- Set to release 11 more
By HENRY AKUBUIRO
HIS pens are always raddled, for there is always something to write. Every morning, he is spot on the choice he makes: Meditate for hours on what to write. This dawn is no different. “Before I came out to this office, I stayed inside for about 8 hours thinking what to write before coming down to start writing,” says Chris Christian with echoing timbre at his Lagos Church headquarters.
With over a hundred published books, his fecundity isn’t in doubt, yet he doesn’t look careworn for all his exertions. He is a shepherd, but if you are wondering what a tender of flocks of bleating sheep has to do with scribal art, your anxiety must be deflated at once: he has a human flock.
Christian is the Shepherd of Locust Army Ministry, a church with a mandate to win souls for Christ. But he has published a record 116 Christian offerings. Now, he wants to have a crack at creative writing. The plot of the story he wants to indite is already etched on his mind.
“If you read my works, you can’t separate the prophetic from the poetic,” he tells me. “You have to use your imagination – what you see. So, the work of inspiration involves fiction. This year, I am going to write a novel with a tentative title, The Native Man of Amandula. I have the vision of a man living in an island, marries a wife who is barren, and gives birth to a warrior.”
There is a glint of delight in his eyes as he trips memory lane: “I didn’t start writing consciously. I stared writing while I was young. I wrote from my mother’s church. I didn’t know I would go into writing, but, overtime, I life is in stages –I just discovered I had to write. By the time I started, writing wasn’t too difficult and easy, too. I write from thinking.”
He studied Physics in the university, but took to the pulpit when he got the call. Not every man of God can write the way he does. Early in life, he discovered that ours was a dark country, hence the burning desire to broaden his knowledge and get rid of mental blindness among his people. “How to enlighten the mind of the people is what inspired me to write. I am writing from the burden that this society ought to know what it needs to know,” he enthuses.
Publishing over 100 books is no mean feat. What keeps him going? He angles forward to respond: “I know the value of light; I know that, if a man is restricted from what he is supposed to know, he dies, and I want to see how I can eliminate causalities. I know that this society is primitive; it is separated from real value and light,” adding that what he has been trying to do is to wake up people into enlightenment and then introduce their value.” The need to create is overpowering, and he cannot but put pressure on his intelligence to create.
Luckily for him, he writes basically Christian books. Writing is part of his job as a pastor, and he preaches from what he writes. “I also serve the people through my book,” he concedes. He has many pastors from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and other parts of the world, who don’t find it difficult to preach, because what they want to preach are already contained in his books.
His first call is to preach, but he writes everyday. “Right now, I am working on about 11 books,” his face lights up instantly. He has gone as far as eight chapters for some of them. “I write more from encounters than reading. That’s why you don’t find references in my books,” he says.
Does he think books such as his make any difference in the society where there is less hunger to read now? He answers in the affirmative: “My books are going places. Everything has its time.” He has been writing for 14 years now.
You must be wondering how he has churned over a 100 books. Like a visionary, he doesn’t scatter his energy. He explains: “I don’t do much travelling, and I don’t accept invitations to preach outside, so, I do more writing – I am focused.”
Who are his role models in this area? Of course, the Bible is the first model. Doctor Marx Monroe is another. “I love his works,” he says, adding, “I read some good authors, but more of the Bible. There are some chapters of the Bible I must read everyday.” So far, he is satisfied with what he has done, but he is still putting more pressure on himself to do more.
Every work has its audience, and for the audience of his works, he has made persistent inroads. Mind you, he doesn’t write for everybody. He echoes: “I don’t write for everybody. I believe that those who read my works are readers –minds that are already made.”
Some of the books he writes are controversial, and deliberately so. The Creative Power of Infinite Intelligence is one of them. “There are some things that you read and you find that they are not for minds on the surface. When I am writing I have my people, those I want the work to bless beyond now. I look beyond the immediate gain,” he says.
What determines the contents of a particular book? He says, while some of his books are corrective, others are instructive. For instance, when he saw permeating blindness around, he wrote on it. “I am trying to see how I can make contributions to the society,” he restates his commitment.
He has an undying desire to write, and that’s the tonic. “By the time I publish these latest 11 books (likely before two months), I will have published 127 books,” he says. For sure, he has the spirit to go the whole hog.
Interestingly, his website has been attracting many international visitors, especially the Jews, Americans, and the British. “The Americans have been beaming security light on my books because of the interests of the books,” he whispers. Even the road where the church is situated wasn’t on Google Map before. “But, because of my books, they spotted it, and it is now on Google map,” he says, happy as a punch.
When they look at the titles and contents of his books, they get inquisitive. Christian brays with laughter: “They look at this church as a security zone, thinking, ‘There is something that is going on here’. So, they are watching it. But more of the Hebrews and Americans are visiting the website. They buy some of our books and go through them; they really monitor this place.”
Also, he runs a publishing outfit, Shekinah Media House, which publishes his books. You and I know that publishing regularly has financial implications, especially as a self-published author. How does he cope? He admits: “It is a burden, yes; but it is a vision and a target, too. I spend so much money ob books –that why I am still living here; otherwise, I should have packed out of this building. Instead f building a bigger church, I use the money on books. The more I reprint, the more they are exhausted.”
The prolific author isn’t resting on his oars: “As long as I am alive, I can’t stop writing.” He will be 51 this year, and, believe it or not, there are some books he cannot write until he turns 60.Why? “I am waiting on time; I am also waiting for the people to read the book to evolve,” he explains.
When he was preaching on immorality 15 years ago, many people didn’t like it. But, now, many people are buying into his view “because time is making the message acceptable.” This is why some topics have to wait for more years to form a discourse. His target audience isn’t limited to Christians. “I write for everybody. More than half of my books are meant for everybody, not just Christians.”
Earlier, he hinted on a forthcoming work of fiction, Native Man of Amandula. Why fiction? He says he want to make a mark as a littérateur: “I want to broaden my literary boundary.” He gets down to the specifics: “Amandula is a spiritual town. So, I want to call Amandula into existence, because the angel of that world is asking me to introduce him. So, I want it to exist in a fictional world. The story idea is already in my head.”
Perhaps where his message can’t go as a preacher, his novel could go the extra mile. “That’s interesting, because Chimamanda has become a super star globally by writing make-believe story. With this encouragement, I will now start this work of fiction.” Who says a pastor can’t be another creative genius?