It’s not for fun that The Apostolic Church Nigeria is the foremost Pentecostal Church in the country. Though quiet and largely conservative, the church is making a great impact in its own unique way.
The architectural masterpiece at the LAWNA Territory headquarters (Lagos and Western/Northern Areas) located in Ketu has turned out to be a signpost that carries the emblem of the 103-year-old church.
But LAWNA is just the headquarters for one of the church’s territories. There is the Cross Rivers, Igboland, Maritime, Akwa Ibom Territory, and the Andoni Sub-Territory. Each of the territories is headed by a territorial Chairman, who administers by the Territorial Executive Council. Each Territorial Chairman in-council, in turn, reports to the National Executive Council headed by the National President.
This underscores the magnitude of the administration in the church and the extent, the church has gone to devolve power. Unlike many other Pentecostal denominations that concentrate power in the centre, The Apostolic Church seems to operate a confederal administrative system that allows the territories some level of independence.
The sheer size of the church has informed the idea of a quadrennial Convention. This is apart from other meetings and conventions by the smaller administrative units of the church which include the Area, district, and assemblies
The quadrennial convention thus attracts only delegates from across the branches of the church in the country. It is not an all-comers affair.
The Apostolic Church Nigeria media briefing
The President of the Church, Pastor Dr. Sampson Ekwutosi Igwe at a media briefing on Tuesday, February 9 said the once-in-four-year convention will hold as from Friday, February 12 to February 14 at National Headquarters International Convention grounds, Olorunda, Ketu, Lagos.
The global pandemic according to him is no threat as the church has put plans in place for delegates to observe all the covid-19 protocols.
Beyond that, the event will be aired live through its cable television while only delegates from across the country will be at the expansive venue.
But the beauty of the 2021 convention is the theme, which is “I will heal your land”. This is not only divine but speaks to the present situation across the globe. The cry on the lip of every individual is for God to help put an end to the scourge called covid-19 which has claimed many lives across the globe. It is really distressing.
But Pastor Igwe noted that the theme, which is taken from 2Chronicles7v14, is an indication that God is set to put an end to the scourge in the land.
He said, “This great promise of God could not have come at any better time than now that our nation and other nations of the world are suffering untold hardships. Apart from failing economies orchestrated by the global lockdown of economic activities, there are also cases of herdsmen attacks, kidnappings, banditry, rape and even attack religious organisations and clerics.”
The convention according to him, will provide a rare opportunity for the church to cry to God to heal the country.
He assured that “there will be prayer session for the healing of individuals, families, institutions and indeed our nation-Nigeria. We will not fail to pray for our leaders in the nation that God should guide them properly in making policies that affect every one of us as Nigerians.”
The Chairman of LAWNA Territory, Pastor Emmanuel Awojide said at the press briefing, that God “will heal our land. We will cry like the prophet of old. The church can only raise its voice in times of crisis like this”
While noting that leadership is the greatest problem of Nigeria, Awojide said, “We lack good government, there is security challenge. This nation can be better managed. But the Lord will heal our land. He will take control of this nation. It is unfortunate that those working against Christians were the ones trained by Christians.
“They are the ones who benefitted from mission schools and mission hospitals. The Church brought these facilities but the beneficiaries are now creating policies that are inimical to Christians. God will bring an end to all these.”
Since the last convention which was held in 2017 under the leadership of Emeritus Pastor Gabriel Olutola, the church has recorded great progress. Pastor Igwe said the church has experienced the impact of the theme for the last convention which is, The church as pillar and ground for truth.
He said the last four years have been full of evangelical works across the country which has led to a tremendous harvest of souls.
“What I can say is that the gospel has impacted lives in the last four years. It has been wonderful and I can assure you that we will be getting more testimonies,” he said
Commenting on the challenges the church faces in the North of the country, he said, “Well, the church is having its way despite the insurgency. We had a recent meeting in Abuja where pastors from all over the north gathered. We are still planting churches in that part of the country. We have areas, districts, and assemblies in the North and they are doing well.”
Due to the pandemic situation, Igwe informed that members across the country have been encouraged to join the convention online while delegates will be present at the ground of the church in Lagos.
Already some of the delegates for the convention have started arriving. Top pastors of the church had a strategic meeting shortly after the press briefing.
The Apostolic Church Nigeria is a product of the 1918 revival in the southwest of Nigeria. It adopted the name, The Apostolic Church Nigeria when it sought affiliation with The Apostolic Church of Great Britain in the heat of the persecution against its founders in the 1930s.
It is expected that the 2021 convention will mark new dawn both for the church and the country.