by Oyindamola Olofinlua
As I got up on Sunday and prepared for my first assignment as a Church Crawler, I wondered what the experience would have in store for me. I arrived at the Yaba Centre of Covenant Christian Centre church at 9:12am, and as I was ushered into the main auditorium by a well dressed steward, I knew my lateness meant I’d definitely missed out on something. The ministration of the senior pastor, Poju Oyemade, was already on. I quickly occupied one of the comfy seats.
He dished out the word as one who had meditated deeply on it. Rather than preach in abstract terms, he used practical examples to back up his points. The crux of the message was about faith which is backed up with definite actions. As the sound system effectively articulated his voice, Pastor Poju checked his wristwatch every now and again – ensuring that he would not overshoot his time limit.
As the sermon went on I drifted a little, looking around. (Of course, as a latecomer, my seat was at the back of the auditorium). It was very obvious that the great majority of the congregation was comprised of young people – perhaps because the pastor himself is a young man. Directly in front of me sat a young man who wore dreadlocks. Next to him was a lady who looked fresh out of senior secondary school. Certainly one would be forgiven for tagging Covenant Christian Centre as ‘the church of the future’.
From my seat, looking at Pastor Poju Oyemade face-to-face was practically impossible, so I opted for one of the strategically located flat screen televisions in the hall. I drifted once more as something else caught my attention – the mixture of countless perfume scents which hung heavy in the air. I smiled, unsure of where the distinct fragrance of my local bathing soap would fit in this marriage of scents. When I looked to my immediate left, my heart leaped – the person behind the camera was a lady! I had to stop myself from exclaiming aloud. Indeed Covenant Christian Centre is the church of the future. If the change we need in terms of gender-balance is to start at all, religious institutions should not be left out.
From watching his past televised recordings, Pastor Poju Oyemade had never appealed to me as one with a sense of humour. However he proved me wrong as he kept us all in stitches during the service, particularly as he gave announcements after the sermon.
After the pastor left the podium, it was time for offering and tithe, and I watched as many members of the congregation began to brazenly take their leave. All of sudden, the five seats before mine were vacant. Clearly the main dish had been served and these ones weren’t interested in dessert.
I waited till the end, and as I walked out of the auditorium, a well dressed young man approached me. He pleaded with me to dish out some financial blessing to add to the spiritual blessing which he had just received. Don’t ask what my response was.