From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Leaders from various churches in Anambra State recently gathered at His Glory Cathedral, Grace of God Mission International, Onitsha, to brainstorm on how to take the gospel to the hinterland.
It was also an opportunity for the clerics to intercede on behalf of Nigeria, beseeching God to solve the economic, political and security challenges facing the country.
The ministers’ conference, which attracted some pentecostal bishops and pastors, was organised by the presiding bishop and general superintendent of Grace of God Mission International, Paul Nwachukwu.
Prominent among the church leaders who attended the conference were the chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in Anambra State, Bishop Moses Ezedebego, Bishop Ephram Ndife of Holy Ghost Ministry and Bishop Dominic Onuigwe of National Evangelical Mission, among others.
Addressing the church leaders of about 1,000, Nwachukwu, in his sermon titled “If not us, who?” charged them to take the bull by the horns by taking the gospel to the hinterland as Christ did during his reign on earth.
On his part in making sure that the gospel of God is spread to the rural areas, Nwachukwu said that he had paid some missionaries in the rural areas six months’ salary, provided motorcycles, flying boats and offered scholarships for their children.
He announced that he would continue with such gestures to encourage the rural gospel preachers. In addition, he had in the past roofed church buildings in the rural areas as part of his contributions to the growth of the church. He charged other leaders to key into the humanitarian work to build the church of Christ, especially in villages where the people’s financial capacity is low.
He said: “There are some rural areas untouched, where the gospel has not reached in some parts of this state. Who will take the gospel there? It is you and I. We should rise up to the challenges to preach the gospel and tackle the ills in society.
“You have seen what is happening, not only in Nigeria but across the world, especially among our youths. The moral values are completely abandoned. The rate of divorce is increasing daily. It is our duty to tackle it spiritually.
“The church is the salt of the earth; salt ends corruption and other social vices. We see salt as the light of the world and light drives away darkness. But it seems that the church is too quiet as all these things are happening.
“It was God’s vision and inspiration in my heart to call the leaders of the church, to challenge them so that they will understand their role in nation-building.
“This conference is part of my commission. Apart from my church members, I have been giving out scholarships to people up to the university level.
“My duty for pastors who are working as missionaries in hinterlands is that I place them on salary for six months. If they start building a church and they get to roofing stage, I will roof it for them.
“I also provide mobility, motorcycles and speed boats, for them to take the gospel deeper into the villages.”
In his remarks, Ezedebego commended Nwachukwu for the initiative, which he said has challenged other church leaders as a wake-up call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all creatures.
“This is a gathering of church leaders and I’m sure it will set people on fire for evangelism. We should go to the rural areas to evangelize. The conference will propel us to do more in changing the lives of members and leaders in the society,” he said.
Also, Ndife praised Nwachukwu for equipping the ministers, particularly the younger ones, to go into the rural areas to win souls for Christ.
“If we don’t visit ministers and church members in the villages, they will soon give up and abandon the work for one reason or the other. For instance, when they don’t have electricity and we cannot help them to get generating sets, they will be frustrated.
“When he will be going to the hinterland and he invites me, I will donate my widow’s mite. And if there are many scholarships to be given, I may pick one or two,” Ndife said.
Onuigwe also thanked the initiator of the conference for the vision, saying the essence of the programme was to carry every church leader along in actualising his vision.
“I think if more church leaders should come out, the vision will be accomplished. This is not about one denomination, it is about the entire churches and Christians in Anambra State,” declared Onuigwe.
The Bishop of Grace of God Mission, Paul Nwachukwu Jr., described the vision and commitment of his father as indispensable, particularly when it comes to soul-winning mission.
“There are so many places in the areas that there is still darkness, which we need to take the gospel of light to,” he said.