The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has counted some of the blessings of the coronavirus-induced lockdown as the church’s 2020 Annual Convention got underway.
The Convention, which is being held virtually from the Redemption Camp of the church along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, is broadcast worldwide through the church’s media and affiliate platforms.
Referring to the theme of the Convention, which was announced as: “Wonderful,” as early as during the 2019 Convention, Pastor Adeboye noted that developments since then have indicated why God chose the theme.
He said on Monday night to participants of the Convention: “I rejoice with you that in spite of every plan of the enemy, we are yet able to reach out to you, and have a very, very wonderful convention.
“Can you imagine why the Almighty God chose the theme for this Convention, even at a time when we had no idea how it is going to be?
“Now we have a Convention that is truly a world convention because all our brothers and sisters across the world are part and parcel of what is going on now.”
Adeboye said the lockdown crisis has also shown clearly to everybody that the House Fellowship is “very, very” crucial.
He said: “When we started having House Fellowships, some people didn’t take the matter serious, but now you can see what has happened.
“When the churches are locked down, nobody can lockdown the House Fellowship.
“God is always a step ahead of the enemy.”
Recalling the experience of the church in the last few months, he pointed out that the lockdown has strengthened House Fellowships.
“One of the benefits of the lockdown was that House Fellowships became more active, with people turning their homes into House Churches, opening their homes to God,” he said in the sermon transcribed by the Discovery Media Crew.
The House Fellowship Unit is an arm of RCCG.
It was carved out from the Directorate of Christian Education to operate as an independent unit in 2012, with the responsibility to effect prompt implementation of the church growth programmes of church planting and house fellowship development at the grassroots level.
This is currently being accomplished through house fellowship, soul winning, church planting and discipleship.
They also serve as worship centres as and when it becomes necessary.
Citing examples, the revered Pastor noted that many great parishes of the RCCG, including some of those abroad, started as House Fellowships (House Churches).
Adeboye recalled: “When we started the Church in London, there were only five of us and we all had big titles.
“I was the General Overseer, there was a Pastor-In-Charge, there was somebody who suddenly became Sunday School Superintendent, there was somebody who became a Choir Mistress.”
He also cited the example in the United States: “Before we started the church in America, I had talked to all those who left Nigeria for America to start a branch of RCCG, but they kept on saying they were already attending Pentecostal churches.
“One day, I visited my Cousin, James Fadel, who was not a pastor then, and told him we were starting a church in his house that day, warning that I would deal with him if he didn’t move quickly.
“To cut a long story short, that was how we started.
“We started a church in one of his rooms.
“And today, by the Grace of God, we have close to 1,000 churches in America.
“You never can tell what God will make of what we’ll start in your house.
“Don’t despise the day of small beginnings; just start.”
The General Overseer of what is now the fastest growing Pentecostal Church in the United Kingdom, also took time to explain the benefits of opening one’s house to God or having a House Church.
In one of the interesting examples from the Bible, the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites, but are unable to keep it because God was attacking them with illnesses.
They returned it to the Israelites, who decided to keep it in the house of Abinadab.
Eventually, the Israelite King David decided to take the Ark from the “house of Abinadab” to his new stronghold in Jerusalem, but after someone accidentally touches it and dies, he abandoned the plan and the Ark is kept in the house of Obed-edom.
“And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months; and the LORD blessed Obed-edom, and his entire house,” the Bible says.
That soon became the talk-of-the-town: God blessed Obed-edom so much that it could not be hidden and people envied him.
David rushed back to take the Ark to Jerusalem with fanfare.
Pastor Adeboye said God’s blessing is one of the direct benefits of opening your house to Him or having encounters with Him.
He said during His time on earth, people along routes where Jesus passed received miracles – as in the cases of the woman with the issue of blood and Blind Bartemaeus.
Similarly, he said, there is blessing when God visits a home.
The Widow at Zarephath, for example, was going to cook her last meal to eat and die during a famine.
But because her house became the dwelling place of a Prophet of God, her status switched dramatically from poverty to wealth.
Even during the famine, there was no lack in the house and there was no harm there.
The Scripture says, if you make the Lord your dwelling place, “a thousand may fall at your side, and 10,000 at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.”
“When He visits a home, as He did to Abraham, the blessing is enormous,” he said, adding: “There, all the prophecies to Abraham changed into a decree for immediate manifestation, and nine months after, they had Isaac, the promised child.”
He urged people to open house churches in their homes as those in the Bible like the houses of Priscilla and Aquila, Laodicea and Nymphas.
“I am praying that whenever God is writing the history of the church in the new generation, He will talk about The Church in Your House,” he said.
The Convention had three sessions on Monday, opening in morning with Divine Encounter, followed by Shiloh Hour in the afternoon, there were presentations by children and youths, and then an evening session of praise and worship, presentations and prayers.