The 2023 national Church Missions Conference (CMC) holds August 18-19, 2023 in Lagos. Its convener, Rev. Femi Adebayo, explains to Christian Benefits, the vision of the annual conference to equip men for the work of the ministry, bring them to fellowship in the full stature of Christ, collaborate and use all the ministry gifts to raise whole believers. This year’s conference, featuring seasoned preachers, including Rev. Emiko Amatsuka and Rev. Victor Adeyemi and other ministers as guest speakers, will discuss: Confluence: The Revival of Streams as the theme with a view at bridging the gap of inequality in the five-fold ministry offices. Excerpts
Please, can we meet you sir?
My name is Femi Adebayo, a minister of the gospel. I trained as an architect before I stepped out into full time ministry. I have been in full ministry for about 28 years.
Briefly share with us about your background and upbringing
I was born into a Christian family. My father, who just passed away, was a pastor in Christ Apostolic Church (C.A.C). Despite being raised in a Christian home, like every other child, my curiosity lured me out of the faith when I went to school, and was introduced to some vices. But the mercy of God brought me back to Christ.
Aside coming from a Christian home, how did you accept Christ personally?
I gave my life to Jesus Christ at Full Gospel Business Fellowship meeting at Lafia Hotel, Ibadan, in 1990. Since then, I have known and accepted Christ personally.
Who were those you looked up to as your role models when you accepted Christ?
Actually, I didn’t look up to any person as my role model immediately after my salvation encounter. After I gave my life to Jesus Christ I had no follow ups. So, after awhile I backslide. But in September 1993, I met a minister from the Mount Zion Drama Ministry, through this I got baptized in the Holy Ghost and retraced my steps from backsliding. I was then a member of our church drama group.
Share with us your joy of salvation after you fully accepted Jesus Christ
When I fully gave my life to Jesus Christ I felt a kind of weight pulled off my head. Since then I began serving the Lord with great joy and excitement till now.
How will you describe your work with the Lord since you came to ministry?
Our work with the Lord is in phases and seasons. I started out on the knowledge without the clarity of the vision. If I were to start ministry all over, I would want to do ministry under close monitoring. I have a spiritual father who groomed me, but I withdrew from him when I started ministry because I was ashamed things were not working the way they should. The mistake was that I didn’t know that I was supposed to work under his supervision. After I had that understanding and came under close monitoring everything changed and started moving better and speedily.Share with us how you started the ministry without submitting to any mentor
I started from preaching in my father’s compound at the age of seven. My father knew about my calling, so he groomed me ahead before I answered the call. From preaching in my father’s compound, I started preaching in buses and anointing people with the oil blessed in our church until I started a small fellowship in Osun state in 1995. The Lord spoke to me on the things I would do. I wrote them down but didn’t know how to go about it. From that time there has been no looking back.
Specifically, what is the mandate of your calling by God to ministry?
The Lord spoke to me in Isaiah 42, Isaiah 49 and Acts 26. In Isaiah 42, He spoke to me on how we shall be a light unto nations. In Acts 26, He spoke to me on how we shall turn men from darkness to light; from Satan unto the living God; and shall be His witnesses. I saw transformations, and started checking the mandate of my calling. We started with Believers Law of Maturity, and that was how our Bible School started. My work specifically revolves around training and disciplining people.
What are the gifts God endowed you to run the ministry?
Many people call me a bridge-builder because I have a way of bringing together people who don’t want to talk to each other. First, I’m a peace-loving person; so I have the gift of diplomacy. Second, I have the gift of writing. Third, I have the gift of communicating in concrete and clear terms whatever God inspires in my heart.
Again, share with us some of the challenges you have faced in the ministry, and how you worked round those challenges to keep the work going till now.
We have indeed faced and overcome diverse challenges. We have experienced lots of occasions that tested our faith such that Satan presented to us alternatives. When I came to Lagos, I had nothing but seeing some other ministers with controversial ministries doing great things and you are tempted. I have a conservative spirit that calms me down in the midst of storms in addition to having a good knowledge of the scriptures. We don’t just take one aspect of the scripture and run with it. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, Paul says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” This scripture helps my focus in times of difficulties and challenges in the course of the ministry.
What is your ministry’s 2023 National Church Missions conference all about?
Church Mission Conference was borne out of a burden that the Lord laid in my heart. I have been a travelling minister for over 23 years. As I go from place to place, I have been privileged to witness the happenings in so many denominations and realized how blessed the body of Christ is. I began praying about this burden for about 12 years. Eventually, in 2013 we inaugurated what we called Council of God’s ministers. We had smaller meetings before our first ministers’ conference at state level. The vision of Church Mission Conference is to equip men for the work of the ministry, bring them to fellowship in the full stature of Christ so that we will go back, collaborate, use all the spiritual gifts and raise whole believers.
As a traveling minister, what is your perception of the Church today?
I perceive some offices or roles playing superiority or more important than others. We need to know that the Bible never talks about superiority of ministry gifts. The Bible talks about roles, and not hierarchy. To struggle to be what you are not will dwindle a great deal. For instance, God raises a prophet and he ministers to the people and the people start blessing him with gifts. And here is a faithful teacher of the word of God, but the people don’t seem to benefit from learning the word of God, so the man doesn’t get any gift from them. The man will just wake up one day, and say he is also now a prophet. Part of the emphasis of our ministry is restoration of honour to all ministry offices. The pastor office, the teacher office, the evangelist office, the prophet office and the Apostle office, deserve same and equal honour and respect.
How will you describe ministers’ response to the conference over the years?
Like every vision, at the initial stage the response was not as expected but not bad. The reluctance wasn’t about doubt, but to understand what the Lord was saying to the Church. So, I got a considerable level of support which has grown over time.
What is the exact focus of this year’s edition of the church missions conference?
We have never had this meeting this way in the last four years. Of course, it has been great. In the last four years we have been taking it from place to place. This year we are going to the heart of the matter as God leads us. For this year’s edition, we have gone to the north, east, west and south; from tribes and denominations, so that for the first time we are going to sit under the same spiritual cloud. We are going to leave the conference in the hands of the Lord to see what He will do with this meeting.
Please, tell us some of the issues that will be addressed at this year’s meeting?
We are going to look at issues affecting the body of Christ including issues like the resuscitation of independent campus fellowships in higher institutions. Now, the ministry of convenience has been carried into God’s work. We want to ask the body of Christ to start giving attention to these issues and their likes everywhere today, especially as most of the fathers in the faith in Nigeria are gradually retiring.
Is the younger generation really prepared to take over the retiring fathers?
There is a problem in raising the younger generation because they have wrong pictures of Christ, Christianity and ministry. They are flamboyant and boastful generation. Today, to get people to come to church the rightful way is difficult. And how do we take care of that? First, we must trust the Lord. Second, we must retrace our steps and change the focus of the upcoming generations to prayer, ministry of the word, fasting, moderation, selflessness and dying to the flesh
The conference is featuring one of the respected fathers in the faith; Rev. EmikoAmotsuka. What is he bringing to the table at the national Church Mission Conference?
We have to bring somebody who witnessed what the old temple looked like for us to be able to build according to pattern. He will share with us the revival in Nigeria; what went wrong and how we can bring revival back to this country. We want situation where our streams will come together as confluence and become a river, following the pattern in the scripture. When God needed a Joshua, Moses had to lay hand on him. When God needed an Elisha, Elijah had to lay hand on him. When Jesus came to do his own ministry, John the Baptist had to baptize Him.
What should the participants expect at the conference?
They should expect liberty, joy, healing and enlightenment. Most often people are ignorant. Our slogan is bridging ministries and establishing connections.
Does the conference have provisions for interested distance participants?
We stream live the conference every year. We have been able to support some participants from far places in terms of transportation and accommodation. All that the interested participants anywhere in the world need to do is to register on line at femiadebayo.com
What is the figure of the participants you are expecting at the conference?
For this year’s conference we are looking at between 300-500 participants at the meeting
What are the fees and other requirements for participation at the conference?
We are not charging any fee because we don’t want it to become a stumbling block. I feel at this pioneering stage, money issue should not come in because we may be misunderstood. God has been good to us. Lots of people have been supporting us.
Let’s have a look at your Bible school; Winning Word International Academy
We started Winning Word International Academy as an online Bible school during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. It has metamorphosed to a physical Bible school. The Bible school focuses on Bible knowledge and Bible teaching. The Bible school creates in our students the hunger and thirst for the knowledge of the word of God and equips them with the skills to also teach. We have Academy of Bible Teachers that focuses on Bible teachers; Academy of Traveling Ministers, Young and Start up Ministers Summit and our annual ministers’ retreat all inside Winning Word International Academy. However, all of them are under Femi Adebayo Global Ministries including Church Missions Conference, Winning Word International Academy, Council of Travelling Ministers and Winning Word Global Alumni community.
Having been ministry for about 28 years, why are you not yet running a church?
One, everybody has his primary calling. Pastoral calling is not my primary calling. Two, we follow the pattern that we received from the Lord. I don’t know if and when the church pattern will later come, but for now we are following God’s pattern given to us,
What are some the things that you sacrificed to answer the call to ministry?
My love for architecture that I let go when I realized what God wants to do with me. \
So, how much are you fulfilled letting go your architectural practice for ministry?
I’m fulfilled seeing the fruits of the ministry. We have impact all over the world. By the grace of God, we are getting recognition in the body of Christ. I’m fulfilled doing exactly what God wants me to do with my life and time.Rev. Femi Adebayo during the interview session with Christian Benefits’ Publisher, Dr. Wole Olarinde