An empty churchBy Ike Uchechukwu
The Church of God Mission international, CGMi in Cross River state has showered encomiums on her new spiritual head, Rev. Chris Ekpang for his historic elevation as the first indigenous leader of the church since the church came to the state over 36 years ago.
This was during a special welcome Thanksgiving/Celebration service in honor of the Bishopric Coordinator at the Churchs Bishopric headquarters in Calabar on Sunday .
In his homily entitled, Fulfilling a divine mandate, chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Rev. Lawrence Ekwok said promotion only comes from an excellence performance in discharging a previous mandate.
The cleric who took his bible text from Joshua 1:1-11 explained that Joshua was careful to understand the scope of his mandate, trusting God to help him to discharge his mandate.
He charged the new Coordinator to follow the steps of Joshua by taking charge of the responsibilities given to him and be careful to learn the secret of good success as enshrined in the scriptures.
In his remarks, chairman of the ceremony, Edward Deekae reminded the CGMi cleric of the expectations of Christians from him.
He encouraged him not to despair no matte the circumstance he may find himself in.
He said: The position of a bishop is not that of indolence but that of courage and truth. You all may agree with me that God specially choose Reverend Chris Ekpang who is a qualified lawyer to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth in the similitude of Saint Paul the Apostle.
Preach against maladministration, youth unemployment, corruption that is the palpable cause of poverty in the midst of abundant resources especially in the Niger Delta. As you take up this new role, may you show an outstanding example of a modern bishop, he said .
In his response, Rev. Ekpang was delighted at the honor accorded to him. He promised that he will not fail as the elevation is call to higher responsibility. He called on Christians to continue to look up to God for help since the government of the day has failed.
He word: I want to thank God that Im from Cross River state and more importantly, I thank God that Im a member of the Church of God Mission.
Ive served God in the church on various capacities and working behind the scene and so this is another opportunity to serve God in a high level and greater dimension so I feel that by the grace of God and by the Spirit of God doing His work through me, God will still do His wok using me as an instrument.
My ultimate goal now is to make heaven and I tell people I know that the road to heaven is not hell, so I cannot be cutting corners, applying the word of God selfishly and then planning to go to heaven. And so the same way, by the grace of God I have served God honestly and sincerely, is the way I will continue.
This is a call to higher responsibility. Whether you are a bishop or a coordinator, it means that the church of God mission in Cross River state, by the virtue of constituent of the number of churches, you are a pastor of all the pastors in all the branches.
For instance, in Cross River state we have over 20 churches, so youre a pastor to all the churches, youre a pastor to all the pastors so you do both administration of persons, administration of systems and then you minister the word of God, that is the demand of the office.
Our relationship as Christians and as pastors is vertical to God and horizontal to man and just as the chairman of the occasion said today, this is the time to look up to God.
Every Nigerians knows that right now, in terms of security and public facilities, the government has failed and has presently proven that it is completely incapacitated so we need to look up to God to help us, he said.
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