25th Anniversary Convention, 14 April 2015
WELCOME ADDRESS OF THE GENERAL OVERSEER, HE’S ALIVE CHAPEL
Words can hardly describe the activities, feelings and experiences of the past twenty-five years. All one can say is that, God is faithful and all the glory for this occasion goes to Him who has given us the cause and the opportunity to celebrate. We owe Him the gratitude for being alive to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary. As the Psalmist said, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” (Psalm 124:3).
Our Anniversary is a time to celebrate, count our blessings and testify of God’s faithfulness. It is also a time to evaluate our progress and recommit ourselves to the vision God has given to us. It is important to remind us that from inception our vision has been, “To build a barn for LORD for the END-TIME HARVEST reflecting the fullness of His glory.” We have pursued this vision vigorously. The desire to actualise this vision has undergirded our actions. As we move into the future, we shall remain committed to this vision.
By his grace, the past twenty-five years has taken us through several church planting efforts. From a one congregation church started with eleven members, we have grown to about thirty-one worship congregations spread across Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. From a single worship centre in Lagos, we now have eleven worship Centres in Lagos, with one more Centre about to start in LEKKI in the nearest future.
During this same period, we have planted churches in different cities in Nigeria, namely in Port-Harcourt, Bonny, Abuja, Jos, and Ughelli.
We have demonstrated unwavering commitment to missions. We have planted about ten mission Churches in Lagos riverine areas and in three francophone countries. Apart from a few branches, most of these churches worship in our own property and buildings. In future, we plan to plant more churches in the Franco-phone countries where we presently have open doors. Let me seize this opportunity to thank all those who have sacrificed their time to visit our mission fields and all those who have given their money to support the work in these fields. As we strategise for the future we must bear in mind that greater sacrifice will be needed to plant more churches and to procure more motorcycles for the missionaries.
DISCIPLESHIP AND CAPACITY BUILDING
Over the period, we have been able to disciple thousands of converts and members through our School of Discipleship, School of the Bible and Leadership training programmes. In addition to in-house training, the development of pastors and missionaries has continued to be a priority for us. We have sent and trained several missionaries and pastors at seminaries and other mission schools. In future, we shall continue with capacity building and establish capacity building institutions to support this goal.
LAND ACQUISITION AND BIBLE SCHOOL
To demonstrate our commitment in capacity building, we have acquired a twelve hectare piece of land in AGBARA, Lagos State for a future retreat centre and a Bible School. This will strengthen our training capacity of Church workers, pastors and missionaries, as well as serve the wider Christian public.
Building and Strengthening Families in the church have been our main priorities. Our annual family month has continued to be a blessing to many families in the church.
Annually we have held a month long fast in the month of July as a way of seeking God and strengthening our spiritual capabilities. This discipline has continued to attract wider participation and interest.
NATIONAL PRAYER MINISTRY
We have sustained our commitment to impact and build-up the prayer lives of our members and to give prophetic direction to the nation in this regard. Our annual prayer conferences have continued through the Watchman Ministry arm of the church. We are in our 37th year of holding National Prayer Conferences.
Social media has continued to play a major role in global communication. We are gradually taking advantage of this tool to advance the cause of evangelism and mission. We have been able to establish a media unit which successfully posts our weekly services on the internet. Many across the world have testified to watching and following our programmes on the web.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The children and youth are the future of the Church. We shall continue to encourage and support ministries and department that work among the children and youth. The biennial youth conference is now a regular programme. Annually the women leadership retreat have continued to hold.
Though these achievements may seem modest, yet they call for celebration. We have intentionally titled our celebration, “Mega Grace” because it is his grace that has brought us this far and only grace will lead us into the future. Like Paul said, “And God is able to make all grace to abound toward you…” We have seen the demonstration of God’s faithfulness and grace in many areas. Worthy of mention is that God has provided for us men and women who are committed to the vision and who have always given sacrificially towards the advancement of the vision of the church. I want to appreciate these financial partners to the ministry for their generosity and sacrifice. My prayer is that God will bless them mightily.
As we move into the future, our prayer is that, “the grace of our Lord will be exceedingly abundant” upon us. It is our intention to continue to strengthen all the programmes and activities enumerated above as the Lord leads us. I believe that this occasion is an opportunity for us to rededicate ourselves and renew our commitment to his service. Let us approach the future with hope and optimism knowing that what lies ahead of us is greater than what we have achieved. Beyond that, let us also ask for his grace, wisdom and strength to forge ahead with the vision into the future.
As I conclude, let me thank all the members of the 25th anniversary committee chaired by Pastor Jooji Tor for the great work they have done to put together this Convention. I must also thank all the pastors for their support and presence. I thank the various committees for their selfless service. I also thank all those who are attending this historic Convention. Above all, I thank God for all his mercies, provision and blessings.
I wish you all a happy celebration.
AUSTEN C. UKACHI
SERMON: THE SPIRIT OF GRACE
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness…And with great power the apostles gave witnessed to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:31-33).
Our theme for the twenty fifth anniversary is MEGA GRACE, and I want to talk about the Spirit of Grace. Zechariah 12:10 makes us understand that there is a Spirit of Grace. This Spirit of grace could be poured on God’s people. In Acts 4:31-37, the disciples experienced “great grace” when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And thereafter, they were able to proclaim the word of God to all. Only the Holy Spirit can pour out mega grace upon us.
The 25th Anniversary is an opportune time. It is a rare time which we must utilise to our own advantage. There are two things we must put in perspective as we celebrate. The occasion is firstly a time for thanksgiving. It is an opportunity to thank God for his faithfulness. God is faithful and we must celebrate him on this occasion. If you read the history of the Church these past 25 years, you will agree with me that God is indeed very faithful. God has been with us these twenty-five years:
In rain and in sunshine
In good times and in bad times
In joy and in sorrow
In our lack and in plenty
None of us have remained the same since we came to this Church. We have grown. Some of us came to this church as bachelors but are married today. Some came as unemployed but today are employed. There has been some transformation in our lives and in our status. This calls for thanksgiving and celebrations.
Secondly, we need fresh impetus or power for growth beyond this point. What do I mean? An impetus is a driving force. It is a stimulation or encouragement that propels you into activity. This is what the Holy Spirit does. Every organisation must grow to justify its existence. One characteristic of the kingdom is growth. That is why in the Bible the kingdom of God is represented as a seed that has the potential for multiplication and growth. This anniversary is a time to ask God to grant us the Spirit of Grace for further growth and expansion. As we ask for mega grace, let us ask for is the Spirit of Grace for Growth and Expansion. What is the Spirit of Grace? It is simply the Holy Spirit that makes Grace available for expansion of God’s business put in our care. Only through the Holy Spirit can we do the work of the kingdom (Zechariah 12:10; Acts 4:31-35). Once the Holy Spirit was poured upon the Church on the day of Pentecost they received the power for growth and expansion. As they preached the word of God they grew in number.
Thirdly, I need to emphasise that it is only in Christ can we get Mega Grace. As we constantly tap into the fullness that is in Christ we shall experience the Mega Grace we desire (John.1:16). Lastly, Psalm 84:11 says, “…God will give grace and glory…” May we receive his gift of grace and glory in this convention.