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MISSIONS by Late Very Rev. M.O Soyannwo I welcome you all to Ijebu Grammar School where the Lord met me and saved me from sin in 1958 through a missionary teacher, who was dedicated to teach English, but beyond teaching English, he established the scripture Union. May the Lord continue to bless the ministry of scripture union and other Missions which are being used to save souls and establish them in the Lord. Amen. The central point of our theme is MISSIONS and they must be related to the realities of our country and time. Permit me to quote from a letter I got recently from a friend who is a senior lecturer in the University of Ibadan. ‘Day in day out, life speeds by restlessly, unlimitedly, as if we can have another opportunity to relive. Well, whatever we can make out of a life full of petrol shortages, unreliable electricity supply, worthless University education, jobless M.Sc & Ph.D youths, deplorable hospitals, failed and stressed banks, shameless bribery and corruption at 5 – 10km road blocks, mission 2010, families and friends separated by dead or unavailable telephones, increasing demands with poor salaries etc; with multiplying Christian ministries and fellowships competing for prosperity – hungry members, let us use these and others as timely reasons and opportunities to move closer in our hearts to our God and to love the Lord and the brethren more fervently. For indeed, the time is short, very short.’ Japhet. May I also thank God for the establishment of the church of Nigeria Missionary Society CNMS – I also quote from the chairman of the Central Committee of CNMS, Prof. Jerry Gana in a paper ‘fresh emphasis on Mission and evangelism’. “CHURCH OF NIGERIA MISSIONARY SOCIETY It was to further mobilize the church for Mission and to consolidate our gains in the area of evangelism that the General Synod approved the establishment of the CHURCH OF NIGERIA MISSIONARY SOCIETY. After this approval, the general council of CNMS was inaugurated during a colourful and meaningful service on 15th September, 1996 at the cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos. The Central MISSION OF CNMS is to actively promote and facilitate the preaching of the Good News that JESUS is the Saviour, by selecting, training, commissioning and sending forth the missionaries to yet – to – be evangelized parts of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world. CNMS will liaise closely and co- operates fully with other Christian mission agencies in the selection and training of missionaries. To achieve its central Mission, CNMS has set the following objectives, namely, namely to: (a) Select, train, commission and send – forth missionaries to yet – to – be evangelised parts of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world. (b) Co – ordinates missionary efforts of the church and organise evangelistic outreaches; (c) Mobilize, train and empower the laity to effectively participate in evangelism and missions;

(d) Promote and encourage consistent and sustained prayer support for evangelism and mission; (e) Create wide spread awareness on mission and evangelism through radio and television programmes, films, the print media and relevant publications; (f) Mobilize support and raise funds for missions and evangelism; (g) Carry out appropriate research to reveal the nature, composition and geographical extent of unreached communities, so as to facilitate the work of mission and evangelism.” WHAT IS MISSION? One could think of mission as a rescue operation. An attempt to correct a wrong situation. You remember Idi Amin of Uganda hi – jacking a plane some years ago in which some Israelis were held hostage and a successful mission of some Israelis rescue team surprised the world by a mission to rescue the hostages. The Bible refers to Missionaries as those sent out to spread the Gospel. The world situation is pathetic, economically, socially and spiritually. But the situation in Nigeria is probably one of the worst in the universe; despite the abundant provision of God for us in this country. When I graduated in 1966; jobs were waiting for me and soon after picking one, I could buy a brand new car; maintain it from salary, which was adequate, when Nigeria was just exploring the wealth of crude oil. But today, with the abundance the abundance of crude oil and all other provisions of God, there are several jobless Ph.D holders. What had happened? We may not find the correct answer to that question, but the Bible called us to have MISSION into Nigeria and beyond. By economics analysis, Nigeria has become one of the poorest nations of the world, even though we have enough resources to be an economic world power broker; Nigeria has not only been broken into pieces but most Nigerians, perhaps 95% Nigerians have joined the class of the POOR, including university professors. We have poor educational system; poor medical services, poor electrical power generation and distribution; poor transport system on terrible roads; poor security on anywhere despite several road blocks now used to collect ‘toll’ for keeping police and army on the roads; poor telecommunication facilities; distressed banks; impossible task to build houses; POOR salaries from which some irresponsible Nigerians can still advocate increase in petroleum products prices, according to world market; they forget that a daily paid unskilled labourer in U.S.A or Europe earns better salary than the highest Nigeria civil servant!! On Gl.1But we have a negative consolidation; Nigeria is one of the RICHEST countries in CRIME!! There is urgent need for MISSIONS and the time is NOW. These rescues operations must not be left for government to tackle, but the church must return to the main task God calls us to perform as Jesus Christ Himself declared in Luke 4: 18 & 19. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to PREACH the GOSPEL to the POOR. He has sent ME to HEAL the BROKEN HEARTED, to preach DELIVERANCE to the CAPTIVES and RECOVERY of sight to the BLIND, to acceptable year of the LORD.” Jesus had been given this passage to read in the synagogue at Nazareth. He told them that the prophesy of Isaiah was fulfilled that time. The Anglican Church in Nigeria is declared the ‘fastest Anglican Province in the world’ by Archbishop of Canterbury. True as that may be, the Anglican

Church in Nigeria has the greatest sets of MISSIONS to face in fulfilment of the call of the LORD, for Nigeria and beyond. Lambeth 88 had a lot of far reaching resolutions that has blessed the whole world, and I want to refer to resolution 45: MISSION AND MINISTRY OF THE WHOLE CHURCH. THIS CONFERENCE: (h) Acknowledging that God, through the Holy Spirit is bringing about a resolution in terms of the total ministry of all the baptised, thus enriching the church and making Christ known to men and women as the hope of the world. (ii) Urge each bishop and the Diocese to take the necessary steps to provide opportunities, training and support to ensure that this shared style of ministry becomes a reality.” What I intend to do is to propose types of MISSIONS urgently necessary to the Anglican Communion and briefly explain what can be done. Jesus Mission was primarily to the POOR, but in the light of modern thinking of ‘Prosperity gospel’ we have marginalized the poor out of the programme. In a small booklet ‘Transforming Communities’ David S. Lim of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, says “Modern thinking which neglects faith in God or separates economics from practice of faith ( or from almost all aspects of life, except for the privatized practice of religion) must therefore be condemned as a form of apostasy from biblical faith. Worse may be the sin of idolatry, the worship of Mammon (Mammon literary means ‘riches’ or ‘wealth’) … All people, rich or poor need to realise that true fulfilment does not consist in their accumulation of possessions (Luke 12: 15), but rather in their proper relationship with the creator.” OPEN AREAS OF MISSIONS The CNMS and the whole Anglican Communion should now work out some strategies of reaching the unreached within and without Anglican Communion. When the CMS brought Christianity to Nigeria over 150 years ago, their targets were defined with social concern for Education, health, business and good administration. We can not do less for Nigeria today. But in our approach, there must be deliberate, organised and targeted areas of operation – for missions.

SCHOOLS MISSION: if all Anglican teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary educational systems will be trained to be ‘MISSIONARIES’ in their primary assignments as teacher, there will be a big change for better in our educational setting. Apart from these teachers, the school administration needs to be mission field too. Such staffs members see beyond pure administrative assignment, but how the individual members of staff will be save!! They in turn will do extra work for the academic development of the children. An Anglican Mission Awareness for Teacher’s Conference be organised. Ideally schools should be handed back to the missions by government, our educational systems had destroyed and a rescue operation is needed now. University Mission: Looking back to my university days, I can not say I was proud to declare myself as an Anglican. I was a leader in the Christian Union, I was involved in all university

evangelical activities but I was a ‘secret’ Anglican. Today, most of the new evangelical groups or ministries are made up of ‘Anglicans by birth or background. It was my experience in Nairobi Kenya that convinced me that I have an evangelical heritage in the Anglican Communion that I should be proud be proud of and committed towards its growth. About seventy individual evangelical Nigeria Christians had been invited to the Pan African Christian Leadership Assembly (PACLA) held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976. It was there the Rev. John Sott invited all Anglican to a meeting to introduce EPAC to us; Mama EFAC Mrs Erine was there. It was there in Nairobi we discovered that more than 60% of the delegates were Anglicans of some sort. I was not committed to the Anglican Communion; but there I discovered most leaders of evangelical ministries in Nigeria, were Anglicans. I was from then convinced the Lord was doing a lot within the Anglican Communion and that was where he needs me. That was what led me into Emmanuel College of Theology for training. But today we have many students in our universities whose background are Anglicans but who are not proud to be one. Most of them need to be encouraged to remain proud as Anglicans who are saved and willing to serve the Lord within the Anglican Communion. The CNMS or every Diocese should organise systems of achieving this Mission to all our universities in such a way that we can retain them in the Anglican Communion. (b) HEALTH MISSION: similar to school missions, we need to train Christians who will see their assignment in the Hospital or rural clinic as missionary services. There may be need to organise training for missionary Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and Para – medical workers. The aim is to make them conscious of the missionary aspects of their profession. The experience of Baptist Hospital, Ogbomoso when it was taken over by the government is a lesson for us. It was ruined within a shirt time. There should be more Christian hospitals established by the Anglican Communion. Along medical healing must be divine healing which probably accounts for a majority of sicknesses caused by Satan and his angels. © SOCIAL CONCERN MISSION: This is a wide area of missionary out – reach. In some of the cases, they are difficult to target. Some people live sub – human live. How can the gospel of Jesus Christ reach such people? How will they be convinced against their traditional system of leaving? In other areas of Social Concern, the task is not as difficult, but they are real need of the church to rescue the oppressed in this country at the grass root. How is our offertory account used? (d) FOOD MISSION: Farmers in Nigeria are probably the most neglected and oppressed people in Nigeria. They are unable to help themselves and the good programme of Government would either not reach them or get to them late. We thank God for the CRUDAN (Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria) are doing a good job in this area of Social Concern. Some Anglican Dioceses especially in the North belong to

CRUDAN and have started Christian Farmers Association; there is need for us in the south to have special mission to farmers and rural people. In other denominations there are commissions to help farmers get out of poverty e.g. POD (People Oriented Development) of ECWA or the Roman Catholic’s (Justice, Development and Peace Commission). Funding these social concerned projects may be heavy financially but the reward is great spiritually. Other areas of Social Concern include Leprosarium: Handicapped Children, Destitute, Indigent Students, Jobless People and old peoples’ home can be organised into missions to help the needy. (e) MISSION TO THE BROKEN HEARTED: The early apostles were concerned with the care of the widows, orphans and socially handicapped people – should we do anything less? Mama EFAC, Mrs. Erine, on her 70th Birthday had a challenge to the most of us clergy who only show concern for a young widow soon after the death of her husband and after the burial ceremonies, forget her problems. We all need to deliberately do what Acts 6: 1 & 2 reminds us. (f) ANTI – CORRUPTION MISSION: There are other social crises that need missionary approach. Corruption exists in high places, police, customs and even the church. Doesn’t the church need to pray about establishing Christian Special constables. This was what happened in India some years ago, that led to the sanitation of India government. A volunteer S.P.C. would spend time on the road to prevent anybody giving bribe to police – But would this work in Nigeria? Will the Nigeria Police co – operate? How about the corrupt ‘Peoples’ warden’ in our church? Or worst still the colluding church worker? All areas of corruption need the missionary approach for the gospel of Jesus Christ to help us ‘Remove the areas of darkness to lead all of us to the light of the Gospel.
(g) Mission to the CAPTIVES: Many young people today have been held captives in DRUGS, CULTS, and IMMORALITY. It is know that many young girls in the universities sell themselves for money from all sorts of people, including trailer drivers and as a result many of them have tested positive with H.I.V. while have died trying to commit criminal abortion. (h) Prison Mission: Nigerian prisons are largely a centre for developing more criminals, instead of reforming those who get inside. Food and basic necessities of life, like food, toilet soap for bathing, provided by the government, never reach the prisoners. A lot of people have got into our prison as a result of injustice or waiting trial for many months. Such have ended up becoming more hardened criminals, or introduced into life of crime. All our Dioceses must start Prison Ministries in cooperation with others already doing a good job evangelising the in – mates. (i) Justice Mission: It is unfortunates that injustice continue to be covered up in our nations, when the poor is involved. How can the church defend the POOR who are being denied their fundamental human rights? Nehemiah 5: 1 – 13 note verse 9.

(j) Mission to the HANDICAPPED: The blind and the other handicapped people need our support and help. There are schools for the blind, deaf and dumb as well as other handicapped people. Which of them is being sponsored by the Anglican Communion? MISSION FOR ALL MISSIONS I have dealt fairly extensively on what can be regarded as “Social Mission” I now wants to conclude with the climax of all missions. “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Which I termed SALVATION to all. There is no doubt that the decade of Evangelism world wide has done a lot in waking us from slumber. There is yet a lot of special unreached areas in the Anglican Communion that must be addressed NOW. (a) CHILDREN (b) TOP CLASS and (c) MIDDLE - AGE EXECUTIVES. MISSION TO CHILDREN: This is the most critical and important mission we as a communion have not paid spiritual attention to. I thanked God that most Leaders of the Children Evangelism Ministry (CEM) are encouragement, while others are suspected of planning to start a church outside Anglican Church. The important Mission to children is to ensure that they come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour at an early age through properly prepared, church organised, children evangelical ministry. Our services are more of ‘keep them quiet ‘thing.’ There is need for the establishment of Children Bible Clubs – these must be home based; children house churches organised for children of the neighbourhood. MISSION TO THE TOP CLASS OF OUR COMMUNITY: Most Obas, Emirs, Obis, top executive of our banks and ministries are unreached by us as Anglicans. They are sincerely yearning to learn the scriptures but like the Ethiopian Eunuch, they are in their ‘Chariots’ or palaces, struggling with reading the Bible without understanding it. The testimony of the Registrar of Ijebu Diocese Otunba Tunji Ogunyemi shows that many of us are contented to preach against secret cults on our pulpits but are afraid to confront some of such leaders in a person – to – person bible based discussion; explaining to them what the bible says. We thank God that he is still an Anglican today and has openly renounced membership of all secret cults to which he belonged. But there are many others who like him wanting to know more and have not been attended to by us, who have joined other organisations or denominations should not the Anglican Communion think of organised system of establishing ‘home Bible studies groups’ for these ‘Top Class’ People? Many of them only come to our church because they were born there; some are saved while some are saved while many are still in the wilderness ‘of ignorance.’ Who will go for us? © MISSION TO THE MIDDLE CLASS: most members of our church who are between the ages of 25 – 45 are outside the Anglican COMMUNION. There may not be any statistical backing for these statements; but if you interview members of all the newly found denominations chapels of various names, they are largely Anglicans of this age bracket. We need to study why? And find solution to their drift. Many of others have talents which can be very useful to the Anglican Communion, but they are completely outside the Church because of what are unwholesome in the church. Whatever this may be, should we not have a special mission to reach these groups of people for Christ? In conclusion all these specially highlighted groups: children, top class and middle age executives are best met outside church setting in relaxed natural atmosphere; either in home churches or specially organised programmes. Examples abound e.g. the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International

or the Evangelism Explosion Ministry; or the Global Mission Ministry or the Great Commission Movement of Nigeria or Children Evangelism Ministry; all these interdenominational organisations are waiting to be invited to train our members on how best to us their proven power system of evangelism and follow – up in the Anglican Communion. LITERATURE MISSION: We thank God for vision of the Rev. John Scott whose writing mission has influenced and established some of us. The establishment of EFAC has part of her missions in writing balanced Christian teachings on various topics especially such new teachings that are at variance with the whole scriptures. One of such is the extreme of modern day ‘Prosperity Gospel’ A research group in U.S.A. have published books to show that the background to the teaching is occultic and Christian deviation. One of their founders who genuinely read the whole scripture while in prison for what he did not do, have written a book: ‘I was wrong.’(Jim Baker) in which he showed that not all Christians will be materially rich but all Christians should be prosperous. Interpreting prosperity as ‘Contentment with whatever talent, time or treasure God allows us to own. Those of us talented to write must prayerfully put pen – to – paper in addressing issues of our day, such that we will not only ‘Preach the acceptable year of the Lord’; but write on matters that establish Christians in the faith.