4 life lessons from the amazing ministry of Pastor Adeboye

A media educator and data scientist highlights takeaways from the rise and rise of one of the greatest leaders of faith the world has ever seen.

I just finished and submitted a scholarly paper on the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RGGG), Pastor E. A. Adeboye.

As I researched into him and his journey in RCCG as a non-member, I discovered four critical things that can serve as life lessons to me. Let me share some of them with you.

In saying them, however, one or two things may appear negative. But I am not saying them to rubbish RCCG or Pastor Adeboye. I am simply a researcher with an open mind.

Let me also say that I discovered many theses and scholarly articles published either on Pastor Adeboye or RCCG in many universities around the world. So, some of the things I say here are in the open.

Education has no substitute

It never promises you wealth and fortune in naira and kobo. But it promises a different life. Pastor Adeboye got to RCCG when he was already a senior lecturer with a doctorate. That already positioned him first to be closer to the founder and become his interpreter and few years later replace him when he died as the G.O.

The lesson here for me is: get education or learn a skill or trade. It is good to have one when you don’t need it than to need one when you don’t have it.

Assuming Pastor Adeboye did not have an education when the founder died, that opportunity would have passed him by. It is simply a case of opportunity meeting preparedness. Like we were taught in the Boys Scout, be prepared!

Reinvent yourself

When the founder of RCCG was excommunicated from C&S Church, 12 people followed him to start the new church. Together they built the church to 40 parishes in South West with only poor and uneducated Yorubas as members.

In fairness, that was a lot of work put in there. But not enough to take the church higher than it was. Now, why did the founder find Dr Adeboye worthy to succeed him and not any of the 12 loyal members who followed him to start the church?

The answer is the lesson for me. It appears to me the 12 loyal members never developed themselves beyond the level they were when they were building the church and as such could not offer much going forward when the founder wanted more.

Dr Adeboye simply offered more. Life is about inventing and reinventing yourself wherever you are.

When you find yourself somewhere, look for how you will add value to yourself and to the place, whether it is where you work, live or worship.

Because the 12 members and the older ones could not offer much more, the founder could not entrust them with the future of RCCG.

Take decision. Improve yourself. Reinvent yourself. Make yourself relevant. Position yourself for opportunities; they won’t tell you they are coming!

Go bold

When you find yourself leading, don’t not be afraid to take big decisions. Do not leave the growth of your life or your company or that of your family members to chances or prayers alone.

When Pastor Adeboye took over RCCG as the G.O., the church was only in the South West with poor, largely uneducated as members. Although the founder had the vision that his church would one day spread to every corner of the world, that membership could not get it there.

Vision is nothing without the right strategy. The founder had vision, but Pastor Adeboye had strategy. He designed and executed the right strategy that grew the church’s 40 parishes in the South West to 40,000 parishes in 198 countries.

Despite opposition from older members of the church, Adeboye wasn’t afraid to create a “Model Parish” system and rename the 40 existing parishes under “Classical Parish” system.

The classical parishes still maintained its membership of poor and uneducated people with church business conducted in Yoruba. The Model Parishes attracted educated and rich elites as members.

When the two systems did not achieve the desired results, he collapsed them into a third system he named “Unity Parishes” which landed the church where it is today.

It has to be said that while the founder frowned at accumulation and display of wealth by church members, Pastor Adeboye favoured and deliberately courted educated and rich members. Before Pastor Adeboye, the church was only run on donations from members as the founder disallowed payment of offerings. Pastor Adeboye’s strategy has worked for RCCG.

Be loyal

Like Major Al-Mustapha, Abacha’s CSO said, 99% loyalty is no loyalty.

Loyalty must be 100%.

There is no question that Pastor Adeboye has been loyal to RCCG and its founder with whom he shared a special relationship. Any other person could have branched out after the death of Reverend Akindayomi to start his own church. Many pastors in Nigeria have done so. But chances are that if he had done so, he may not have nurtured his own church to this height.

As a matter of fact, of the Pentecostal pastors of his generation who are still living in Nigeria, Pastor Adeboye is the only one who is not a founder. But he didn’t mind serving RCCG and he has done so with everything he has got.

The journey was not easy. The success was not sudden. He was not afraid to take the long, hard journey. But he is here, still standing, still succeeding with RCCG.

Today as you work, take that job as your own. Be loyal to those who have given you the opportunity to showcase your talent. There is no quick fix. Roads to success are usually long and hard. Do not sit down and expect success to fall down from heaven.

Work. Work. Work.

Richard Adeyinka Emmanuel

Richard is a journalist, media educator and data scientist.

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