Pastor Sam Agbamuche is the Senior Pastor of Gospel Mission International. In this interview with our Asaba correspondent, Ochei Matthew, he speaks on the proliferation of churches and other issues in Nigeria. Except
Sir, can we meet you formally?
I am Pastor Sam Agbamuche, the senior pastor, the Gospel Mission International with headquarters here in Asaba, Delta State. We also have branches across the nation. We also have branches opening up outside the country Johannesburg in South Africa and a new one in United States of America.
Since you take over the leadership of the church how has it been?
God is actually at the helm of the leadership of the church so I wouldn’t say I took over the leadership. But since the transition process where I, by the grace of God, stepped in as the General Overseer, it been all grace, full of God graces and it is all about God grace. It been wonderful.
Does it mean that you prepared early for this position?
I won’t say I was prepared but I just knew I have the call of God and also knew that I am going to do the work of God. I actually prepared myself according to the word of God. The Bible said you must study and show yourself approved to God. If a man want to be the best of Honour let him purge himself. The preparations for every vessel to work for God, the spiritual preparation of the word God designed for everyone called to do the work of God was the same preparation I have. Actually, my being the General Overseer was not as a result of a special preparation. Before then, I was heading the Shekanah Worthy Christian International Centre, an Inter-Denominational Organization with camp professionals across the nation and also a Ministerial Training Programme where we have been able to raised not less than 500 Ministers of God that are within the country and abroad. I have been in that position before I became the President of GMS International and I am still in that position and as well as the General Overseer of the Church.
What is the mission of the church?
The church assignment is to reveal Christ as the new creation. Our ministry is all about new creation reality. We are concerned with people knowing who they are, what they are and what they can do in Christ Jesus. We are concerned with the identity, the ability of the man that is born again. We are concerned in making the people God like and fearless because we understand that the decay in our society is as a result of fear. Corruption is as a result of fear. Every problem man faces is as a result of fear. Sin is as a result of fear and if fear is not conquered then there will be problem with mankind. How mankind can live and work in righteousness is what we are out to achieve.
What do you have to say about the proliferation of churches in Nigeria?
I am glad that the gospel is everywhere. Would I been more happy if there were more beer houses? Would l been more happy if there were more brothels or chalets than the house of God? So I am glad that this gospel that started with 12 unknown people more than 2000 years ago have many persons in different areas preaching it. I want to see positive side of proliferation of churches and is actually what I am seeing.
Sir, can you tell us about your programmes for the year?
Yes, we have lots of programmes coming up. First, the Overcomer’s Day is coming up very soon. It is a day we celebrate the mandates of our ministry, where we celebrate our messages. Our ministry is characterised with miracles, signs and wonders. So there will be lots of miracles. Beyond that day also, we are looking up to October 6th to 11th when we will be having our international faith conference.
Looking at the growth of the churches and the increasing rates of crimes in our society today, many people have criticised the spiritual leaders for not doing enough in checkmating the tide, what is your reaction to this?
Those that blames the spiritual leaders are ignorant; they are naive. If you understand or be in a position to criticise the system of the church in the society then take the church away and see what the crime will be. If you are counting say 50 per cent rates of crime in a month with the presence of the church, take the church away and the rates will increase to 500 per day. Let us not only see the negative side the fact that there are one or two righteous persons in the society we should give God thanks for the body of Christ. If there are no churches the situation could have been worst. Check the countries that have fewer churches than Nigeria. Yes, in Nigeria we are complaining but there are countries that have worst statistics of crime rates than Nigeria, then look at the numbers of churches in those countries. So we should thank God that the church is the salt that actually seasons the nation and reducing the crime rates.
Pastor, let’s look at the gospel of prosperity, how do you react to this?
The issue we have is the understanding or misunderstanding of the word “prosperity.” The word “prosperity” simply means to be alright, to be whole, to be complete. The problem we have is misinterpretation. What is the good news the people want to hear is how to be alright. God’s greatest wish for man is for everyone to prosper. If it is misinterpreted, that is where we have an issues but if it is preached as prosperity that is a blessing.
Pastoral work and politicking is there any relationship? Is it alright for a pastor to go into politics?
Yes, every man gives accounts to God that calls him or her. So the pastor that goea into politics, if he is called to join politics, if he has the passion for politics, the pastoral calling has to do with the revelations of the grace of God that he has. So I will not be in a position to criticise pastors in politics. If it doesn’t disturb his work as a pastor why won’t he? So a pastor can be in politics.
Nigeria as a nation in spite of its enormous resources yet things are not moving well. Where did we got it wrong, pastor?
I won’t say we are getting it wrong. The problem is that Nigeria is impatient. How old is Nigeria’s democracy? How old is Nigeria as a nation? We are making comparison with democracies that are over 100 years old. That is the problem we have. We are not patient, we are not patriotic, we don’t praise what we have. To me everything is going well in Nigeria, especially looking at the time we got this democracy. I think we have one of the most progressive democracies in Africa. We should see the positive side of democracy in Nigeria. You don’t give birth to a child and it starts running. Our democracy is still young; give it time and everyone of us will celebrate it.
Sir, what is your advice to Nigerians?
We have to believe in our government, support it and we have to understand that the government is the people and people are the government. We should not be too critical with our government and that is how we can move the nation forward.
Let look at your church. Do you have a goal to attain in five to 10 years?
You said five to ten years? We should talk about what we have to do as a church. There is something God has sent us to do in the world. God sent us as a global ministry so we don’t want to say five to ten years. It is not my ambition, it is not my goal, what we are concerned about is that let this ministry be a transformation that electrifies Christ in the heart of every man and woman that encounters us. That is our goal; that is our mission. That is what we were sent to do.
There is this burning issue, the issue of gay, what do you have to say?
(Laughter) It is not a burning issue. It could have been a burning issue if noting has been done on it. Our Constitution rules it off so it is not an issue in Nigeria. For some countries it could be an issue to them. I love Nigeria’s stance on it. I believe also that that is how God wants it to be. God made a man for a woman and also a woman for a man, so that is my stance.
What do you think about miracles and magic?
I love miracles and I have seen signs and wonders beyond human imagination. I have seen God doing different kinds of things. I believe if there is no supernatural power, then there is no God. Practical proof of divine call is miracle. If a man sends you on an errand the sign of man will be there and if God sends one, signs of God will be there. As a matter of fact miracle is a practical proof of mandates of God in you.
Sir, it appears that pastoral work is not something one will just wake and start, what really qualifies one to be a pastor?
Thank you! What qualifies one is God because in pastoring we don’t say you must go through this school or that. It is God calling and that is what qualifies one. It is not about your education or prayer life it is the calling of God. That call must be in you.