Home News Sanwoolu’s wife makes case for children evangelism @ rebirth of CEM, says, “I was a children teacher”

Sanwoolu’s wife makes case for children evangelism @ rebirth of CEM, says, “I was a children teacher”

by Church Times
The wife of the Lagos State governor, Dr Mrs Ibijoke Sanwoolu has called on churches to invest massively in children. She also recalled how she was once a teacher of children and also a member of the Children Evangelism Ministry (CEM).
Mrs Sanwoolu spoke at the re-birth programme of the CEM at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos on Saturday, September 17.
The Children Evangelism Ministry was founded by Evangelist Tony Chukwudile in 1979.
Mrs Sanwoolu spoke on ‘the effect of negative media content on a child’s total development.”
She noted there was so much pressure on today’s children adding that “the only way children could be saved from the negative influence of the world is for the church to be deliberate in its investment in children’s ministry.
From Left, Evang Assurance Oluwafemi(Kwara State Director, Evang Idowu Agboola (Oyo State) Evang Taiwo Adeyemi (Ogun State), Evang. Sola Ogunlola( Zonal Director), Lagos First Lady,Dr. Mrs Ibijoke Sanwoolu, Founder CEM, Evang Tony Chukwudile, Evang and Austin Edemai

Discourage them from phones, computer

Her words, “I am very happy with the vision of the Children Evangelism Ministry which is to teach a child in the way he should go”. Being an alumnus of CEM, I can say that the ministry has been a great blessing to children.
“Unfortunately, things are very difficult for our children today. They are now always on the phone and computer. While we can’t underplay the importance of the phone and the computer, we need to find a way of getting children away from being addicted to these gadgets. Some of them sit for a long time with the computer and phone and thereby compound their health.
“They have free access to a lot of negative media content. Some children are not able to manage some of the information that is thrown their way. They think life is just about those things they watch.”
We need to get them to do other activities that will take away their attention from the phone.
She lamented that many children are exposed to harmful media content. “The only way to save children is to distract them from the phone and computer,” She said,
children evangelism ministry
Dr. Mrs Sanwoolu delivering her speech at the CEM event

Outdoor programmes

The Lagos first lady urged children teachers to change their style of teaching. “Expose the children to prayer walks, dancing and other outdoor activities. These activities will enliven their spirit” she said.
While acknowledging that the word of God is like a two-edged sword, she called on handlers of children to work on their evangelism tools.
“We need to work hard on our tools. The topics that are being taught in children’s meetings should be packaged in more friendly and attractive ways. We have to be more innovative and creative in delivering creative content so we can win the battle over the lives of children.  
“We should encourage them to sing songs. We have to encourage them to play football as well. Unfortunately, there are football computer games now which still keep them glued to their phones. By all means, we should discourage them from being addicted to these gadgets.”
She also encouraged parents to be more innovative in their dissemination of God’s word. “When we give gifts at functions, let us put the word of God on the gifts. This is a way of evangelism. As the word is being spread, lives are being changed.
“It’s competitive out there. We must constantly study to keep abreast with new ways of reaching children so that they will be saved from the pressure the world is pilling on them”
From Left, Secretary Lagos PFN, Apostle Akindejoye, Mrs Agatha Amata, Dr Mrs Odedeji, Evangelist Chukwudile, and Pastor Sanusi of the BSN at the event

What CEM stands for

At the beginning of the meeting, Evangelist Idowu Agboola who was recognised by Mrs Sanwoolu as “My teacher” described  Children Evangelism Ministry as an interdenominational ministry which has no inhibitions whatsoever.
“I can enter into any church and I am at home. We are a missionary organisation in the area of demography. Our mission is to reach children between the ages of 0-14 years. Our focus is on children. Total child vision is what distinguishes us. We are into the mental, social, physical and spiritual development of the child. Our motto is, train up a child now as a solid foundation for tomorrow.”
He said the re-launch was necessary because “The children we ministered to 43 years ago are now grandparents. We need to bring in new people with the energy to carry on the vision. Our vision is to train every Christian to know how to minister to children”

How the ministry started- Evang Chukwudile

The founder of the ministry, Evangelist Chukwudile who is in his 70s gave an interesting account of how he started his first Bible club in 1973 under a coconut tree in Monrovia, Liberia.
He talked about the accident that almost claimed his life. “At that meeting when I was teaching, one of the children was distracted by the coconut tree. I moved toward the child and I tried to get his attention. As I was doing that a coconut fruit fell on my head. I passed out immediately.
Some of the children began to run away from the meeting because they thought I had died. But I came around and was able to compose myself and continued teaching them. I used that experience to preach to them how God could save them from death.  The message made meaning to them because they were surprised when they saw that I had come around.”
Chukwudile said since that experience, he had not looked back. The ministry has over the years been able to make a global impact.
He said the relaunch was necessary because there was a need to hand over to the next generation to keep the vision going.
The child evangelist called on money bags to invest their money in things that will affect children positively and things that have eternal value. He said the nation will be in trouble if there is continuous neglect of children. “If we fail to evangelise the children, Devil will vandalise them,” he said.
There was a two-hour session at the event during which participants brainstormed on the next phase of the ministry. There was a general consensus on the need to get the entire Church to make children evangelism a priority and to also ensure that the ministry does not lack funds in its operations.
Participants also touched on the need to create media and children-friendly programmes that will meet the spiritual and emotional needs of today’s children.

CEM impact

Two children, Daniel Akala and Shavoedu Serah were around to demonstrate their capacity to recite chapters of the Bible off hand. They had represented Lagos Zone in the Annual Bible Quiz and Recitation Competition
In the 2021 competition, Daniel recited the 66 books of Isaiah while in 2022, Serah recited Lamentations chapters 1-5, and Numbers chapters 1-8. At the rebirth event, Serah recited the 66 verses of Lamentations chapter 3.
Dupe Oluwadoromi, the Ministry’s pioneer missionary at the Koma Hill was also at the event. She shared testimonies of the ministry’s exploit among the Koma people of Adamawa State. She recalled how  God used her to save twin children from being killed as required by the tradition of the Koma people.
Those twins according to her have now grown up and are doing well outside Nigeria. She narrated how the total child concept of the CEM has been a blessing to many children.
Oluwadoromi who is now a director at the Christian Missionary Funds said those years in Koma Hill were fruitful years. She said many of the products of the total child school of the CEM are now graduates doing well across the globe.
Deaconess Adefemi Taire, BSN General Secretary, Pastor Samuel Sanusi, Prof Oyefara and Mr Fola Aguda at the event

CAN Chairman remark

The Chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Stephen Adegbite described CEM as an eye-opener in an interview with journalists.
Adegbite who showed up briefly at the programme said, “This ministry is a revolution. It is an eye-opener. We must do it effectively. We need to monitor what they do and also support it. We must embrace it. I have promised on behalf of CAN that we have to support it and we must support it well so that our children can have a secure future,” he said.
The event attracted many other church leaders and stakeholders in the children’s ministry. They all made meaningful contributions on the next phase of the ministry.
The Secretary General of the Bible Society of Nigeria Mr Samuel Sanusi and the Regional Vice President of the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International Mr Fola Aguda expressed the readiness of their organisations to collaborate with the CEM in ensuring the proper execution of its programmes.
Secretary of the Lagos State PFN, Pastor Akin Akindejoye shared some of the positive things being done by the PFN to entrench the children’s ministry. He broached the idea of a pool fund that all churches could subscribe to for the benefit of the children’s ministry
A trustee of the Electronic, Media Content Owners Association of Nigeria (EMCOAN) Mrs Agatha Amata, provided useful insight on the way forward for CEM. She spoke at great length on how the CEM can rejig itself.
An Associate Professor of Sociology, at the University of Lagos, Dr Lekan Oyefara also shared an exciting perspective on the way forward for CEM.
Evang. Chukwudile making a point at the event

Dignitaries at the event

 Other dignitaries at the event include Deaconess Adefemi Taire, a former SSG of Lagos State, CEM Patron & Leader of the Organising Committee, Engr Mrs Teni Odedina, CEM Patron & Chairman, Mobilisation and Mrs Ebun Idowu, Chairman, Board of Patrons, Lagos CEM. 
Also present was the wife of the Bishop of the Lagos West Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Dr. (Mrs.) Lydia Olukemi Odedeji, Barr. Mrs. Sandra Olufunke Oluwole and Hon. Justice Ronke Harrison
Mrs Odedeji expressed great delight at the activities of CEM and expressed hope for more collaboration with the ministry in the future.
The Lagos Zonal Director of the Ministry, Evangelist Sola Ogunlola expressed great appreciation to Mrs Sanwoolu and other guests for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the event.
He expressed confidence that with the support of all the concerned bodies, the ministry will make more impact in its next phase.

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