By Job Osazuwa

The various critical roles that the church is expected to play in building the society were re-echoed in Lagos recently. 

Apart from interceding on behalf of the country, the church’s direct impact, particularly by influencing the leaders positively to take the right decisions for the benefit of the citizens, cannot be over-emphasized.

These were some of the submissions of Pastor Niyi Adesanya while delivering a lecture at the symposium held in commemoration of the 60th birthday anniversary of Prophet John Abiodun Oluwadare, General Superintendent, Christ Redemption Bible Church, Lagos. The event was held on Wednesday December 29 in Ikeja, Lagos.

At the event, the guest lecturer, Adesanya quoted John Maxwell, who said “everything rises and falls on leadership”. He explained that if the society is not doing very well or when there are aspects of it that need to be fixed, the leaders would be questioned.

Also important to be considered if Nigeria needs a drastic change, according to him, is that religious leaders must be ready to address the money-driven culture that has crept into the church. He stressed that religious leaders must carry out a critical evaluation to see if the administration of their calling is money-driven or value-driven. 

Speaking on the theme, “Leadership and Society; the Role of the Church”, he x-rayed the role of religious leaders in developing a society. 

Taking a cue from pre-independence, he said that there were lots of contributions from those who brought the Christian faith to Nigeria. He stated that the missionaries were able to strengthen Nigerians moral dispositions.

“They were able to raise a lot of people who significantly contributed to our independence as a nation. The church contributed to producing elites who challenged white domination in the church and political system and led the nationalist struggle for independence. Prominent among them is Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Also, we know that the church contributed to press and journalism development. They developed other literary aspects of the African language such as writing and grammar, Awolowo also founded the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among Nigerians.

“Christian missions pioneered western education in Nigeria. Their educational programmes included literacy programmes, classes for religious instructions, Sunday school and catechism programmes, elementary and primary education, teacher training and secondary education programmes, and theological education and training. The bulk of educated civil servants and professionals had their humble beginnings from mission education programmes and institutions. 

“Christian missions pioneered education where the colonial government and native authorities could not provide such for their subjects. The major contributions of Christian missions in the area of education have been literacy, social, moral, and spiritual upbringing, and general development of the peoples and societies. In recent times, we have seen new educational establishments like Covenant University, established by the Living Faith Church, Redeemers’ University by the Redeemed Christian Church of God and many others,” he said.

Adesanya noted that through these Christian-influenced tertiary institutions, a new generation has been as is still being instilled with Christian values, thereby strengthening the moral fibre of society.

According to the lecturer, a famous quote by Patrick Moynihan has helped him to change any organization he has worked with and believing that it can change any individual or nation likewise. 

“He said: ‘The central conservative truth is that it is culture and not politics that determines the development of a society” and then that “the central liberal truth is that politics can work on culture, to deliver culture from itself”. Thus, we can rephrase the second half of the quote to read “the central liberal truth is that leadership can work on culture to deliver culture from itself”. He argued that leadership’s main assignment was not infrastructure or any other things but the culture prevalent in any society. He added that once the culture is gotten right then the society could begin to develop the seven mountains of influence which include media, economy, government, education, family, business, and entertainment.

He believed that prayer is not enough to solve the diverse societal problems, although they are very important. He maintained that strategy was what it will eventually take to conquer the seven mountains of influence. 

Said he: “The church should be the one to set the pace for society. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. If culture is what determines the growth of our society, then the primary assignment of any leader and pastor should be shaping culture.  Culture in this sense refers to our believability in the nation, our norms, and our value system. 

 “The second area to look at is the certificate-driven culture prevalent in our society, where you have people who would rather pay their way through or cram to pass without actually knowing what was taught. Unfortunately, our society has reinforced this culture as it judges you by your certificates rather than what you can do as seen in foreign establishments like Google and Facebook. 

“Lastly, we must also correct the self-centredness-driven culture in our society. Almost everybody in Nigeria is self-centred and to correct this, religious leaders need to be examples to the people.  

“Every church and ministry now wants to build a university but the truth is the individuals have already been formed at that stage. The change we desire should be knitted into them during their formative years which is the first six years. More attention should be paid to the primary and secondary levels. 

“Our strategies should also be geared towards developing businesses that can change the trajectory of the society. We must also develop a strategy towards entertainment which is a potent tool in dictating the moral compass and direction for our children.

Adesanya concluded: “If the society will change, then these things need to be worked on. We must create systems, structure and institutions in the church as well as provide all forms of support, financially, legally to make a change and impact that lasts.”

Several others that spoke at the event listed the great attributes of Prophet Oluwadare, the unassuming cleric, church founder, revivalist and administrator.

In his response, the man of God expressed gratitude to everyone that made the event. He especially thanked his fellow ministers who attended the symposium.

In her vote of thanks, wife of the cleric, Pastor Martha Oluwadare, thanked God for making the event successful. She expressed appreciation to members of the planning committees in Nigeria and in the diaspora. Prophet James Akanbi, Pastor Wale Olasoji, Pastor Joseph Adelakun Ayewa and other dignitaries that attended the event.

The event featured a number of other programmes, including project commissioning and fund-raising held at the CRBC Zion City Campground and 24 hours of praise at the church headquarters. The event was rounded off with a thanksgiving service on January 1, 2022 at expansive auditorium of CRBC in Ketu, Lagos.

The post Role of the church in nation building –Pastor Adesanya appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

Source: news