Pastor Olaitan Aromolaran, founder of the Joy Cometh Ministries (JCM), Ebute, Ikorodu, Lagos, has explained how the ministry has been using sports evangelism to keep Ikorodu youths off the streets.
The cleric spoke recently during a special thanksgiving service organised by the church to celebrate the promotion of the church’s football group, Joy Cometh Football Club (JC FC), to the National League.
Aromolaran narrated how and why the football club was launched about two years ago. He said the idea to use soccer as a tool to win souls for Christ and send the youths off Lagos streets became irresistible for the leadership of the ministry, considering the rate of crimes in the country and in Lagos State in particular. He added that it is the vision of the ministry to work on a lasting strategy to stamp out thuggery and idleness in Ikorodu and its environs.
“What we are doing today is unique because we are thanking God. At the same time, we are celebrating the accelerated promotion of the Joy Cometh Football Club from the amateur league to the Nigerian professional league.
“What we have done with this club is called sports evangelism. It is an opportunity given to me by God to make people discover their hidden talents as footballers.
“For instance, God usually tells me that, if I leave these boys in the streets, the Devil will definitely hijack them. So, considering the fact that this church is just few months above two years, we ensured that we engage them in the areas of their interests. And that is what we have done.
“It is amazing going this far after just two years in the ministry and also in the Nigerian football terrain. Not every club can enjoy the kind of grace and privilege we got from God. The team had made significant impact in Ikorodu and beyond, winning the Community Cup and other trophies,” he said.
The promotion, according to the cleric, wasn’t unexpected. It was as a result of the continuous practice and dedication of the club to the vision of the ministry.
“The ministry is committed to identifying the individual talents of these boys and we are ready to do everything within our reach to explore it to the fullest.
“Our vision is to use the football club to salvage destiny, make the players more profitable for the nation and their parents. We are also determined to expose them to the world of football across Europe and America, and make them marketable to foreign clubs.
Wife of the General Overseer, Pastor Mrs Oluyemi Aromolaran, in her remarks, said the composition of the club is that of a team, not of a religious club.
Her words: “We have several Muslims among the players of the club. And my advice for them is that they should be more committed to the vision of the ministry because nobody is successful until he or she has reached the final destination.”
She charged the team to be united, saying the team should build a formidable character that will enhance their performances.
Technical Director of the team, Mr Alfred Osigbemeh Madaki expressed appreciation to the leadership of the ministry, saying it was the vision and support of Pastor Aromolaran that led to the success of the club. He also stressed the need for teamwork.
“Mr Segun Ajiroba was the brain behind this idea,” he noted. “We began gradually by winning the Pastor Olaitan Cup, Ikorodu Division Club and the Inter -Community Cup. And now, we are in the league in just two years. So, the success we are celebrating today is as a result of our dedication and desire to be the best. And going forward, we are ready to make our impact when the NPFL begins in earnest,” he said.
The team capped their success story with a reception for members of the church as well as their families and friends.