When Pastor Bakare stepped to the pulpit for the morning service, he began by reading a text message from one of the men in the congregation. The text was a request for an appointment to discuss some issues and questions the parishioner had. The pastor then went on to say that he hadn’t answered the message because he was so busy that he hadn’t found a slot in his calendar to accommodate the appointment. Dr. Bakare then went on to read a follow-up text that had come from the same gentleman just minutes before the service had begun, “Don’t worry about trying to arrange an appointment time for me. Dr. Shirley’s lesson in the Bible class this morning answered all my questions!”
I had traveled to the African nation of Nigeria to do conferences for Every Home for Christ in three different regions of the country – training their workers in the use of the Be Fruitful and Multiply materials, a very successful discipleship program that Every Home for Christ has implemented around the world in the past few years. Although one of the gentlemen in the Nigerian Every Home for Christ leadership team and I have been friends for many years, he was surprised to discover when he joined the ministry’s staff that I was actually a member of the team who originally developed the Be Fruitful and Multiply program. A total of two hundred twenty-one pastors and other key church leaders from one hundred twenty-seven denominations attended the trainings. Of that group, all but three made firm commitments to start a discipleship class immediately using the new curriculum. The remaining three said that they needed to make further consultations with the rest of their church or denominational leadership before they could totally commit. One pastor commented, “This is really awesome. I am really excited how this program will change the entire landscape of Christendom in Nigeria.”
In fact, during the hands-on practice sessions, it was almost impossible to get the participants to come back to order because they were all so engaged in going through the lessons that they didn’t want to stop their discussion groups in order to come back to the general assembly. Like the lesson that prompted the text message in the church where I ministered on the Sunday after the conferences, I believe that the trainings were God’s exact word for the people of Nigeria in His perfect timing for them.
President Buhari was in the US to visit with President Obama and the US President said, “Nigeria is, obviously, one of the most important countries in the world.”