Nigeria needs people of sincere integrity as Leaders -Apostle Igene
Apostle Courage Igene is the Senior Pastor of All Nations Churches; an arm of Joshua generation Ministries. The renowned minister of God with apostolic gifts of healing and deliverance, and an author of several books, shares his experience in ministry and other issues in the below interview Christian Benefits’ Emma Clem.
How was your growing up like?
My growing up in Benin City, Nigeria was fine. I was raised at the Assemblies of God Church where I learnt almost everything I know today. I schooled in Benin. I organized lots of prayer crusades under the Concerned Christians Prayer Ministry.
What informed your relocation to the U.S; and are your dreams still intact?
My relocation to the U.S has helped me to further my education, and also exposed me to an advanced society. And this has afforded me to acquire knowledge on lots of issues. I’m still at the centre of God’s will for my life, and that is all that matters.
Tell us what makes the difference between Nigeria and the U.S in lifestyle?
The difference is very clear. One major difference is that basic social amenities are provided uninterrupted in the United States unlike what obtains in Nigeria.
What was your childhood ambition, and have you been able to achieve that?
As a child, I initially wanted to be a police officer. I was inspired by my uncle who was then an Assistant Inspector General of Police. I later changed my mind to join politics to make the much needed changes in my state and in the nation generally. I was involved in political activism. That is still in my blood. I have a passion to see positive changes in the Nigeria’s political climate. We need men of integrity to rise to positions of power and change the current culture of looting and pillaging of our national resources. Christian ministry and Politics are my strongest passions. If I had to do something else fully outside of ministry, it would be partisan politics.
What were your former vocations, or career before you came into ministry?
I had worked at a corporate office as an administrative assistant. I had worked in warehouses. I also did some menial jobs like plumbing, cleaning, chauffeuring and lots more before I came into ministry.
Share with us your salvation story about how you received Jesus Christ?
I received Christ after listened to a life changing message at my local church of The Assemblies of God Church in Benin City. Nigeria.
\How did you eventually receive God’s call into ministry?
I have always been involved in church activities since I was 12 years old. That was the only passion that consumed me at childhood till God spoke to me to raise an End time army for him, which is the vision and mission statement of our ministry. My calling by God was confirmed by many pastors and leaders. All Nations Churches is 15 years old. We are proud of what God has done for us thus far.
Apart from God’s work, what else do you do?
The work of God is what I do fully. I can hardly meet up with all the different aspects and areas of the ministry. They all fully require my attention completely.
If the work of God fails you, what will you?
God’s work cannot fail! If it fails, the owner of the work will fix and restore it.
Have you ever thought of backsliding since you accepted Jesus Christ?
No! I have never thought of backsliding. If I backslide to whom shall I go? Only Jesus has the Word of life. However, I have thought of giving up the ministry.
With what obtains in the U.S will you say churches are meeting expectations?
It depends on the size of each church. Many small and growing churches hardly meet the expectations they desire. They literally have to trust God for provisions.
What do you consider as the major problems confronting Church today?
The major problems confronting the Church today include lack of quality trainings for the leaders / the workers, doctrinal differences, and disunity among the saints.
How does the Church impact the political/developmental structure in the U.S?
The Church is the reason we currently have President Donald Trump at the White House today. He got 90% of the Church vote.
Despite several calling on Christians to go into partisan politics, there is still low participation of Christians in politics. What could be responsible for this?
The main reasons are lack of enthusiasm and inadequate knowledge of the political world. Many Christians believe that it is not worth going into partisan politics. But with proper education and awareness their passive postures on politics can change.
Do you support clerics going into partisan politics?
Yes, if they have the passion and selfless love for the people.
Following the trend of attacks on churches in recent past, some Christians have observed that there seems to be more attacks on orthodox churches and clergy men. Do you agree with this observation and what could be the reason?
There have been heavy attacks on churches because there is a deep hatred by many against the Body of Christ. They rejoice and glory at any ugly news or scandal about the Church. It started from Bible days till now. You hardly hear of the goods the Church is doing. The bloggers never post such. But let there be any bad reports about the Church it will make headlines because bad news is a good business.
How can the incessant attacks on churches be stopped?
The first thing to consider is why are there attacks? The answer is ignorance. People criticize what they don’t understand and they destroy what they don’t understand. The danger in doing this is putting oneself in direct confrontation against the owner of the Church which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Check everyone who fought the Church from Bible days till now they didn’t end well. This is because you are attacking someone’s wife. The Church is the Bride of Christ; not perfect but Jesus is perfecting us in his righteousness. The wife you married has issues, but you didn’t throw her away. You still love her. How much more Jesus! Some have made it their “calling” to attack the Church everyday on social media. It’s the cheapest way to get followers online. In the Bible When Saul was attacking the Church, he believed he was doing the will of God until God knocked him off his high horse of pride and gave him temporary blindness which led to his conversion. We need to pray for the Church and for our men and women of God; and not blasting them openly on social media like many Christians do. They enjoy insulting fathers of the faith. It’s wrong. If everyone is wrong, you can start your own church and teach us how it should be done.
Have you ever regretted been a pastor?
I won’t use the word “regret” but I can say I have been greatly and deeply disappointed in what I have seen and experienced as a pastor.
What has life taught you over the years in ministry?
Life has taught me that everything and everyone is not as they first appear. The snake you don’t deal with in Genesis will become a dragon in Revelation.
How do you manage or handle your criticism?
It depends on the criticism. There are two kinds of criticism, constructive and destructive. If someone is giving me a constructive criticism, I will listen and take it. I have leaders and people everywhere who give me ideas on how to do some things differently. I always appreciate them for calling it to my attention and expressing their concerns and suggestions. I have changed many things because someone suggested except it is something I heard clearly from God and something I know is in line with God’s word. But destructive criticism sees nothing good in you. Its intent is to destroy you, demean your influence and attack your credibility. Every time they speak or write it’s always an attack; nothing constructive about it. If you notice, Jesus never spent time with his critics. Destructive criticism is a major form of distraction the enemy uses to derail you on your assignment. Many times, I ignore the destructive critics. It will be foolish of me to respond to every dog that barks otherwise I won’t get to my destination.
What have been your challenges in ministry?
My challenges are trusting the wrong people. Disappointment in those you did the most for, attack you viciously to see you are destroyed at all cost. Not having all the resources needed to accomplish certain projects as much as I desire. Some of which include building rehabilitation centers for those desperately in need, homes for the elderly, Orphans, Widows, and much more.
How do you relax out of your busy schedule?
I stop everything briefly and watch an action movie. And lay down to rest a little.
What is your ugliest moment in ministry?
My ugliest moment is so sensitive. It brings back bad and painful memories that I rather leave it in God’s hands.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is what is ravaging the world now. How is the response inn the U.S community where you live?
The response is great because it is an unseen enemy. The nation has been on Lockdown for some months but recently began to open up.
What is the response of the church leaders and the church community in the state you are in the U.S to the pandemic?
Many of the church leaders shut down their churches and switched to online. They are beginning to open up again. Prayers have been going up against the evil plague.
From what you read and insight, what would you say is the cause of the virus?
The cause of the virus was from an experiment that went out of control in a Chinese laboratory. Spiritually, It was manipulated by political leaders to achieve an anti Christ agenda.
Do you see President Trump winning the heart of the people in next election giving the way he has been handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S?
It will depend on the state of the nation by the election time. Everything is subject to change. People that sing “Hosanna” today can turn around tomorrow to shout “crucify him.” So, it depends.