Dr Bola Akin-John is the president of International Church Growth Ministries, which is focused on mentoring pastors, deacons and other church leaders on the need to return to re-invigorate the original plan and purpose of God for establishing the Church.
In this interview, he spoke on the heightening insecurity in the land and posited that the long suppressed demand for restructuring is beginning to happen.
The first two months of 2020 have passed. Looking at the remaining part of the year, what are the goals and programmes of the ministry?
We thank the Lord who preserved us to see 2020. This year, 2020, is a pivotal year for the global church of Christ and for God to work in our nation and in the world. I say this in the sense that it is another new decade and it is taking us towards the end of the world – whether we like it or not. People who believe in the Bible, and are expecting the Rapture, as well as the second coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ, this event will happen very soon. The Bible talks about the last days. But I believe in the last days of the last days. In other words, we are in the period of the last days. What was foretold in the Bible would happen in the last days are already happening with increasing rapidity, in the church, the society, the nation and globally. So to me, 2020 should make everyone who is concerned and knowledgeable about the will of God to buckle up, and have daily consciousness that we can work more and save as many as possible, to make the church ready for the Rapture. In our calendar as Christians, there should be only two days: today and tomorrow. Getting ready and living our lives in such a way that if Christ comes today, we can go with Him; then planning tomorrow as if we are going to be around for the next 100 years, but living each day in righteousness, expecting the Rapture daily. That is my concept, and I believe it is the best way to live our lives. For us as a ministry, in few days we will start holding our conferences, to challenge pastors to see growth, health and dynamism in the church and to live the real Christian life because judgment will start in the house of God. I believe that from this year, God will be judging false preachers, false gospel and fake practices. He will start exposing a lot of things we previously thought were real and genuine. Each of us must pray like never before and trust the Lord, live by His word, follow His purpose for our lives, ministries and church.
In the past year, were there programmes, projects or goals the ministry did not achieve and it is hoping to achieve this year?
We have quite a number of things in that regard. For instance, I thought we would be able to develop our campsite along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. We had to shift it to this year. There were places I wanted to go to minister, and programmes we had desired to hold, but could not do so. We moved those initiatives to this year and will keep pursuing them until we achieve the goals.
Specifically for this year, what are the goals of the ministry?
Our goal is to affect more churches positively and bring back the original plan and purpose of Christ and re-establish them on original foundation laid by the first apostles with the effectual working power of the Holy Ghost. For instance, when we talk about church growth, to some ministers in our society, growth means large crowd of members or planting hundreds of branches of the church in many places. Yes, there may be huge crowd of members, but there is no corresponding quality, no spiritual depth and no godliness. Even among us, pastors, who claim to be vessels of God, we are not doing right. One of our goals is to bring that original Bible quality back to the church through our teachings and ministrations. We want to bring back discipleship so that when you see a Christian in the office, you know that he is truly a Christian by his conduct and character, he glorifies God and lives a straight honest life. I believe that God can help us bring back that to the church. That is our goal and
we are working towards it this year.
Let’s turn our attention to the Nigerian polity. What are your thoughts generally?
Looking at Nigerian polity, I just have to keep praying. I believe in the country, but I know that the way Nigeria has been led and still being led is an apology. It is lamentable. In fact, I wrote and circulated an article wherein I said clearly that the greatest curse of Nigeria is leadership. In terms of geographic attributes, manpower and natural resources, we are an excellent country with amazing climate. But our curse and albatross are those who lead us. These leaders do not have the interest of the country in their heart. They don’t care about the masses; they only aspire for leadership positions so that they can loot public treasury for themselves and their unborn great-grandchildren. They have never sought leadership with the mindset of pursuing the welfare of Nigeria and to give Nigerians security, peace and create prosperity in the nation. Right from independence in 1960, the people got into leadership were driven by ethnic considerations and nepotism. They never bothered about what they could do to make the corporate entity called Nigeria to grow in all ramifications. Even though there have been policies in this direction, it has only been all talk. They did not walk the talk. We have never had a patriotic leader. It does not matter the political party in power, it has always been the narrative. That is why I urge every right thinking person that believes in Nigeria and is passionate about the country to pray that God will intervene and help us, give us people that have the real interest of Nigeria at heart. The edge that the Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Russians have over us is that they have good leaders who want their nation to progress in all ramifications. Today, the most lucrative venture in our nation is being in government. Again, I believe in a restructured Nigeria, where every component part will grow at its own pace, control its resources and simply pay tax to the central government and the whole country is still united while the federating units are doing well, managing their affairs in terms of education, health, security, economy while the centre takes care of national defence. This arrangement should seek to make the environment conducive for the country to thrive and prosper.
On the issue of security that you just mentioned, the Southwest states have given legislative backing to the Amotekun regional security initiative launched last year. Similarly, the North has launched Shege Ka Fasa as their regional security outfit. The Southeast is in the process of doing the same. Some people have said that the establishment of regional security outfits is indicative that restructuring is already beginning to happen. What is your view?
I fully agree with the view. From every indication, that is where the country is heading. Recall that a prominent leader once said that those who make a peaceful change impossible make a violent revolution inevitable. The issue of restructuring has been a song over the last 20 years. Each administration paid lip service to it. The serious security challenges of the last 10 years (Boko Haram, armed herdsmen, kidnapping, cattle rustling, etc) have heightened the demand for restructuring. For those who feel the pain of the murderous campaign and abduction for ransom perpetrated by armed herdsmen, there is no law that prevents people from defending themselves from being killed in their farms, their women raped, children kidnapped. Against this horrendous and deadly background, if regions begin to establish security outfits to protect the people within their domain, that is a step in the right direction and also an indictment on the central government because it chose to turn a blind eye, quoting fantastic figures praising itself when the reality on the ground showed a completely different and true picture of the situation. Look at the way Boko Haram kills a lot of people, boldly behead victims like the Adamawa chairman of the state CAN, Pastor Andimi; they burn churches while armed herdsmen burn communities, displace the people and takeover the land for their cattle. Really, we have an irresponsible government that is very insensitive to the trauma of the people. The life one person is precious and matters. When the government bandied the story that 90 per cent of the people killed by Boko Haram were Muslims and Christians 10 per cent, that clearly showed that the government doesn’t value human lives; the life of one Muslim or Christian matters to God. Religion should not figure when it comes to insecurity – if the lives of the people are considered valuable by the government. The abysmal security in the country is clearly a failure of government. If the government fails to protect the people, then they will protect themselves at the community and state levels, even region-wide.