Presiding Pastor of the First Love Assembly Lagos, Pastor Simeon Afolabi has identified lack of structure and mentorship as major problems in the Pentecostal circle in Nigeria.
Afolabi who addressed Pastors at a Ministers Conference held at The Jevinik Place, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos at the weekend said, his ministry is considering putting together a mentoring program and a Bible school soon.
“In the course of past interaction we muted the idea of putting together of a mentoring program and a Bible school that is still going to be done,” he said, identifying some of the problems in the Pentecostal circle in Nigeria, the cleric said, “Some of the problem, crisis in ministry is because there is actually no mentorship program and training. We want to be able to address that, we want to begin to feature hopefully from next year and have best practices in ministry. We want to begin to see the best standard and what is the best way to practice ministry.”
The Ministers’ Conference and Restoration Seminar at the weekend titled Rest from the Lord, attracted participating ministers of the gospel from various ministries in Lagos and beyond.
With headquarters of the First Love Assembly in Port Harcourt, Afolabi two years ago moved to Lagos to establish the Lagos parish which is currently meeting needs in the body of Christ raising disciples for Jesus Christ.
Ministering at the conference organised by Revival Promotion Partners (RPP); a body of partners of his ministry, Afolabi identified four areas where rest is essential. According to him there is rest for the soul which begins when an individual makes peace with his creator.
Secondly he stated that “Apart from rest for the soul, we can talk about rest for the body or physical rest.” Next he mentioned family rest which involves peaceful coexistence with one’s spouse and acceptable behavior from the children.
Fourthly he mentioned financial rest, the absence of which can cause chaos in other areas.
Bemoaning further the lack of structure in the Pentecostal circle in Nigeria which opens the door for unhealthy and unbiblical practices, Afolabi said, “Part of our problem in the Pentecostal ministry is the absence of unifying and acceptable structure, acceptable structure.” “We find a situation where everyone one is doing what he pleases and there is no one to call people to order.”
He continued that, “In many of our ministries today, there is no office or body higher than that of the Pastor. When the Pastor dies the ministry is over, shut down and it doesn’t have to close down.”
Sighting the example of the orthodox Churches, Afolabi noted that the availability of structure in the mainline Churches is responsible for stability over the centuries which the Pentecostals should adopt.
“If a Baptist Pastor has a problem with his wife, can the Church close down? Can an Anglican Bishop have a problem with his wife and the Parish closes? He asked. According to him “It is not possible. Structure has come with an immunity that safeguards a ministry. We don’t have that in the Pentecostal where if anything goes wrong at home, it has direct impact on the ministry, it shouldn’t be.”
He however advised ministers of the gospel in the Pentecostal circle to create structure and such body that can make leaders accountable. “There should be an office that can call the Pastor to order. There should be people who can tell the Pastor to go on vacation, we are not there yet,” he said.
*Story by Dayo Emmanuel