Although Christchurch International Ministry clocks ten years this May2021, the church will celebrate its first anniversary & convention tagged “10 Years of God’s Grace and Faithfulness” with the theme “Eagle’s flight, from May 28-30, 2021 at its Akowonjo, Egbeda church headquarters. Dr. Yemi Omoniyi, Lead Pastor of the church takes the duo of Christian Benefits’ Wole Olarinde and Peace James through the journey of the fast growing apostolic ministry in 10 years. Excerpts.
Can we meet you sir?
My name is Yemi Omoniyi, the Lead Pastor, Christchurch International Ministry.
Congratulations on the 10th year of Christchurch Int’l Ministry (CIM). How would you describe the journey of the church in its first decade?
Thank you. The journey has been amazing and adventurous. Starting a church from the scratch requires putting in your best. God’s moves at Christchurch in 10 years are amazing while our efforts in 10 years of the church have been adventurous.
Briefly tell us about your background and upbringing.
I’m privileged to be raised in a Christian home. My maternal grandfather was a man of God with Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C). My late father was also a minister at C.A.C. I’m still a C.A.C member as my foundation church. I passed through other ministries including the Foursquare Gospel Church where I served four years and Holy Ghost Christian Centre among others. Aside my secular university education in Mathematics with Computer Science , I studied at Life Theological Seminary, Ikorodu, Lagos, and West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS); an affiliate of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). I had a humble and strict upbringing with disciplined training that makes it difficult for us to easily blend with generational shifts. My conservative upbringing still influences me. For instance it was after ten years that we erected a signpost for the church. We keep a low profile for God to announce us himself
Aside being raised in a Christian home, share with us your rebirth encounter
Until 1983 I never knew one would still have to formally give his or her life to Jesus Christ despite being raised in a Christian home. I thought that since one is from a Christian home automatically one is born again. But the truth is a Christian family background only helps one to grow morally. In 1983 as students of Eko Boys High School the school authority took those of us who were Christian students to the Deeper Life Bible Church, Gbagada, Lagos. When the altar call was made after the message in the church I was convicted. So, I stepped out and gave my life to Jesus Christ on that day in 1983. Thereafter, the leaders of my church, C.A.C Adegboyega, Palm grove noticed the changes in my life and I was baptized.
How will you describe your walk with the Lord from 1983 till date?
It has been challenging and interesting. There had been some hiccups on the way but they helped me to align myself with the ultimate purpose of God for my life.
Share with us how you eventually received the call into ministry.
This is one challenge in my walk with the Lord that confused me. I love the market place and desired to be a big player in the market. My parents suffered hardship in ministry, yet they remained faithful till the end. Their hardship in ministry makes ministry unattractive to me. Unfortunately after I graduated from the university and was serving (NYSC) at the then National Electrical Power Authority (NEPA) I heard the Lord said, “My son I need you.” I asked myself, does it mean I would suffer same the hardship as my parents? But today I must confess I’m enjoying working for the Lord. He has taken me from level to level albeit I’m still a work in progress. I heard the call into ministry in 1990 but was scared to accept it until 1992 when I was sure of it. After I graduated and showed my certificate to my pastor then at C.A.C Adegboyega, Pastor Amos Fenwa he was happy and prayed for me. But he frankly told me that I won’t use the certificate to work. He said he saw me in ministry. I took his words as a curse, but lo and behold today I’m blessed of God in ministry.
Can we look at your ministerial profile before you started this present work?
I started as a young psalmist and organist at C.A.C Adegboyega. I later became the choir master before I joined Foursquare where I served as music minister for four years. Subsequently, I joined Prayer-link Ministry of the now late Prophet Femi Agboola. I eventually reconnected with my former pastor at C.A.C Adegboyega, Pastor Amos Fenwa when he started Holy Ghost Praying Centre (now Holy Ghost Christian Centre, HGCC). I served as one of the pioneer ministers at HGCC for a couple of years before God made me “grow away” to start this present work, Christchurch International Ministry (CIM). In the course of my ministerial build up I studied theology at West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS) where I earned Bachelor’s degree (B.A) in Pastoral Theology & Biblical studies. I also earned Master’s degree in Theology at WATS. I earned several other certificates in Leadership courses both home and abroad. I am also a product of Church Growth Institute where I earned PhD in Leadership and Church Health.
What is the exact mandate of your commission by God into ministry?
One of the mandates is Joshua Generational Mandate (JGM). This is a mandate to raise an army of believers for the kingdom of God. When we started the church we were having an average of one thousand worshipers and the Lord said to me this is not what I called you to do. You are moving in the direction of Moses mandate. Almost all the multitude that followed Moses died in the wilderness. Our vision is lifting people from their current realities to their ultimate inheritance through mental shift in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, leading to a godly success at their best. Our mission is to train and equip an army of believers to be leaders in their purpose and redirect them to establish and expand the kingdom of God on earth so that we can make the needful impact that God intended in the Garden of Eden.
What are the gifts God endowed you to accomplish the above mandate?
I prefer people speak about who they think I am; after all Jesus got a feedback from his disciples about whom the people thought he was. Some people see me as a teacher of God’s word. Some people see me as a prophet. Some other people see me as a worshiper. Some said I’m a pastor. But I deny all of the above mentioned statuses that people think I am. I’m simply a servant of God. Nevertheless, I thank God for the various dimensions of gifting that people see or perceive in him.
What are some of the church programmes in line with the mandate?
We run eight services. Our Wednesday service focuses on the people in the market place at which we give the people the needful spiritual and social capital needed to navigate the market. Our Saturday service tagged “In His Presence” is for youths. Christchurch strongly believes that education should be for job creation and not for job seeking. We raise more of employers than employees. We believe that even Christchurch pastors too must be employers to be able to add values to the church. We hold various special programmes for specific classes of individuals. In our Sunday service, we hold three sessions basically for worship but with different audience. The first audience is for the word. The second audience is for power & prayer. The third audience is for 360 degree relationship. All our programmes are outreach inclined. We hold an annual special outreach programme that we call “Touching Lives like Jesus”, which is our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at which we give to the needy and the physically challenged.
Share with us some testimonies from these programmes?
To the glory of God we have had several life-changing testimonies. For instance, we have the testimonies of people who walked in with slippers into Christchurch but are now company owners, property owners and sponsors. We have had a lame man brought all the way from Port Harcourt into the church and after been prayed for was healed and restored to his feet. Many barren couples have become parents of wonderful babies to the glory of God. There are countless testimonies of miscreants (Area Boys and girls) among other sinners who have given their lives to Jesus at Christchurch. In these 10 years, CIM has raised and produced many successful entrepreneurs in various businesses and in the market place. At Christchurch International Ministry we believe there is a thin line between spirituality and secularism. What matters essentially is your relationship with God. This has really helped us to effectively articulate our vision in such a way that we meet the basic needs of the people in these 10 years, all to the glory of God.
What are the expectations from the 1st anniversary/convention of the church?
One of our main expectations is to celebrate and give all glory to God in a way that has never been done before. We are going to praise him unusually. We are going to draw more people closer to the Lord. We will hold an empowerment session. My team has agreed to sponsor business ideas that are good enough to empower our community. We have invited some respected men of God as preachers to bless the participants. We have also invited some notable gospel music ministers that people can’t afford to miss.
When you set out 10 years ago did you envisage the fast level of growth that Christchurch International Ministry has attained today within 10 years?
I must confess we took a risk but with God on our side. Initially, my plan was to relocate abroad. I had some opportunities outside Nigeria. But while I was praying God told me to stay and he would take me to higher places. This is one journey (starting a church) I never envisaged embarking. But in the course of the journey we became intoxicated with the work; even when nobody was noticing us. I thank God for his faithfulness. I never envisaged this level of growth within 10 years.
What are some of the challenges that you had faced within these 10 years?
The major challenge is paradigm shift. In these 10 years I noticed two generations emerging at the same time. However, we thank God for opening our eyes to see the emergence and then positioned us ahead to address the challenges that come with it. Today, the manner people are tearing off men of God on the social media is rampant. We thank God for his faithfulness that is keeping us in these 10 years.
Share with us the role and contributions of your beautiful wife, Pastor Janet Omoniyi, to the success story of Christchurch International Ministry at 10.
I give big kudos to my wonderful and God-sent wife, Pastor Janet Omoniyi for her steadfast prayer support and encouragement these 10 years and long before then. I appreciate God for what he has been using my wife to do in my life and ministry. She has been ministering to me and our children. God will continue to strengthen her.
Aside your lovely wife and adorable children, tell us other people who have significantly impacted Christchurch International Ministry these 10 years.
Again, I want to appreciate God for the gift of dedicated and committed members of Christchurch International Ministry. I celebrate our members for standing with us and for investing their time and resources in the church in these 10 years. Some of them will be ordained as ministers at the anniversary thanksgiving service. We don’t run a close circuit church. We run a church without walls. I will encourage the church member to come closer to God because the best is in the future. Whatever level we are today, as a church and individuals is by the grace of God.
Lastly, if Christ tarries what is your vision for the church in another 10 years?
I want CIM to cover more grounds in outreaches, end time revival, God’s kingdom expansion and to take its place in the market place in the area of top notch inventions in order to reach and impact more lives to the glory of God. I’m seeing a 6’0 clock church that is heavenly conscious and earthly relevant.