NIGERIAN CHURCH IS AS THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. He explains how the Nigerian church has failed to pursue the Great Commission and why.

The mandate of the Great Commission has been abandoned by Nigerian churches; we are no longer interested in advancing the kingdom of Christ to areas where Christ has not been preached. Western missionaries sacrificed their lives to give us the Gospel but we now merchandise it and all our churches are concentrated in cities and towns where offerings and tithes are large. This empire building and money making agenda in our churches have hindered the spread of the Gospel in Nigeria.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.

Our inability to reach the North with the Gospel and love of Christ is responsible for insurgency and terrorism in our country. While we were busy with selfish and prosperity messages in our churches and fellowships, the enemy went ahead of us with AK-47 and bombs and equipped our prospective target group with the instruction to wipe away Christianity from Nigeria.  The Church today is now a sitting Church instead of a going Church.  The true greatness of any church should not be measured by how many it seats but by how many it sends.

We have abandoned the going agenda and now engrossed so much with increasing the seating capacity of our churches. According to Roland Allen, missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual belief nor out of theological argument but out of love. Lack of love is responsible for this criminal negligence. We have monopolized Jesus for so long; let us start sharing His love, mercy and saving power with others. He did not die to save us alone; he died to save all, including terrorists. In Mathew 24:14 Jesus said that He will not come to take the saints until the Gospel is preached to all nations of the world. I strongly believe that no one has the right to hear the Gospel twice while there remains someone who has not heard it once no matter the race, tribe or tongue.

The knowledge of Jesus has saturated the southern part of Nigeria while the northerners are Gospel-starved. The place of electronic media in evangelism cannot be denied but many churches and men of God have been deceived by the devil to replace the going agenda with the broadcasting agenda when the Word of God is preached on television and radio.  Who do we really want to reach out to? Who are our target groups? Majority of the unreached in Africa continent do not have access to electronic media and the few that do, do not have any business with Christian programs and networks. The only veritable tool to be utilized in reaching the unreached is GO YE. Until we start going or sending missionaries to reach the unreached, the Great Commission remains an abandoned project.

It might interest you to note that about 64 million Nigerians have not heard about Jesus and we are comfortably building human kingdoms and empires. Churches have gone commercial.  Gospels are now for sale.  Multibillion properties are developed for sale. Banks, hotels, schools and universities are built to make money for the church and nothing is invested to reach the unreached. How many mission schools and hospitals do we still have in Nigeria? The bitter truth is that many of Nigerian pastors went through mission schools constructed and managed by Western missionaries with minimal payment or no school fees at all. Why can’t we extend this kind gesture to others and attract them to the saving power of Christ? Mission is not a ministry of choices for a few hyperactive Christians in the Church.  Mission is the purpose of the Church and the reason for the existence of every Christian.

We have two options to the Kingdom tension in Nigeria:  To aggressively pursue the mandate of the Great Commission and push the Gospel further North, or to remain in our comfort zones and show indifference attitude to the salvation of over 64 million Nigerians who are waiting for someone to tell them about Jesus. Whichever choice we make, there is a reward.  We are supposed to go back to the drawing board and bring out missiological strategies aimed at reaching to the dying souls in the world for lack of the saving knowledge of Christ. Churches should go back to the old time religion and act like the apostles in the book of Acts.

I believe that many churches and pastors are not into mission because the brand of their religion is not worth propagating. How do we preach prosperity to impoverished naked people? It is obvious that seed sowing will never work in such environments because they do not have any offering, seed or tithe to give.

The Gospel is only good news if it gets to the people in time.  We are supposed to do God’s business in a hurry because delay is dangerous.  For how long will this project remain abandoned? 

FRANCIS CHAN RESPONDS TO CRITICS

Followers of my blog know that I promote Francis Chan’s view of the church. He has come under severe criticism for his involvement in the recent SEND Conference. This is his response.

WHY DO YOU SOMETIMES ACCEPT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS IN PLACES THAT TOLERATE THEOLOGY THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM YOURS?

I speak at events almost every week of the year. Often times, it’s more than one event a week. I don’t really enjoy it—I hate the travel, but try not to complain about it. Despite the toll it can take on myself and the family, it is always an honour to preach the Word. I believe it is my calling. Some question my choice to speak so often, but my best discernment and the discernment of the elders of our church is that it is still a part of my calling in this season.

I am asked to speak at approximately 500 events a year. I decline approximately 90% of the requests. It’s a difficult thing to do. Often times, I decline because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe. My reasoning is that it may be a waste of Kingdom resources for all of us to be there, speaking largely to people who already agree with us. It seems more effective to speak where there is less Bible teaching. It has not been my practice to ask who will share the platform with me and to research the other speakers. While some may be dear friends, there are many that I know little about. This current experience has caused me to consider exercising more caution and to develop a team to help me research. That being said, I speak in many places where I am not in alignment theologically. I actually believe that is where I can be most effective, as long as they give me freedom to address anything I believe the Lord wants me to address.

I recognise, now more than ever, that sometimes my participation can give the impression that I align with every other speaker at the event. I’m not sure what to do about that other than to tell you that I don’t. Unless the elders of my church direct me differently, I will continue to be found preaching in venues with those I disagree. I will preach in just about any kind of setting if I’m given freedom to preach from any passage of scripture. The elders and I are trying to come up with more safeguards for future events to hopefully prevent misunderstandings. Pray for us.

EXTREMES OF CHRISTIANITY: WHICH TRULY EXPRESSES JESUS EXAMPLE?

Simple missional forms of church were normal in the first century – and are proving relevant for today. Here are some insights on the early church taken from the New Testament. 1. All NT churches met in homes, 2. There were multiple churches in each community that loved on its people, 3. All members of the church participated, 4. Church was not a building Christians went to or a denomination they belonged to. Christians were church in their community. 5. Households provided natural leadership for home churches, 6. Paul did appoint ‘overseers’ to foster these networks. These were mature believers, not given to power seeking – but encouragers, able to facilitate disciple making and the planting of new churches, 7. They were relational communities – eating, serving, sharing. Christians shared in Sabbath fellowship, Communion, Scripture reading and prayers. There is no tension over culture or ethnicity. 8. They were ‘zero dollar’ – but high cost church plants. First century believers shared faith with family, friends and neighbours, inviting them to their homes. High cost because it is a sacrifice of time and energy to share faith with family and social networks. Offerings help with rent, food for someone who has lost their job or a struggling family. Maybe to assist school expenses for a single mum or support another church start up. 9. Church structures are simple and Holy Spirit directed. No hierarchical structures, 10. Churches easily reproducible. Disciples made disciples and baptised them and in turn they made disciples. 11. They are the best environment to hand on faith.

Developed from article by Peter Rosenfeldt. Check out his website http://www.newlifechurch.com

PASTOR IN INDIA

A pastor in India who was known for long five- to six-hour prayer sessions was found beaten, tortured and hung to death from the rafters of his church, parishioners said. The murder has deeply shocked the congregation.

Morning Star News reported on Sunday that the body of pastor Gideon Periyaswamy of Maknayeem Church in southern India was found early Saturday morning. His death comes after he had complained about Hindu extremists.

Pastor Azariah Reuben, a close friend of the 43-year-old victim, said that Periyaswamy converted from Hinduism 25 years ago, and has served as pastor in Adayachery for more than 12 years, becoming known as a “prayer warrior.”

“The local Hindus were not happy with growing Christianity,” Reuben said. “They had several times tried to stop the ministry.”

PASTOR IN THE U.S.A

Kenneth Copeland’s ministry announced last Friday the acquisition of the “debt free” jet, which hit the market with a $36 million price tag in 1998. The ultra-long-range business jet can accommodate up to four crew members and 14 passengers in an executive configuration, according to Gulfstream. It is unclear how much Copeland’s ministry paid for the jet but A V Buyer says they currently have the lowest priced Gulfstream V on the market priced at just under $6 million.

“Father we thank you so and I’m asking you now sir, according to your word, bless our partners beyond measure. Yes, in the name of Jesus. For you said in 2002, ‘I’m sending you new partners who are very strong financially and they will obey me.

And I will increase your longtime partners and they will obey me,” Copeland, 81, said in a prayer of thanksgiving for the new jet.

“And you will not come short. And you will not fail. And you will not lack. And you will not come behind and you will not be diminished. Praise God,” he said of his donors.