in Nigeria. I know that God is going to bring me back to Nigeria to serve Him. It may not be as a Pastor because I have the spirit of Nehemiah in me. Honestly, I’m willing to come to Nigeria to serve the country even without getting paid.
Many people want to run away from Nigeria but you are saying you want to come?
Yes, I understand why many people want to come abroad probably because of the suffering and all that because I even encountered some, whenever I come to Nigeria. But I believe you can’t call yourself a genuine Christian if you don’t have the burden of your country. I want to help my country politically and in every aspect.
It was the passion that I have for Nigeria that made me still visit regularly. I remember writing a proposal on the need for some prison reforms in Nigeria. I did all that at my expense but the response from the government has not been encouraging.
Nehemiah took a risk because he had a burden for his people. The king that could have killed him gave him support. There are people of like minds who are ready to come back to Nigeria to save Nigeria. By the grace of God, Nigeria will turn around.
You have been Pastoring in the U.S for a while now and you talked about culture shock the other time. What are your experiences in this regard?
There is the issue of racism, even in the church. Once you find yourself in a position of mine, the only way you can survive is to try and bring out the best in you. That way you will be of benefit to the people you are leading. I have asked God to give me the grace to be able to serve the people that they are not going to be sensitive about my culture but that they will be attracted to me because of the impact i make in their lives. And that is what has been happening.
When I came here in 2005 I wrote a letter to my continental chairman that our parish would not be able to make some contributions required by the church because of our commitment to the social well-being of the people around us. And he agreed, He said no problem.
I believe if we are going to preach the gospel, it must be accompanied with good deeds. And since we were missionaries, we are supposed to spend the money in order to make life better for the people here in the U.S. That is what we have been doing. We donate money to other churches even the white churches that have needs. That is apart from the support we give to the homeless and the needy around us.
When you said you take care of the needy, how serious is the issue of the needy in the U.S?
It is very serious that it is becoming a problem here. People are living under the bridge here People are homeless and it’s really a very serious problem. And the more we as a church, begin to take care of the needs of the society, the more we are going to be respected and the more we will be able to evangelise effectively.
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Glory be to God Almighty for doing what HE knows how how to do best …. the Bible thought one thing about God”if I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself”, the moment your heart is gravitating toward God,God will be doing same…..draw to me and I will draw to you.
God is ever faithful to HIS words.