HOLY GHOST CONGRESS, LAGOS, NIGERIA
DECEMBER 10-15, 2012
INTRODUCTION TO RCCG
The Newsweek International magazine of January, 2009, named Pastor E. A. Adeboye of Nigeria as one of the 50 most influential people in the world and noted:
"His aspirations are outsize. He wants to save souls, and he wants to do so by planting churches the way Starbucks used to build coffee shops everywhere!"
Pastor Adeboye has been the General Overseer (G.O.) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) since 1981. He has seen RCCG grow from a small group of churches to a million members in 160 countries. His grand goal is to have a church member in every family on the face of the Earth. Their strategy is a lifestyle of prayer, holiness and church planting. In developing countries they aim to plant churches within five minutes walking distance of each other and in developed countries within five minutes driving distance.
Across Canada there are already 99 churches, or parishes, the most recent one being inaugurated in Chilliwack, BC, on December 23rd, 2012. The RCCG is said to be one of the fastest growing churches in the world and they are passionate about being found faithful when the Lord returns. When asked how the development had taken place, Pastor Adeboye could only say that when the Lord is in something then anything is possible.
AN EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST PRAYER MEETING
On Sunday evening, December 9th, I arrived in Lagos having traveled for 24 hours from Vancouver via the snow of Frankfurt. The church shuttle took us to Redemption Camp, the property owned by RCCG on the outskirts of Lagos, and we booked into their modern hotel called Redemption Resort. Four of us arrived as International Guests from Canada and we were blessed with individual suites that had air conditioning. It was hot and very humid. My room was above the kitchen and I was impressed by the dozen young kitchen staff who started work at 5:00am with a wonderful time of syncopated clapping and singing their prayers.
After breakfast on Monday morning we went for a long walk to view the Camp and to discover the very large auditorium we had heard about. It is an open sided structure about 2 km by 1km and when walking through it I could hardly believe my eyes. It is a fact that on the first Friday of each month when the 'Holy Ghost Service' is held, a million intercessors come to pray through the night. We were told to expect millions to be in attendance toward the end of our week long 'Holy Ghost Congress', and sure enough the attendance built day by day to overflowing.
Redemption Camp is like a small town with many roads and buildings and constant traffic. But it is a Kingdom town where the secular and the profane are banished. The roads have biblical or descriptive names like 'Winners Road' , 'Diligence Road', 'Grace Street', 'Breakthrough Road' etc and the stores are called 'Adam & Eve Business Center' and 'Shallom Digital' etc. The culture is very positive and instead of advertising there are large signs and posters with scriptures or moral sayings. It makes a pleasant change to normal life in my city.
There were optional seminars during the day but our main focus were the evening meetings that started at 6:00pm with the Pastors meeting for an hour of prayer with Pastor Adeboye. In the context of worship and adoration of the Lord Jesus, he gave us prayer topics for us to pray through individually. Prior to 1981, he was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Lagos, and we noticed that he always started the services right on time. At 7:00 pm we would then go into the main auditorium and sit in a vast space behind the pulpit overlooking a sea of worshipers. A 3000 member choir and gifted soloists and musicians would lead us in an hour of worship and praise that was like the sound of many waters. The African style was dominant with incredible drumming and improvisation that might go on for 20 minutes. I could lose myself in the rhythm as we all came into alignment, a strident agreement to the positive confession.
After Greetings and Announcements there would be another time of Thanksgiving and Prayer for special items. In the course of the week we prayed for the Education Sector, Singles, Widows, the Apparent Barren, Youth, the Family, etc. A guest speaker would give a teaching for 30 minutes followed by more prayers, more worship with more testimony and an offering. Pastor Adeboye ('Daddy GO') would take the final 2 hours with teaching, salvation appeal and more prayer to close between 1:00 - 3:00am. His preaching is gentle but firm, logical but anointed and the response from millions of people is overwhelming.
I became aware of a few observations. As from the first day I noticed that the scale of their vision was off the charts. The size and scope of the Camp was huge but heir vision is for a large city not a small town! The current auditorium will soon be just used for the children's work and a new auditorium that is 2km by 3 km will be built! But in contrast to this magnitude I noticed the humility of the leadership and the willing service of the many volunteers. They are a people on a mission but they give the glory to God. And then I perceived that prayer was not just added onto the meetings as there was serious prayer before, during and at the end of the services. It was really all about prayer and the ministry of the Word with worship - the marks of a truly Apostolic work. So when at 1:00 am we are given 10 prayer points to take to the Lord, the next hour must have been one of the world's largest ever prayer meetings as millions cried out to the Lord with a constant roar.
The theme of the Congress was 'Signs & Wonders' and every night there was time for personal ministry by pastors for healing and deliverance and miracles. Pastor Adeboye made it clear that it was not he but the Lord who did miracles. His own ministry was to increase our faith in Jesus because Jesus said 'Do you believe I am able to do this?', & 'According to your faith be it done to you' Matthew 9:28-29. The faith level seemed to be very high as every word of knowledge and scripture declaration was met by a thunderous response of praise.
On the Friday night, with 5-7 million people present (?), the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, arrived with 25 provincial governors. He said that we had come here to pray for the nation and to confess our sins. He said that there were challenges in the nation but nothing was above the power of God. He said that we would dedicate ourselves to do what was right, we will overcome the attacks of the Devil and pull down the walls of Jericho and have the victory! In response Pastor Adeboye prayed for the President to have wisdom from Heaven, understanding, victories and courage to restore Nigeria to its former glories. He declared that before we enter the New Year the tide will have turned for Nigeria - 'Somebody shout ....Hallelujah!'
Pastor Adeboye told how he had recently been on a prayer walk and the Lord told him to throw his stick on the ground and pick it up again just as Moses had been instructed. Moses rod became the rod of God that caused wonders (Exodus 4). So early on Saturday morning at about 2:30 am he held up the rod over the people for 10 minutes while everybody prayed for: A way where there is no way; water from the Rock - incredible provision; enemies silenced permanently etc. At 3pm we were invited to the Hospitality Room where the most wonderful team of lady volunteers served us refreshments in air conditioned luxury. It was timely to put the light out at 4:30 am to the first stirrings of the kitchen team. Truly the Lord is in this place!
D G Carson