By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Diocese of Nike in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion has taken its development outreach to rural communities in Enugu state, with its decision to fix solar panels for rural electrification and also unveil two hospitals in the state.
According to a statement signed by the Diocesan, The Rt. Rev. (Dr) Christian Onyeka Onyia, the church, as the greatest movement in human history, is meant to be perpetuated, rather than to be maintained as a monument.
He said as Christians, “God has not called us to be caretakers of a monument. The church is called to genuinely reach out to the unreached, the lost people in the community. Christ called us to reach all peoples, not just those that look like us”.
Bishop Onyia added that the Diocese of Nike, Anglican Communion in Enugu State, will hold the 2nd session of the 5th Synod with the theme, “Church a Movement, not a Monument” from November 1 – 4, 2020 at St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Owo, Enugu State.
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According to him, the decision to take the synod to a rural church in Owo is in furtherance of the ministry of the Great Commission and in recognition of the Ministry of Jesus Christ, which was not confined to a church building or a corner.
“We are not only taking the message of salvation to the people; but, we are also taking medical outreach, food, and education to the community and other communities around the synod venue. As part of the synod programmes, the Diocese shall dedicate St. Luke’s the Physician Hospital, Enugu and Justice Dame Ijeoma Onwuamaegbu Hospital and Maternity, Neke Uno in Enugu State.
“In this Diocese, we focus more on rural communities as our Diocese is 30% urban and 70% rural and rural mission is our target. We have been planting churches and schools in rural areas to bring evangelism and quality education to the people. In addition, due to lack of basic infrastructure in these areas, the Diocese has started fixing solar panel electricity in rural communities in the state in order to win souls for Christ and also to encourage pastors posted to rural areas.
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“The greatest danger in Christianity is ‘Churchianity’. Jesus started a Movement not a Christian club, religious system, or spiritual fraternity. Unfortunately, too many churches and her leaders are hopelessly trapped within their own monuments, beneath pastors more committed to building an empire rather than a Body. Jesus never told His disciples, ‘Go, therefore, and build ecclesiastical structures called churches.’ ”
He added: “Jesus’ vision for His followers is that they propagate a movement of multiplication. The church is supposed to be a transformative and restorative movement that cares for the spiritual, physical, emotional, health, and general well-being of the people. Painfully, Churches are giving up the movement for the monuments and allowed programmes and methods to replace a powerful move of God.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? -1 Corinthians 3:16. God may visit these brick and mortar temples but he certainly doesn’t live in them. Unfortunately, the spirit of the church is gradually changing from hunger to self-satisfaction, from eagerness to routine, from daring new steps of faith to maintaining the status quo, from outward to ingrown. The church lives only when it is a movement, not a monument. In fact, if the trend toward mediocrity is not arrested, the church will decline and become a mausoleum, a place of death.
“The church as an institution may have enough social momentum and financial resources to keep churning out, building new structures that would eventually be occupied by nobody. Currently, there is a drastic drop in attendance at these buildings (monuments) in Europe and the Americas and the trend is catching up in Africa. Most of the church buildings have been converted to stores, cinemas, mosques, etc as more persons have become less interested in Christianity.
“According to the Pews Research Center, church attendance in the UK, Europe, and America is 14% against over 91% who are baptized Christians. In fact, the statistics of those who still identify themselves as Christians in the UK are about 71%. The Church must rethink the mission strategy to win souls for God”, he submitted.