Rev Toyin Kehinde is the Senior Pastor and founder of Agape Generation International Church. He and his wife, Sade, are also the convener of Global Mandate Conference. It is a conference that brings together serving missionaries from across Africa to Nigeria for a four-day refreshing retreat. The conference this year is slated for February 20-23 at the church’s headquarters on 15 Ugbeji Aki Street, Mende Maryland, Lagos. The theme for this year’s conference is strategic partnership for global engagement. Rev. Kehinde spoke with Church Times on the 2020 conference and the vision for the mission’s body. Below are excerpts:
What has been the feedback since you began Global Mandate Conference?
The feedback has been quite encouraging. First is that the GMC has become a household name. It is unique in every ramification. The uniqueness of it is that this is a mission’s conference where the missionaries are not paying to attend and they are not coming to work. They are only coming to rest, relax and listen to teachings that will help them in the work they are doing. It is also a platform where they are also able to connect with some city pastors who they would ordinarily have not met. They are able to form partnership with the city pastors to expand the kingdom.
A lot of the city pastors have also been challenged by the conference and they now realize that they can be involved in missions and still be successful. They now see that God blesses those who support missions. I am happy to note that the GMC has become a reference point for city pastors and many are coming to that understanding by the day.
Many pastors in the city are now able to see that church can actually be involved in missions and not be in need. In essence the feeling that their investment is a waste is no longer there. GMC is a reference point that needs are still being met even when they spend to support missions’ efforts.
How are their needs met?
The way they are being met is because the word of God becomes a reality in their lives. Philippians 4 tells how the Philippians supported missions and how Paul prayed for them that the Lord will supply their needs. That prayer is for missions’ supporters. So as we keep on giving towards missions, God keeps blessing us. Some of the few partners we have, have been experiencing God’s blessings. I have seen somebody who started by giving N5, 000 support but who now gives N1m. The Lord told a brother last year that his total salary for the month of January should be given to missions and he was wondering how he would survive. He obeyed the Lord. As he obeyed God, he got a big offer from another organisation that same year. So, it pays to support missions.
But then our passion is not because we are looking forward to some material blessings. We are so passionate about missions because many are yet to see the light of the gospel and also that, it is the only thing keeping Jesus from coming back. If the gospel is not being preached to all the nations, we are not helping the second coming of Jesus Christ.
We have too much light in the city while in some places there is too much darkness. Why don’t we take our light to the hinterland and spread the light.
Philip in the New Testament was serving tables because there were too many talented and graced teachers in Jerusalem with him. So he could not preach where an Apostle Peter or James was. But when persecution came they were scattered abroad and Philip got to Samaria where he demonstrated the grace of God upon his life. The whole of Samaria turned to the Lord because of his ministration. He was also able to preach to the Ethiopian Eunuch who later took the gospel to Ethiopia.
But then, are pastors really catching this message?
It’s a slow movement in terms of people catching up with the message. It’s not a new message as it were. It’s just that we are just reemphasizing the same old message which was the Lord’s last commandment to go into the world. But the good news is that we have moved from where we were. More pastors are getting more interested in missions unlike when we just began the conference. They are now more encouraged to be part of what is being done in supporting missions’ efforts.
But what report do you get from the fields, talking in terms of missionaries who have been part of the conference in the past?
Many missionaries now look forward to the event. Because they are really, really, refreshed whenever they come. Some of them who have suffered loneliness in their missions’ field get refreshed meeting people when they come. They get all the care they can get when they come. They also go with a lot of clothing material and money. It’s a big reunion platform for them. When they are leaving on Sunday after the event there is always a well-up of emotion.
After the conference do you still connect to the missionaries?
Yes. They send report and we arrange visit and meetings with them. We do projects with them and see that the work in their hands do not suffer as the Lord gives us the grace to help.
So what are your expectations for this year?
We are expecting 200 missionaries. We are expecting more from other African countries. We are trusting God that more city pastors will connect with missionaries and form a synergy of support. I want to see more of support and connection. I believe we have enough churches in Lagos to take on Africa. We just need the connection and the networking so that those who have the money, wisdom, idea will link up together for the work. The theme of this year’s conference is strategic partnership for work of missions.
I believe no single church can finish the work of evangelization. There are many members in a body and the members have to work together for the body to work. We have to work together. But then it is not easy to work together. If we are going to work together we have to do away with pride and celebrate ourselves.
It seems GMC is more of a Pentecostal conference?
Because those who are close to me are Pentecostals. That is why we have more of Pentecostals. But the truth is that it is not a Pentecostal conference. It is a church thing. This year we have few Baptists joining us and we hope to improve with time. Over the years we have had some evangelicals join too. Some of the orthodox churches are very big and have policies and protocols that make it difficult for us to reach them. But we will keep working and ensure that we get more churches to participate in the yearly conference.
What would you consider the major challenge of this work apart from money?
Money is a major issue in this work. The other challenge we have is to be able to get the city pastors fully involved. Some pastors have a blocked mindset that stops them from getting involved. They are sometimes looking out for how it will benefit them. We have leaders who have material blessings and who have capacity to help. But they won’t come because they don’t have the opportunity to speak. They are interested in who is speaking at the event. But then, everybody can’t be given the opportunity to speak. We hope that some of these pastors will have a change of heart with time and join hands with us to give all the support we could muster to missionaries.
I wish that one day, we will have over 1000 missionaries come together in one single meeting. I am hoping that one day people will come from all over the world to Nigeria to catch the fire of missions and to spread the fire to the nations of the world.