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We are not called to buy jeeps and build empires

Posted by By Ime Ola on 2005/11/20 | Views: 4823 |

We are not called to buy jeeps and build empires

As a child, he hated any form of injustice. And during his undergraduate days at the University of Lagos, he fought for the cause of the underprivileged.

As a child, he hated any form of injustice. And during his undergraduate days at the University of Lagos, he fought for the cause of the underprivileged.

Today, Christian Ikechukwu Philips is the Presiding Elder of a unique church, Clay Temples Ministries, a church filled with people who have compassion for the underprivileged.

Established in 1998, the church which is also known as The Potterís Ville has brought hope to hundreds of needy people across the country. Pastor Philips who is happily married to Chinelo believes that "every call of God upon a manís life has to do with people who are underprivileged. We are not called to build empires, we are not called to buy jeeps and good cars. But we are called to bless people."

He also spoke on the ostentatious lifestyle of some pastors, ban on miracles and why he left his job at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

I am Christian Ikechukwu Philips. I am from Imo state but I grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. My parents are still there. I attended University of Lagos where I graduated in Management Studies. I had worked with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. I retired about three years ago to answer the call. I had pastored with the Redeemed Christian Church of God for about four years before I left to start this work.

How we started
I served in the Redeemed until 1996 and left in 1997. I went back for further training and later started this church officially in 1998. I had the call of God to come and be a blessing unto people who are the rejected in the society. That is the focus of my ministry. The Lord spoke to our hearts to serve him in that capacity.

When I became born again
I got born again in Christ Chapel and this must be my 13th year of being in the Lord.

The kind of person I was
Oh! I was a sinner. And I did the kind of things sinners do during my undergraduate days. I was always passionate about any cause I believed in. I hated injustice right from my childhood. I have always fought for the cause of the under-privileged.

Why I left NNPC
I did not leave because of want of something to do. I left because I felt God told me to devote my whole time to him. I left the NNPC honourably and recently, I was honoured at the Muson Centre with a send-forth.

Ministry is more than preaching on Sundays. The real ministerís work is from Monday to Friday. That is when we go to hospitals, motherless babies homes, arrange programmes to be a blessing to other people. Sunday is a day we call the people, preach to them teach them the principles of the work of God. But the actual work we do are done during the week and it was beginning to conflict. And if I began to do part-time, I would be defrauding government, God forbid! So that was why I had to give full attention to the ministry.

What makes our church unique
We are unique because we are not your regular conventional church. We donít do church here. Itís not about us, it is about people who have nobody else to help them. We are compassionate towards the needy. We are real people. We are not pretending to be what we are not. We are not trying to be Americans in Nigeria.

How we identify the needy
Well, all over the society, they are there. You donít need to look far. If you go to the hospitals, they are there, you have the Old Peoplesí Home in Yaba. When we talk about rejected people, even some rich people are emotionally rejected. We minister the word of God to them. Not just in theory, we preach to them and touch them with the love of God.

So wherever the resources permit, we go there.
Our job in this church is two fold, first we teach and then we touch. We teach them the principles of how to live a godly christian life and then touch them with the love and compassion of God. We donít just teach them and ignore that they have real problems, we touch them with our resources.

I believe that every call of God upon a manís life has to do with people who are underprivileged. The church cannot afford to neglect them anymore. We are not called to build empires, we are not called to buy jeeps and drive good cars. But we are called to bless people. The love of God should be expressed in a tangible way that people can appreciate.

Our church in the next five years
In the next five years, I believe God to increase our capacity to do more for Him. We would like to see a reformed society. Society will not reform by criticising government. The reform will take place when we start playing our roles. That is why God has given us His power and His authority. So in the next five years, we intend to see God increase our capacity, make us more relevant and useful to him.

I believe that there must be a meeting point between the cross and the market. The Bible and the market must meet. We must touch our society, we serve God and through God, we serve the people. We believe that God will help us to do more for Him, to reach out to people, to know that we are a church that really cares, not just in words but in deeds.

Ostentatious lifestyle of some Pastors
We cannot rule out background. Poverty has taken its toll on priesthood. When somebodyís background is very porous and he suddenly comes into wealth if he doesnít have the character of God, he can just let go. I believe also that the circle of influence that the minister is surrounded with determines his lifestyle.

There are many factors and let us also admit that the blessing of God will make him visible. If a man of God is living above his means or living in ostentation, God will judge him. Also complex comes into it, low self esteem. When a man has a low self esteem, he begins to look for things to cover that low self esteem. But the Bible says you are complete in Christ.

Ban on TV miracles
Let me say this, I have always believed that the remedy to wrong use is not non use but right use. This ban is working for us because the former attraction to come to the Lord through miracles, had its own plus and minus. People should come to God not just because of miracles. They should come to church because they love God.

They should come to God not because God can heal them even though God can heal them. But I think people need to be drawn to God because they love God, they have seen the goodness of God in their lives and they know that without God, life will not be the way it is designed to be.

But we cannot deny that in some places real miracles happen. So ban or no ban miracles cannot stop. It just means that the advertisement or the awareness of it will be curtailed. It is helping us now because when people come to church, we know that they are not coming because of miracles. It is not too encouraging to advertise miracles as if God is some father Christmas, that would be a wrong picture of God. You donít need to advertise a miracle. The man who has received a miracle will advertise it.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown