By Gbenga Osinaike
Rev Toyin Kehinde has just one vision. To reach the world with the gospel of Jesus. For him, every other thing is secondary. So, when God led him to start Agape Generation International Church in February 2001, he was too certain that the church would only be a springboard for global evangelism. So, since inception the church has been committed to supporting missionaries already on the field who are not even members of his church or pastors under him.
A 1988 marketing graduate, He worked with Etteh Aro and Partners Lagos as marketing and administrative executive prior to full time Christian service. Kehinde does not care who gets the praise as far as the work of kingdom is concerned. In the beginning when funds were not forthcoming, he and his members were committed to regular intercession for missionaries. “We started off by praying for missionaries when there was no money to commit to missions. When we started having funds we adopted two missionaries and supported them with monthly allowance. The number increased to four with time. Today we have 50 missionaries that God is supporting through us. 40 percent of our income as a church presently goes to missions. We hope to make it 50 percent in the year to come” he said.
Beyond committing funds and prayers, Kehinde, a recipient of various awards and appreciation Plaques, including National Elder & Advisory Honour Award (NEAH) by Heavens Target Christian Promotions Fellowship Int’l in 2007; A plaque in appreciation of his ministries in Asia in 2007 by Shekinah Crusaders, India; Appreciation plaque from Liberty House in 2008; Appreciation plaque from An Army of One Mission in 2010 among many others have been able to mobilize support for missionaries with a yearly conference known as Global Mandate Conference. The conference for 2018 is being planned and the church is mobilizing funds to bring 150 missionaries together for the purpose of strategizing and supporting them. A sum of N50,000 is expected to be spent to sponsor each of the missionaries for the weeklong conference which will attract top church leaders in Lagos.
For Rev. Kehinde, missions is a familiar turf. He regales you with stories from various fields across Nigeria and outside noting that there is no better way of getting fulfilled than doing missions.
“It’s on the missions’ field that we experience raw miracles and interventions in the lives of people. I remember some villages we visited in India. It was a crime to convert people in that village. The security people had to stay with us during our crusade to watch if we were going to make altar call. But by the time the Lord came on the scene and we finished preaching, some of the security men came forward to surrender their lives to Christ. We saw blind eyes open, we saw lame walk. It’s on these fields that we see a replica of the Acts of Apostles.”
He disclosed that visiting missionaries on the field in Nigeria has also been a rewarding pastime for him and members of his assembly. “God has used us to impact lives in the north. There were about 20 villages that God used us to provide portable water in the north. There was a community in Niger State that had not experienced open air crusade for 15 years but the Lord used us to break that jinx. Souls came to know the Lord and shackles were broken. These are just a bit of what God has been doing through us”
While lamenting the enormous waste in the Body of Christ, he said, “If the churches can only commit 10 percent of their income to missions we would have overrun the entire Nigeria with the gospel. What is needed by many of these missionaries is not much. If we curtail our greed we can adequately fund the work in remote parts of the country. I believe those who have not heard the gospel should be given the privilege of hearing at least once their lifetime.”
Apart from the challenge of funds, Kehinde believes there is need to begin to change the narrative about missions. “first I think missionaries should stop presenting themselves as beggars. They should not go in rags in the name of doing missions. There is need for them to realise that they are doing a noble work which they should be proud of. I also think the gap between the church and missions should be closed. We are doing the same assignment. The missionary should be involved in church and the church should be involved in mission. What I observe is that missionaries are guilty of what they accuse church of. The church is also guilty of what it accuses missions’ bodies of. The solution is for us to close the gap and see ourselves as pursuing the same objective.
With a supportive wife, Rev. Mrs. Shade Toyin Kehinde; whom he married in 1993, children and church members; the task of global evangelism has come easy for Rev Kehinde though with the natural challenges. “My family has been quite supportive and they also buy into the vision. Our members in church know that is our primary mission. The groups in church are always thinking of what to do to support missionaries when celebrating their anniversary.”
What is however on the table now is the Global Mandate Conference billed to hold in February 15 -18 2018 at the Agape Generation International Church. He says the conference will “create opportunity for missionaries to showcase what God is doing through them on the missions’ field, help the church to remain focus, provide a common ground for kingdom financiers and missionaries; and also raise the altar of prayers for missions in the country.”
Pastor Kehinde is also on the faculty of God’s Army Bible Training College, Anthony Oke Lagos, the training arm of TREM. He is on the Board of the National Prayer Movement. He is presently the General Secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Lagos State. He also serves on the Body of Conveners of Nigeria Prays Organisation, a prayer movement headed by the former Head of State, Dr. Gen. Yakubu Gowon GCFR as Lagos State Coordinator.
He is the President of Agape Generation Bible Training Institute, Maryland Lagos and is also on the board of Saints’ Garage, a Christian Residential Resort center in the hospitality industry located in Badagry, Lagos.