The Jesus House Int’l Christian Centre, Lagos, recently celebrated its 2022 annual convention, which featured a relaunch of its care ministry to the less privileged. Rev. David Olanrewaju Adelaja, the church’s senior pastor and an erstwhile member of the board of directors of Foursquare Gospel Church, explains some developments in Foursquare before he left the church to found the Jesus House Int’l Christian Centre, and also his recent note of caution to Nigerian Christians on the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s controversial Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket for the 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election in the below interview with Christian Benefits. Excerpts.
Congratulations on the just concluded 2022 annual convention of the Jesus House Int’l Christian Centre, Lagos. Please, can we meet you sir?
Thank you, Bro. Olarinde. I am Rev. David Olanrewaju Adelaja, Senior pastor, The Jesus House Int’l Christian Centre, Lagos.
Please, share with us how the Jesus House Int;l Christian Centre started 16 years ago (2006)
The vision of the Jesus House Int’l Christian Centre was actually delayed until August 2006 when it was commissioned. From 1996/97 while I was a minister in Foursquare Gospel Church, the Lord started ministering to me about overseeing a work for Him, which required me living Foursquare. In 1997, after his ministration at our local assembly, Foursquare Ijora, I informed Rev. John Adesanya, who I regard as my father in the Lord, of my plan to leave Foursquare by 1998. My plan was to attend the 1998 national convention of the church as my last convention in the church. But a sudden development delayed my exit from Foursquare in 1998.
Please tell us that sudden development that delayed your leaving the church in 1998
That year the National Ministers Council (NMC) of the church held a meeting where nominees for election for ministers’ representative on the board of directors of the church would take place. And I happened to be among the nominees for the election. I was shocked and spiritually embarrassed at my nomination for the election because I had made up my mind that convention would be my last in the church. Actually I had never wanted to attend that convention but for my wife who insisted I should in order to give moral support to the chairman of the convention, Rev. C.C Aaron who was our neighbour.
Rev. David & Pastor Mrs. Adelaja, Host Pastors, The Jesus House Int’l Christian Centre, Lagos
After your nomination for the election what later transpired at the election proper?
What later transpired at the election was that when the nominees were announced at the NMC meeting one after the other, each of them had just one person seconded their nomination. But when it was my turn almost the entire people seconded my nomination in chorus. Thereafter, the voting was conducted and before the results were announced, some younger ministers told me that I didn’t know how long they had waited for that day. I told them to wait until the results were announced. When the results were announced, I was declared the winner of the election.Thereafter, we went for the general meeting for the delegates voting, and again I won that election. That was how I became a member of the board of directors of Foursquare Gospel Church that year 1998.
How long did you serve on the board before your exit from the church?
I served my first term of three years on the board under Rev. Olu Faronmbi, the then general overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church. I was on the board when Rev. Wilson Badejo; now of blessed memory, succeeded him. After my first term of three years I qualified for a second term of another three years but Rev. Badejo didn’t want me to continue. But for Rev. Akindele and some other ministers. Rev. Akindele raised a point of order and asked, does Rev. David Adelaja not qualify for a second term? Rev. Badejo appointed Rev. Isaac; a younger minister to conduct that election but Rev. Isaac didn’t know what to say to it. Rev. Badejo then took the microphone and said I’m qualified for a second term. Rev. Akindele then said if Rev. Adelaja is qualified for a second term on the board; then I nominate him. That was how I was nominated and voted for a second term on the board. You see, because I had already made up my mind to move on (exit the church) I was not bothered by whatever reason Rev. Badejo didn’t want me to continue on the board. For me serving a second term of another three years only delayed my decision to move on. If I didn’t continue on the board it wouldn’t have bothered me at all. I saw it played out that Rev. Badejo didn’t want me to continue on the board, but as God would have it I won the election for a second term on the board, and with all humility I served my second term out on the Foursquare’s board of directors.
But why didn’t the now late Rev. Wilson Badejo want you to serve a second term?
Late Rev. Wilson Badejo, a former General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church
The question might be what did Rev. Badejo have against me? I will say nothing really! Before I came on the board under Rev. Faronmbi whenever I made contributions at national meetings; I won’t lie against the dead, Rev. Badejo would commend me and say if we have two or three of you in Foursquare things would change. When I joined the board under Rev. Faronmbi, and he succeeded him as the general overseer it was the same wisdom I offered the church. But I refused to be tied to the apron’s string of anybody. I didn’t come to church to play politics or dance to the tune of anybody. I form my opinions. I take my decisions, even if I am in the minority. That was what happened in my second term. I didn’t even finish my three years. I had about two months left to complete my second term on the board. I resigned when I couldn’t take any longer what was going on the board. I resigned to make a statement because if I continue they would think I was flowing with everybody.
As a top notch member in Foursquare, how easy or tough was your decision to leave the well-established church to start another church from the scratch?
It tells you a part of who I am. I am of the stock of people that don’t take the praise of men. I prefer what God is saying about me and saying to me. If I was to go by the praise of men I will remain in Foursquare. I had a lot of entreaties to stay back but the Lord has chosen for me the unknown with the instruction to start from the scratch. And what that meant was that I was not permitted to move members from the church I was pastoring or any church at all. I came to start (The Jesus House) from the scratch and mostly with secondary school students. I thank God for my first child and daughter. She brought many of the people that started with us. At the 16th convention of the church we wanted to ordain her pastor but she refused that she would prefer deaconess because her husband was to be ordained deacon. She does not want to be above her husband in the church’s leadership hierarchy.
How will you describe the journey or the stride of the church these 16 years?
The journey has been slow but we are not complaining because we are growing.
Specifically, what is God’s mandate to the church?
God’s mandate to this commission is to raise a set of people that will fear Him and to impact people’s lives; raising them from the dust and repositioning them in top places among the nobles and the greats. Many churches today take but do not give because they have loads of salaries to pay and administrative expenses to foot. We also fell into that trap sometime ago. The care ministry that we relaunched at our just concluded 16th convention started sometime ago. When we were doing it the church growth was over 300 regular members; and that was even when the church was around five years old. Unfortunately, we stopped it due to lack of funds to sustain it. The more people the bigger the budget. The aspect of our care ministry we sustain is giving scholarship to indigent but brilliant students, which my office (company) is handling on behalf of the church. After paying salaries and picking other administrative costs the church had barely little left to sustain the care ministry. About four years ago we suspended full-time and salaried ministers and workers. And this resulted in some of our ministers leaving the church. We might go back to salaried ministers in future. What pay now is allowances to our instrumentalists.
Does the slow pace of the church these past 16 years in any way bother you?
From the beginning of my ministerial career till now I do not earn salary from church. I give my offerings and pay my tithes. When I pastored Foursquare Ijora, a cheque was written in my name for sitting allowance but I rejected it. I told them I didn’t want it. Many people think I’m buoyant but I have needs too. The principle of our operation is we do not tell people about our needs. Instead, we tell God and He has never disappointed in meeting our needs. God called me so I understand His plan for the church. In these 16 years we are not bribing or enticing people to come to our church. We trust the Lord and He is blessing the people in our church. (To be concluded)