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‘My greatest temptation is not money, not women, but overwork’

Posted by By Beifoh Osewele on 2005/01/28 | Views: 657 |

‘My greatest temptation is not money, not women, but overwork’


A first time visitor to the Provincial 10 headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in the Agege area of Lagos, would easily walk past Pastor (Dr) Francis Ade Jimoh Titus, without the slightest inkling that he is the man in charge. A man without airs, Pastor Titus has no doubt imbibed the letter and spirit of the biblical injunction, “humble thyself”.

A first time visitor to the Provincial 10 headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in the Agege area of Lagos, would easily walk past Pastor (Dr) Francis Ade Jimoh Titus, without the slightest inkling that he is the man in charge. A man without airs, Pastor Titus has no doubt imbibed the letter and spirit of the biblical injunction, “humble thyself”.

Perhaps, to understand the man of God is to have an insight into his background. Indeed, Pastor Titus is no run-of-the-mill person. A Mechanical Engineering graduate of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, he also holds a doctorate degree in Theology, Ph.D. in Christian Education and Fellow of Education (D.ed) Consortium in Divinity. Titus who heeded the call way back in 1969 walked out of a multimillion-naira business empire to work full time in the Lord’s vineyard.

Calling

As a child, Titus spent his formative years with his parents in Jege, in the North Central State of Kogi. He was brought up in the fold of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA). It was also known as Sudan Interior Mission (SIM).
"It was a taboo to even go to any other church in my area. It was controlling all the areas I come from. Everything was SIM. SIM schools, SIM hospital. Everything we had over there was SIM".
Titus says he has always felt a divine hand in his life. "Right from when I was born, I knew that my life was not the life of my parents. I knew that I was principally responsible for whatever happened to my life." But what exactly that was, he could not fathom.

"As a child, we went to church either to listen to the songs, to see the white man preach or to meet some of the girls from the Queens College. But on the particular day I gave my life to Christ, things happened very dramatically. They were going to take the communion and the Reverend said those who were not born again should please go out. But as I was taking my Bible to go, the Pastor said, ‘God loves you so much and He said give your life to me. I am the best to manage your life. You are taking your life and running away. To whom? He said it was either to God or to the devil. That today, it is no problem for God to convert you and you would be qualified for this bread’. I looked at it and wasn’t quite sure what to do. My friends had told me that if you’re converted, you’d not be able to dance or keep girlfriends. And I still wanted those things. But here was a man telling me that God wanted to manage my life for me. He said I was not losing anything by accepting Him. He said God is not taking my money. He is not taking my wife. He is not making me a dummy. That he is going to make my life better. Then there was an altar call and I gave my life to Christ."

Quitting SIM

When we got born-again in the 60s, SIM was a little bit getting uncharismatic. In my village, I was president of Christ’s Ambassadors. We were having branches in at least, 18 villages. We were having vigils in the church. The elders of the church who happened to be our parents then said we were anti ECWA, anti SIM. That it was only the cults people that meet in the night. Some of us were speaking in tongues, and then they said that was a proof that we had evil spirit. We tried to reconcile them with our group but they were bent on that. At a particular point we couldn’t exist in the church in which we were brought up. Then we started looking elsewhere. An uncle of mine happened to be one of the founding pastors here (RCCG). I started fellowshipping with Redeem and gradually, when I came to Lagos, I just joined finally.

Part-timer

About 20 years ago, I was here (RCCG, Agege). It was a very small place then. I was a part-timer, combining my Engineering profession with church work. Two years later I was moved to Akowonjo. I had to pick up the parish from the bakery status. The place was a bakery house. After about five years, I became an Area Pastor. I was moved to look after the first model area in Lagos State- RCCG, Ifako Model Area. I was there for two years and then opted out for mission work. As the mission’s coordinator for the whole Redeem family in Lagos State, I was principally looking after the West Coast missions. Well, I was not supervising them but just getting their reports and giving them to my state pastor. I was in Benin Republic for about four years looking after the parishes there.
At the tail end of that, I now discovered that my Engineering and church work were conflicting too much. I was stressed because I had to drive to Benin Republic to look after the parish and I had to look after my four factories. I was stressed. So I started praying. In one of those times too, I was sure the spirit of God just moved me that I needed to go to seminary. I was in school for six years. With Engineering, the mission work and seminary studies, I kept praying. About three years ago, I was convinced I should just drop Engineering and give all my time to God. I went into full time ministry.

Challenges

The challenges of full time ministry at this level is enormous. But I am used to hard work. When I was in the secular, I was running a factory with over N200m investment in Umundaku, Owerri. I would travel in the evening, resume in the factory and work for one week non-stop. All these put together cannot be compared with the challenges of full time ministry at this level because as a provincial pastor, everything happening in the church province rests squarely on you. We are close to 300 parishes, 52 areas, and 22 zones. We try as much as possible to use pastors reporting to us, but then, you still have to do a great deal of work. I put in 10-12 hours everyday. This is apart from going to night vigils and this and that. I learnt that lesson some 10 years ago. I was busy with Engineering. I love Engineering because I was very good in it. I was consultant to so many companies and loved helping them solve problems, which other Engineers couldn’t solve.

Then, one man came, he used to be a pastor with Deeper Life, we were just talking and he said, the final work one has to do is to work for souls. Ten years after, it dawned on me that actually, the best work is to work for souls for the Kingdom; letting people know that all cannot stick together except you stand by Jesus Christ. The only maker of life is He. He’s the one who designed you and He’s in the best place to manage you. So. Some people will come with problems, you counsel and pray with them. People have problems in their families God use me to mediate them. All these give me a lot of satisfaction. My machine cannot say thank you. It is different when you’re dealing with human beings. You can see joy, you can see appreciation, and you can see everywhere bubbling. So, I think the challenges in full time ministry are enormous but it is also very exciting and fulfilling.

Problems and trials

There is what is called pastoral burn out. When one is burnt out, you’re just there nervous, irritated. And once that happens, you have to just escape from the pulpit as quickly as possible. If not, it will not be you ministering anymore. Take for example, maybe you have a project to execute. The money must come from the people because we are never going to write America to give us money. You look at the people (congregation) a lot are applicants and the project must be done. Then raising the money now becomes a little bit difficult but the project must be done. And in a case like that, you’re to rely on God and sometime He just raises maybe one person to do that aspect.

Temptation

The greatest temptation that I have is how not to overwork myself because I have seen money. For nearly five years, nearly everything the church spent where I was pastor, I could provide it. It was just a matter of saying let other people be blessed. All their income was not more than a day’s sale for me. So, as for money, I have seen money. I have my house. Twenty years ago, I had at least six vehicles in the garage. I have connections. I have trained so many people. If I ever need money, any of them I tell would be too happy to help.

On women, everybody has one shortcoming or the other. But I don’t see a girl different from a boy. God has just done it like that for me. I don’t see a girl different from a boy. There was an instance in Akowonjo where a young lady came to our church and we asked her from where she came. She said she was driven away by her parents. They told her, ‘you have breast now go to Lagos and live your life’. She came to the church and there was no way we could push her away. We rented a place and we told the uncle here that we’d help look after her. But one day the lady called me and said all these things you are doing for me ‘se koni leyin’ (will there be no repercussions?). I said you’re a daughter to me. She said some pastors when they help like this they come to ask for my body. I said to her, I don’t need your body. I love souls. I love the souls of men and women. But as regards having affairs I don’t do it. Even right from my youth if I really loved a girl I couldn’t touch her. If I really loved a girl, I didn’t want to hurt her or make her life miserable.

The thing is position. Except I want to consult I can spend N10m without any approval. That is the power the GO gives to me. If I want to buy a bus today, I can just tell the congregation. If I want to fire a pastor I can. All these powers I feel a lot of pastors want to misuse. When I came here, I told them you can’t prostrate for me. You can’t call me daddy. I am Pastor Titus. I told them if I am carrying something, if it is convenient for you to help, ok. Otherwise, there is no compulsion. It was very difficult for them because some pastors want you to kneel down before you talk to them. But I don’t see myself as being Lord of these people. I don’t see them as servant. So that has helped me in managing our province. But the only problem I have is that I want too many things done at a time.
So I won’t say there are no temptations but I have come to see that godliness with contentment is a great thing. I don’t believe that the pastor should be the richest, ride the biggest car, fly in Jets. I think it is possible but I am not holding my God to ransom because even if I have money for the biggest car now, I want to buy a land for the church.

Simple life

The target I have set for myself is that I want to spend a lot of money on churches because when we do that people will have a permanent structure where they can serve God. There was temptation recently to build a house in the village and I asked God, God didn’t permit me. Somebody came and asked how many houses I have, I said a boy’s quarters. He said why and I told him God didn’t tell me I should be building houses over the places. But I can point to 50 churches I have participated in.

Prosperity preachers

I have a lot of problems with most of the present preachers. For example, the way they go about their preaching, I don’t buy it. They are too concerned with materialism. I believe that God can meet the needs of the believer. I believe that those who are trading, God can bless their trading. But I don’t believe that these blessing should personally come to the preacher as if he’s now the one giving them blessings and they must give him a kick back. And that is what I think is bad about it all. Individual pastors can even control a whole bank and when that money is there, you can’t manage working with God anymore. There’s no way you can get the suit, the best wrist watch, the best shoes and put on the best glasses and then want to sit in your room. Something will say go out, because you have to show off. So, you see some pastors with diamond rings flashing. A lot of them can’t talk anymore for one hour. They have water on the altar. They want to speak as if they are the one commanding God. I don’t think that is correct. And I want to tell you that once you look at mammon, it is going to look back at you. A lot of preachers are bowing down for mammon.

Miracles

In the quest for power, a lot of juju is coming back to the church because they want to do magic which they call miracles. But what is miracle? Miracle is something done extraordinarily by God. And if you can influence it, it is no more a miracle. You can see people praying and whatever they say immediately starts to happen. It is possible through God but a lot are not from God. And when somebody goes to borrow from the devil to live his life there is bound to be trouble. The Lord says, "many will say in your name we did this. He will say go away from me you worker of iniquity". There are genuine miracles, but then, money, position and power have become so competitive that they are about what is ruling in a lot of peoples lives. You get to lot of churches, they don’t remember God anymore.

Proliferation

The church is getting powerless. No matter the miracles you see…God is moving but a lot of people mimic the move of God. I know a lot of people who just do like this (movement of the hand). And people start falling down. But it (the power) is all from east. It is power from the east. It is all from special performances, special agreement with demon to cause people to fall into sleep. But there are genuine ones.

NBC order

They (those who made the order banning miracles on TV) are talking like human beings. But what I think should happen is to allow them to run but if you don’t want to hear them, you can shut off your set. What it will result in is that we will go across the borders to Benin Republic, our neighbours, one hour drive from here, open stations and do whatever we want to do. They can’t stop that. I don’t think what they are trying to do is good for Christianity. I am sure the NBC order will be short-lived. We can go to Benin Republic and do what we are doing.

Family

I am married to Pastor (Mrs.) Nike Titus. We have been married for 25 years. We have a daughter. What it feels like to have one daughter? Well, I like to have more children but I have tried, it has not been possible. But I never lost out because when you come to my house, at least, 20 children will play with me everyday. My door is open to all the children around the province. We teach them. We teach look at their problems. We counsel their fathers and they call me father too.

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Comments (3)

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

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

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

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

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

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