…As church marks 20 Years Anniversary
Great Oracle (Dr) Anene Nwachukwu, the Senior Pastor of RHEMA Deliverance Mission in this interview with CYRIACUS NNAJI spoke on various religious and national issues as his church marks 20 years anniversary at the International Headquarters of the Church at Iba Lagos on December 6, 2020.
Can we meet you?
My name is the Great Oracle (Dr) Anene Nwachukwu, the Senior Pastor of RHEMA Deliverance Mission here in Lagos, and Southwest Overseer of RHEMA Missions.
What are the lessons you have learnt from the work of God in the past 20 years?
It has been so amazing, and at the same time challenging, we started at a little restaurant at Trade Fair Complex 20 years ago and our ministry started increasing numerically and from Trade Fair we moved down to Okokomaiko , we rented a property there, after one year we bought it N1million. It was a plot, after one year our church increased beyond one plot we have to move from Okokomaiko to opposite Ojo Barracks, where I built a very big Cathedral. We dedicated that Cathedral in 2009, so from there our strength increased also, we have a lot of crowd we have to move from that Ojo Barracks to Iba where we have expansive land, here under one year, about 2017, and when you look at what God has done here, you would be excited to know that there is God in this place.
Many a time it is difficult getting men who share the same vision with you, how have you overcome such a challenge?
One thing I always tell people is that when God gives you a vision, he must make provisions for the vision to work. As far as you are moving with integrity, in today’s ministry we have a lot of manipulations going on but one thing I always tell people is that any foundation that is not of Christ must surely collapse. If you are manipulating to be popular or to have fame and it is not of God it must surely come down to square one, but when you are doing something of integrity, I always tell my members, anointing can make a way for you but integrity will sustain you, it is not how many crowd you pull but how well are you with God?
We have learnt this and we are very careful because I am coming from a priestly family, my father is a bishop, and all of us are ministers of the gospel. I followed them as toddler; I grew up in the church knowing what church is all about. And the day I gave my life to Christ, I knew what it means to be a church goer and to be a born again. I always tell my members that integrity pays, that good name is still better than silver and gold. So what we do here we raise men of integrity and impeccable characters. Our Oracle TV which has been there for the past 10 years is a channel that leads men to the next level of the kingdom and our TV which has been operating for the past 10 years and above has touched lives all over the world. And I tell you that we believe God that he will still use us to do much more.
Can you expatiate more on the significance of the honey service you are holding in your church next Sunday?
Honey as we all know is something sweet, the year is coming to an end and I want to pray for them that their lives shall be sweet in 2021. It is something that just came up by the prompting of the Holy Spirit; it is not that it is our tradition. Sometimes I ask people to come with oil, handkerchief, we pray for them, faith is the absolute of everything, because faith without absolute, but when faith becomes absolute in Christ result is inevitable. Coming with that honey prophetically after next Sunday 13 of December, the kind of testimonies you will be hearing here about that honey will be mind blowing.
During the time of corona virus, though still going on but not in that magnitude again, many churches are looking for members, but coming here the church is full to the brim, what is the magic?
You know, when I was preaching I made mention of ant, that if you bring a cube of sugar and drop it on the floor, before 10 minutes, ants will come for around to lick the sugar. We are like sugar we have taste. And we are like tested and trusted. I believe if you were here during the testimony time, you will be amazed. There is a coupe that came from Cotonou, they were looking for baby for the past many years, I came for a crusade in Cotonou, I called them out and prophesied to them, and the woman took in and born, they brought the baby here, I don’t even know them again. There is another testimony again, of pregnancy, miracle job, we have a lot of them, and our church is a result oriented church, and there is one thing I don’t allow it to happen here, I lecture all my pastors, all my workers, no matter the highest level of provocation, remain humble and polite.
You can’t come to a man of God crying and you are going back crying, that is not a man of God, and one thing I never allow in my life is to allow my success to enter my head. I don’t look down on people; I don’t neglect people because I am okay, after all I am Oracle, who are you, get out from here, I don’t need you, no. Christ came to welcome people, he said I came for the lost sheep and if I am a pastor I will have that compassionate heart, that if I see somebody quarrelling or harassing around my premises I will deal with my worker and make you happy, so that if you go outside you talk about me, the bible say we are the light of the world, so if I refuse to shine within my community, where will I shine again?
Your view on Church leadership in Nigeria
I told Pentecostal ministers, I was preaching at Port-Harcourt Conference I said since the Arch Bishop Idahosa died we have no more father in Pentecostals, everybody is on his own, to your tent O Israel. I want to ask you a question, all these men that have big cathedrals in Nigeria today, who have they raised, mention one person. Some of the bishops in those cathedrals are resigning, some of the pastors like us when we see great people, some will say he is my Papa and submit to him, Papa who? What did he do in your life? What did he affect or impact in your life as a pastor? Because you hear he is big, all big men are around him, you go and say my Papa; that is rubbish. I told them in the church today, I have only one spiritual father, Bishop Arthur Nwachukwu, every other person is a colleague and I stand by my words.
Looking back if you were to go over the last 20 years again if you have the opportunity of redoing it, what are the things you would have loved to correct?
Number one I won’t start the way I started, I started very very poorly as a struggling boy. Of course I showed you the man I squatted in his house for three months. And I showed you a lawyer that we squatted together, he is a lawyer, he is very okay, we are still friends, I was squatted; I squatted him. And today we are made, and God is still making us, I am not yet there but I am no longer where I used to be. There has been some paradigm shifting. So I will like to start in a bigger way than the way I started. Because that time they were selling land at satellite town N1million, they were selling in FEATAC, N500,000, N600000, imagine where I have about 5 plots of land in Festac, and I started there, my church will be bigger than it is, because you will raise men that will stand by you there. I started very poorly; I wouldn’t like to be associated with poverty in ministry, because poverty removes your garment of praise into garment of shame and you are not honoured among your peers as pastor.
The country is actually going through challenges and some men of God are not speaking up, if you were to advise the president on the situation in the country what will be your advice?
I still repeat my statement I made earlier, I said since late Archbishop Idahosa died that Pentecostals have no more fathers and our voice is not echoed. People we thought were fathers who should speak out are the ones romancing with the authorities. So somebody you are romancing with you wouldn’t want to offend him so that the romance would continue, but I refused to be one of them. I said it that every Excellence will expire after 8 years. Our fathers in the ministry today have disappointed the body of Christ. You see my programme today, did you see any politician? I am in a position to invite any governor to come, they will come. For three years God said do the anniversary with your members only, about five years ago, governors were coming here; 2021 start calling them again. The three years expired today. By next year come here you will see who is who in the society.
Elijah was a typical example of what prophetic ministry should be. He said go and tell the King he must surely die. I believe that the present government is what God is using to punish Nigerians, but we are asking God, the punishment is too much. How can God give you a just man in the name of Goodluck Jonathan, he gave you goodluck you said crucify him, everybody crucify him, including the current people who are now being pursued by the current government, Sowore was among those who were denting Jonathan black and blue, today where is he? They will still arrest him. All the whole voices have been silenced; Keyamu is now a Cabinet Minister; was Keyamo not an activist? The truth must be told. Lai Mohammed, you can see him, Lai Mohammed will see that this cup is ash, but he will say it is black, is that a government? Who is fooling who?
On Covid-19 that brought in online gospel sermon, what has it brought to Christendom?
Let me say this, I am not against online services, I did also during the lockdown, but online service is not the best, and it has not affected anybody positively. Can I talk to you? Online service has made people to backslide. Today many churches are empty as a result of online. He will tell you I am watching online. You see that many people now sit at home on Sundays; some people believed that their lives depended on the church and church was close for five months and they didn’t die, they say, what am I doing in the church again? That is backsliding.
What are some of those community impact projects the church has done in the last 20 years?
For example, every week I pray for people on television live, I have what we call phone in programme. The poor, the needy, the sick, widows, I give out money, somebody calling me, I don’t have school fees for children, come to the church on Tuesday; mention your name, they come. During lockdown I did palliatives two times. I shared rice, I shared beans, I shared garri, I am not talking about 50 bags, I am talking about 100 bags and above. The first time I shared about 200 bags, rice and beans. I shared 500 tubers of yam, giving out to members free of charge. And in the community where we are, the transformer burnt I put money for transformer, the Iba police station here, they don’t have generator, they don’t have light I bought brand new generator, I equipped the office of the DPO, I put television, I put everything there, and the DPO was here present and our TV station goes a long way in helping people. We have a bottle water company which we share to people free.
Last time the youths expressed their grievances through what they called EndSARS, but the government reacted in their own way, by silencing them, now that the youths are intimidated and silenced, in what other way do you think the youths can express themselves?
Our father in Nigeria, Ortman Dan Fodio, made a very powerful and categorical statement; he said conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it. Kill the truth, silence the truth, bury the truth, one day the truth must resurrect. Government did not silence the voice of the youths, government intimidated the youths. People were sponsored to turn the peaceful protest into bloody one so that government can come in, because government was jittery, that this is a process that what happened in Egypt is about to happen in Nigeria.
Don’t tell me the youths were silenced, government was fighting to stop the youths because they thought the youths want to overthrow them.