Of the 60 years of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Joseph Akinrodoye has spent 40 years in the church. Yet, there is a youthfulness around him that makes you think he belongs to the youth group.
By September he would be 55 but he recalls with a lot of nolstagia how he joined the RCCG in the early seventies as a young boy in secondary school. “I had earlier encountered Christ at a night vigil in the Gospel Faith Mission during the holidays when I was on a visit to Ile-Ife. But on returning home, in Oke-Igbo, Osun State I joined the Scripture Union in school. Incidentally, Pastor Adeboye was a teacher in my school but he had not become a Christian then. It was later he moved to University of Lagos”
Akinrodoye who is an Assistant Provincial Pastor (APP) of Province 26 of the church said the RCCG later was introduced to Oke-Igbo in 1973 by Chris Fajemirokun who incidentally was the one who preached to Pastor Adeboye. “When the RCCG came to Oke-Igbo I joined and have not moved to any other church ever since.”
The APP who studied Kinetic and Health Education at the University of Nigeria said he was emboldened to remain in the church because pastor Adeboye who was one of the teachers in the school was also a member.
Going down memory lane, Akinrodoye revealed that the passion for the gospel was so high then that many of them shunned material possession because there was a general thinking that Christ would come soon.
But that thinking soon gave way when Pastor Adeboye came on the scene. “Because Pastor Adeboye was educated and also a lecturer, we began to use him as a yardstick that since he went to school there was every reason for us to also further our education.”
By 1977, Akinrodoye moved to Lagos, but his romance with the church still continued. “I remember going to Ebute Meta from Apapa where I was working. Then, the whole Church population was just about1000. In those days there was no use of drum set, tambourine. We only used our hands and accompanied with organ during worship.”
Though all that has changed, Akindoroye situates the emergence of new form of worship in the church to a music group known as regenerated singers which he belonged. The group according to him also had people like Pastor Kunle Ajayi, Pastor Lawrence Oluwagbemi and one pastor John. He recalled that Kunle Ajayi was always playing organ in the group while the group featured at wedding ceremonies and other church related events.
Pastor Adeboye picked interest in the group which was then non-denominational. They were integrated into the church. Though Akinrodoye no longer belong to the Regenerated Singers which is now known as Praise Team due to his pastoral commitment, he reveals that many early believers in those days could sing very well “Even now, I still find myself singing whenever I’m preaching” he noted.
Shortly after his marriage he got transfer back to Osun State in order to stay with his wife who was working with a company and there continued as a teacher in the state. He had started his pastoral ministry in RCCG Esa-Oke, rose to become Area Pastor in Ijebu Ijesa and had also pastured in a couple of other places. But the change of gear to full time pastoral work started in 1999 at the Holy Ghost Camp during a dramatic encounter.
“During break at the Holy Ghost camp in 1999, I was with another pastor and we were taking tea and chatting. Suddenly in the cause of discussion I saw one light that showed brightly on me and heard an accompanying voice that said to me, “go and resign” It was strange to me because then I did not bargain to leave the civil service because that was about the time the salaries were jerked up. But the voice told me to go and resign my appointment. I shared my experience with a couple of pastors and my wife. Surprisingly they encouraged me to resign and face God’s work.”
But many of his colleagues did not understand. “Some senior officers called and started pleading with me not to leave my job. Some said I needed deliverance and should be prayed for. But I had to obey God. Thank God I did. It was the second year after my voluntary retirement that the then governor started retrenching civil servants and I would have been a victim because my name had also been penciled down for retrenchment. They didn’t know I had already resigned. When my colleagues saw me after the retrenchment exercise they started congratulating me that truly I heard from God”
Since he joined the workforce of the church on a full time basis, it has been an exciting experience for him. He had been to Anambra on pastoral work and was there for four years. He came back to Lagos in 2007 and was promoted APP in 2008
After 40 years in RCCG, Akindoroye affirms, “If you are not called you will forget heaven if you if you fall into the hands of some people in ministry. Anybody who wants to do God’s work should be convinced about being called. It is not a tea party. I think it is also important that whatever position we find ourselves we should respect our humanity. I don’t believe in jostling for position in life. What you will become you will become. I thank God for where God has put me and I have continued to pray that any position that will not make me get to heaven, I don’t want to get there”
On the Boko Haram phenomenon, he believes it would soon fade away. “I believe every region in Nigeria had passed through a trying time. The north is having their share of such trying time and I believe it would soon pass away. Unfortunately the leaders of the north are not building their people. They never believed there will be change of power. They believed they were born to rule and since the power has changed hands they have become uncomfortable. And their people who were used to free money are now reacting and killing people in the name of religion.”
The solution to the problem according to him lies in the intercession of the saints. “We should not relent in praying and committing our leaders to God and trusting God that he will change the situations.”
“If you are not called, you will forget heaven if you fall into the hands of some people in ministry”