Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, readily admits he enjoys winning souls for God. “I am an incurable soul winner,” he says.
In Russia, where he was recently for the RCCG’s Festival Of Life, held periodically in countries outside Nigeria, he told the congregation: “Everywhere I go, I win souls: in the airport, I win souls; in restaurant, I win souls.”
The Festival of Life, an international version of the Holy Ghost Service, started in 1996 in the United Kingdom. It all started when during one of the Holy Ghost services in Lagos, Pastor Adeboye was given a vision to start the services in the United Kingdom. It was to serve as a forum to bring together people to pray and birth revival in the UK. The first London Holy Ghost Festival, themed: “The New Anointing,” was held at the London Arena, Docklands on April 19, 1996, with Pastor Adeboye as the sole speaker. The 2015 edition of Festival of Life drew a 45,000-strong congregation at the Excel Centre, London.
In Russia, Pastor Adeboye gave an example of his soul-saving strategy: “On one occasion, the President of my country invited me to preach at his daughter’s wedding, so I was there to preach!
“There were many VIPs there – heads-of state; diplomats, top government officials, and others. I preached Salvation at the end of which I made an altar call.
“Later someone called my son to ask: ‘What kind of pastor is your father: making altar call at a state wedding?’
“I explained to my son that the reason I accepted the invitation was because I would be able to win souls. Many of the ‘BIG’ people there don’t go to church but they were available at the state wedding to hear God’s word.”
In the Concert Hall on Tsvetnoy Blvd 11, Moscow, where Pastor Adeboye preached were some Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, who were accorded due recognition during the opening greetings. The dominant denomination in both believers and churches in the country is the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Church is organized in a hierarchical structure. Each church and its attendees constitute a parish. All parishes in a geographical region belong to an eparchy. Eparchies are governed by Bishops.
“I want to salute all the Bishops in the house,” Pastor Adeboye greeted them.
Although not much is known about the spirituality of Russian President Putin, reports say he regularly attends the most important services of the Russian Orthodox Church on the main Orthodox Christian holidays. He has a good relationship with Patriarchs of the Russian Church.
Christianity is the most widely professed religion in Russia with nearly 71 per cent of the population identified as Orthodox Christian according to World Atlas. The Muslim population is about 10 per cent, and the rest – about 15 per cent – is unaffiliated
Pastor Adeboye made a strong case for the building of more churches. “I have come to challenge you tonight,” he said. “From this day onwards, win souls, plant churches. Fill the whole of Russia with churches – so that everywhere people turn, they will hear the shout of Praise the Lord! They will hear the shout of Hallelujah! I don’t want to be old for nothing. I want to be able to go from city to city and have churches planted.”
He explained that planting churches brings greater glory. Preaching a sermon with the theme ‘Greater Glory,’ the General Overseer said salvation makes one the child of God, who has divine healing, authority over the devil, and access to the very presence of God.
“When we talk about glory; we are talking about things that will bring about the opposite of sickness, opposite of poverty, opposite of demonic possession, etc; we are talking about everything that can remove shame,” he said.
But he said although it is glorious to be a child of God, to be Born Again, it is more glorious to be a soul winner!
“There is a Greater Glory than just being a child of God; a greater glory than being saved. It is to become a soul winner!”
Adeboye listed the advantages of winning souls as follows:
• As a soul winner you become the vessel that brings salvation to others.
• When you become a soul winner, you become a giver: you become a blessing, you become a co-worker with God, a divine partner.
• You show the Almighty God that the Grace He has given you (in saving your soul) has not been in vain.
• When you become a soul winner, you have some greater blessing than being just a member of a church.
• Soul winning gives you the access to answered prayers! The secret of getting all of one’s prayers answered is soul-winning.
Continuing, Pastor Adeboye said it is glorious to be saved, it is more glorious to be a soul winner, but there is a greater glory yet and that is to plant churches.
“Don’t just win souls, arrange churches for them to worship: that is the way the fruits will abide,” he said. “Build churches near the souls that you have won; so that they can have a place to gather together and study the word of God. That is why in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, we build churches within five minutes distance of one another.”
Although that was the first time of holding the Festival of Live in Russia, the evening session followed the same pattern as those in Nigeria – altar call, which was well responded to, prophecies, testimonies and prolonged prayers.
Pastor Adeboye also blessed handkerchiefs of the members of the congregation. There have been many testimonies of how the handkerchiefs have been used to perform various miracles.
He gave an example himself: “I had traveled overseas and returned home very tired, when one of my spiritual daughters came to plead for help to save her grandmother she said was dying.
“She had a problem, went to the hospital, where they operated on her but because of old age, the wound refused to heal. The family was wealthy enough to get a special room for treatment but the odour from the wound was bad.
“The lady said she wanted the wound healed. Her granddaughter came and said: ‘I want God to heal my grandmother.’ It was okay.
“But they were several kilometres away and I was too tired to travel.
“I told her to bring a handkerchief. I prayed over it and gave her to go lay it on her grandmother.
“She went, she laid it on her and when she returned to the hospital the following day, not only was the grandmother healed, the doctors couldn’t even find the scar.”