Brand Church


‘Damilola Oyedele

Welcome to the world of this new generation of God-lovers

PERMIT ME to (mis)quote a famous pig: “All churches are cool, but some are cooler than others.”

It’s strange when you think of it. A little over a decade ago, the words ‘church’ and ‘cool’ might never have been used in the same sentence. If you asked some random person to describe a young Christian, she would get back to you with ‘a dull, self-righteous individual with a fishy odour”, a member of “that bunch of frustrated people.”’

Within the past few years however, devotion to church has become a trademark for this generation of Nigerians; in their 20s and 30s – even 40s. ‘God time’, also known as Sunday morning, is (mostly) permanently booked in our diaries. The biggest churches across the country have high proportions of young members, who boldly claim to be Christians, and no, they are far from frustrated.

So the question is: what novel ingredients have been injected into the religion bowl of soul, making attendance at some churches so acceptable; even fashionable?

Let us upgrade you

In a society where the Blackberry, Brazilian weaves and a Bourdillon, Ikoyi residence are clearly defined rungs on the social ladder, it’s no wonder that young people flood churches that have a look and feel that reflect good taste.

These places have become more than just churches. Their auditoriums give off a carefully designed ambience; with light and sound equipment that outclass the average Nigerian social theatres. “Too much swag”, is what one well-known TV presenter calls it. Even the style at today’s trendy church is edgier than it ever dared to be.

There’s no better day than the Lord’s Day to parade our finery, and constructing an outfit for service is not to be taken lightly – Sunday’s Best now has a literal meaning.

A recent visit to one of Lagos’ hipper churches was a revelation. Though the hall was surprisingly bare in décor, behind the podium was a fusion of steel, glass and Plaster of Paris that changed my idea of the word ‘backdrop’ for good.

Not too shabby for one of my personal favourites. Daystar Christian Church, with its Senior Pastor Sam Adeyemi is one of those you love to love; with a keen sense of practicality, messages grounded in common sense, and those perfectly sliced 5-services-per-Sunday, there is no surprise that the likes of comedian Teju Babyface and the young posse from the banks and oil firms find it a haven.

After our service, we – friends and I – loitered outside one of the church’s several entrance/exits, watching people as they hurried in for the 10:15 service. This shoe lover couldn’t help but notice a pair of sexy heels strut past. Authentic gladiators, you had to remind yourself you weren’t a guest at Bella Adenuga’s wedding.

Smiling, my friend had a quick comment “In my church you can decrease your local content and increase your global content. You can upgrade yourself.”

(Full story on Y! September 2010)

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