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I took only 2 cups of palm wine, and began to stagger-Most Rev Adegboye speaks of only day he tasted alcohol

Posted by By MUYIWA OYINLOLA on 2005/01/28 | Views: 291 |

I took only 2 cups of palm wine, and began to stagger-Most Rev Adegboye speaks of only day he tasted alcohol


When he joined the ministry 40 years ago, precisely on September 1, 1963, he was only a young man, aged 25. He did not know God had destined him to lead the church 36 years later. And this was what came to pass in October, 1999 as Most Reverend (Dr.) Timothy Adetola Adegboye JP., was made the Archbishop of First African Church Mission Inc.

When he joined the ministry 40 years ago, precisely on September 1, 1963, he was only a young man, aged 25. He did not know God had destined him to lead the church 36 years later. And this was what came to pass in October, 1999 as Most Reverend (Dr.) Timothy Adetola Adegboye JP., was made the Archbishop of First African Church Mission Inc.



At inception, the church which recently marked its 112th anniversary was known as United Native Africa (UNA) Church. The man who has spent 40 years in the church and who today by the grace of God is the spiritual head of the ministry in a chat with Daily Sun gives an insight into the event that necessitated the change in the name.

According to him, the decision to change the name was taken in 1984 at the Port Harcourt conference of the church, “to fashion it after universal acceptability.” The drive was to erase the word, “Native,” which he says made people ignorantly associated the church with idolatry and ethnicity. The perception of the novice about the church was that the name connoted lasciviousness and practice of African traditional religions.
But not so, the Archbishop says. He said the change in the name of the church was to fully exhibit the focus of the church for the world to see. “People were confused about that word native, they imagined we practise juju and all what-nots. And that necessitated the change. How can we condone Ogboni and others?

“And the new name, ‘First African’ is a big challenge to the mission, if you say you’re the first, what are you presenting to the people to really show you are the best? It’s a challenge to us. Our mission is to make nations have the zeal, the calling of the Lord, that one should be his brother’s keeper, avoid oppression, take care of the orphans, the widows, all these should be our concern. That sinners should repent, that they might be reconciled back to God. The Lord Jesus says if you cannot abandon your father, mother, sister, your brother and carry your cross to follow me, you cannot be my disciple, old things should pass away and the new life in Christ should be exhibited. Anyone who thinks otherwise is making a mistake. No Christian should play double standard.”
A professional teacher by training, Adegboye’s unflinching passion for the job he combined with the work of the ministry between 1965 and 1986, was only broken by a divine call upon his life, 17 years ago.
“By 1986, I was Archdeacon, and, when I was on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Lord told me, “your church, at Jehovah Shalom Cathedral will soon be demolished. What will you do? And I said, God, I will abandon teaching and face the work squarely and that made me in 1986 to retire voluntarily from service as a teacher. Until then, I was teaching and ministering as well.”

With over 40 years on the pulpit, the 65 years’ old will be retiring from presiding over the affairs of the church in 2008. To him, ministering on the altar is a life of sacrifice, which should be backed up with zeal, unction, and anointing from the Lord. “It is not what I want to do that I do, but what the Spirit tells me to do, and the moment I obey the spirit of God, I always feel satisfied.”

For the father of six who presides over the more than 500 parishes of the church spread across the country, Republic of Benin and England, every man should work out his own salvation and strive for a good relationship with God. “My parents were Christians, but that did not make me a Christian. I still had to seek God’s face for true salvation of my soul.” His parents were committed Christians who broke away from idolatry of his grand-parents. He enjoyed an intimate relationship with his mother in particular, and she tutored him in the way of the Lord. So, he did not meddle in the ignoble vices common to youths of his age.

Nevertheless, the archbishop recalled an experience when he became a victim of peer pressure. “Yes, I remember this, when I was a student teacher, I went out with my friends, and we drank palm wine. I joined them, took two cups, and I began to stagger. That was my first and the last taste of alcohol.” As for womanising, he only dated two ladies. The first, was only an acquaintance, and the other, he eventually married in 1964, at the age of 26.

Vision for the church

More than anything else, the Archbishop would like to see that more souls are won to the kingdom of God. “I want to see that I carry the light of our Lord Jesus Christ deeper, deeper and wider, so that the instruction and commandment of our Lord Jess Christ can be achieved, to bring the lost souls back to the fold. I pray to see the church the first, as the name connotes, worthy of being emulated by everybody, where sinners will run into and be saved. The Bible enjoins us in Mathew 28:19-28 says: Go ye into the world and preach the gospel and that is the vision I have for this church, make it truly the first African church.

Proliferation of churches

The archbishop says there were very few churches in those days when he started. Congregational members travelled quite a distance to worship in their churches of choice. This is no longer so today. Churches are everywhere. He is, however, not disturbed about what goes on in one church or the other, or about whether the proliferation is in the interest of the Body of Christ or otherwise.
“The Bible says, let them be growing together, on the harvest day, the wheat will be separated from the tares. There is nothing you can do to stop it, you will keep having it.” His concern is, however, on the mode and the motive through which such churches are formed. Anybody that cannot serve but wants people to serve him is only deceiving himself. A minister is a servant, but if one is not really called, he won’t be able to serve, and that is the point. People have their own point, they have their own focus, and they have their own vision. As for me, the Lord Jesus told me, “come and preach the gospel, and that is what I’m standing upon till today.”

Vision for Nigeria

“In 1989, I was on pilgrimage, the second time, and the commission was that “go back to your church, and your country, that every altar of abomination must be demolished and that all vices should be done away with. When that is done, the nation will be better. There will be lots of employment. Greed, assassination, will not be there again, we will have concern for jobless people. These are the things I want, that Nigeria may be a better place, a God fearing nation.
That workers will get what they are agitating for. That government will deliver good education, good healthcare service and every good things our leaders see when they travel out of the country.”

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