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‘The church alone cannot fully harness the potential of our youth population’
by SEYI JOHN SALAU
February 18, 2018 | 7:37 am| | | Start Conversation
Pastor Rotimi Adegborioye, director of Admin & Personnel at The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), speaks to SEYI JOHN SALAU on the vision of the church for the newly-created youth ministry and how his professional experience as a personnel manager has helped him as an administrator in the church. Excerpt:
How has your professional life/experience as a personnel manager helped your pastoral calling?
I pastored a church. The very day I came to the church after settling down, I think the pastor in charge of the parish then just called me one of the days and said they were making me a minister. I said it was not possible. ‘How can you make me a minister? How many days have I spent in your church as a worker?’ He said, ‘No sir, we are making you a minister’. I came in when I was already matured – not a mature Christian but matured in life. As at that time I was a personnel manager of a company, so the man said I fit into the work. I asked him which department and the man said bureau of employment. I asked which one was that and he said, ‘Sir, I looked at your CV and I know that it is your line, and you see youths and adults here with nothing to do, with your own background you will be able to fashion a future for them’. That was how I came to the church. It was a challenge because it was something that had never happened before in the church. So, I told him no problem and by the grace of God I took up the challenge. Then I was working in a textile company. After government, the textile companies were the second-largest employers of labour then, so I had opportunity and because I was managing two factories, I was able to bring in from my church, churches around, Christian circles here and there about 100 to 200 people together. So, it helped. I grew in that aspect, and again when I became a pastor, the administrative part of me also helped because I was able to streamline things and many never liked me for that. But at the end of the day, by the time they realized I was getting better results, they knew it was because of my background.
So, how has it helped in running the church? It has helped a lot because by my training I bring everything in the church together to make sure they are well organised. I live in Shimawa and worship in Akute, that’s about an hour’s drive, but so that I will not be seen as a leader that says one thing and does something else, I leave my house by 4:30 on Sunday morning and by 6 am, I am in the church, settled and have the next one hour to plan my life and prepare for them. Hardly will anybody say he got to the church ahead of me, except I have assignment elsewhere. So, it has helped me and people that come around me to get disciplined.
As an administrator, do you think the church is doing enough to harness the potentials of the youth population?
The church cannot do enough. As a matter of fact, the church does not have the wherewithal to do enough. I manage a church with an average attendance of about 1,000 people, out of which only about 20 percent are employed. What can I do that will be enough to be able to take care of the remaining 80 percent?
The basic (social) infrastructures are not available, and so it becomes difficult for the church to do enough. We run church service on Sundays on generating set for about six hours; you know the amount of money that will cost considering current pump price of fuel. This is still different from other exigencies that arise during the day. With the way things stand, the church cannot do enough yet, except the government takes care of the basic infrastructure to make life easy.
Recently, the RCCG began a youth movement, pulling youth churches out of the larger church. What was the vision behind this movement?
Well, the movement was borne out of a realisation that the needs of the youths differ from those of other groups in the church. This was particularly evident when most of the youths who had gone to universities and had served in Christian fellowships returned seeking environments that compare in operations and service with what obtained in campus fellowships. Also, there was the need to create an avenue for youths to be groomed in the art of leadership for the sake of future responsibilities and succession. And, of course, the authority of the church has no doubt about the abilities of our youths to lead considering that some of them who had served as executives in students’ fellowships had led a congregation in the range of 500 people.
That was what led the church authority, by reason of the fact that Daddy G.O. being a lover of the youths decided to pull the youth out of the larger church to form a fully-fledged youth ministry to help them grow faster. Six provinces were created and they have been doing very well since inception.
That brings me to the annual administrators’ conference organised by the church. How has it impacted the church workforce?
In the Redeemed Christian Church of God, we have different departments. We have the ministerial cadre which undertakes the primary assignment of the church, and we are all meant to finally end up there because we as believers have a calling to preach the gospel. We have other supporting departments which include finance, admin, technical (that is water, works, electricity, and electronics), ICT – all these are supporting departments. The main reason why we have been called is ministry. The church, because it is widespread, needs to be doing so many things to help the employees so that they will be able to give their best. So, we organize training programmes for the different units. The training for the administrators started a long time ago but it was actually revived a few years ago, and since then it’s been going from one very wonderful level to another. The last one held in 2017 had about 700 administrators in attendance. The administrators are assistant pastors in charge of provinces/regions and heads of departments in the management of the mission’s outposts. As at today, we have 245 provinces and 25 regions, and in each province/region, we have at least one administrator plus one assistant. So, if you consider the placement of at least two administrators in our 245 provinces (because we have some very big provinces that have three), you can have an idea of the number we are talking about. Again, when you come to the departments, we have more than 20 departments, and in the main Admin Department in the Redemption Camp alone, we have about 25 administrators. By the time you pull everybody together, including those serving in zones/areas, we will be talking about more than 1,500 administrators.
Of course, we still have the regional conferences. We have 25 regions in the Redeemed Christian Church of God as earlier mentioned. Immediately we finish the national conference, we expect the various regional administrators to go back and organize their own training programme. It is at that level that they pull the people in the parishes, areas and zones together. In some of the places, we have close to 200/250 attending the training programme. The one that took place in Port Harcourt last year was a combined conference which brought about three regions together, and about 230 people attended. I was there and it was very wonderful. The conferences are organized to sharpen the rough edges of our employees since most of us, because of time, do not have opportunity to go out. So when the mission brings the training to us in a three/four-day programme with professionals talking to us and facilitating the training, we are brought up to speed with new trends in the industry.
Could you speak to us about the theme of this year’s conference?
The theme for this year is ‘No Bounds’. The justification for this theme is because we have been working under so many limitations – “don’t do this, don’t do that”. So, we are telling ourselves that while we continue to operate within the scope of the scriptures, all those issues and traditions holding us down here and there should be broken and done away with.
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