by Bolu Akindele
Church crawler duties landed me in Global Harvest Church, Grace Chapel, Liberty road, Ibadan. This is an arm of the Global Harvest Church headed by Pastor Victor and Jumoke Adeyemi with several branches both within and outside Nigeria.
Global Harvest Church is an absolute 21st-century Pentecostal church and there’s no argument about that as every bit of their service had a touch of contemporary Pentecostalism. The service was especially dedicated to the children in honour of their children’s day so the children particularly took charge of everything from the choir ministration to the word, drama and a few other presentations. It was such a beautiful sight.
Truth is, I almost changed my mind about attending Global Harvest when I checked them out on social media to verify the directions given to me by my friend and that branch was nowhere to be found. I also checked the pages of all other branches and was unable to get a phone number to call who could help me with directions. On getting to the church, I saw that it was a growing church and they could be excused. Nonetheless, being active and reachable via social media shouldn’t be debated over. It’s a necessity. I made it there and I was glad I did. Nevertheless, the church is made up of a beautiful environment, beautiful people and more importantly, a beautiful church altogether.
The praise and worship was so on point. This was led by a few toddlers but it was a jam anyway. They went off key a few times, but it was a beautiful song presentation all the same. We jammed to songs like Joyous Celebration even though it was a stunt the singer shouldn’t have pulled anyway. But what’s life without risks?
If you’ve been to a Nigerian church before, you know this is not one part of the service you want to miss at all. It’s always an interesting sight noticing different kinds of people display their potentials during praise and worship. That this was a “toosh” church didn’t stop that from happening. At one glance thought the auditorium, I noticed them all; the normal dancers, laughers, the partners and the stiff ones [the ones who seem to be too stiff to move their body for the Lord]. Just when I thought that was all I would see in the church and that they were all disciplined people, I looked at the row next to me and saw the “snapchatters”; two ladies who were obviously more interested in the snapchat app than in the praise and worship. They would record, filter, upload and record again. O ye snapchat ladies, I hail oo. There were no clubbers in this church by the way. Remember I said this was a 21st-century church right?
The dance troupe of the children church were excellent to a fault. As they danced to Katy Perry’s Rise, I saw the flawlessness in every single move they made. Some adult dancers wouldn’t have done it better. This oversabi lady in the row just in front of us, was probably stunned by the excellence of the dancers or in a bid to encourage the dancers, decided to obstruct our views by giving them a standing ovation. Thanks to the adults around who immediately beckoned unto her to have her seat. The dance troupe was immediately followed by the Sparklers [toddlers] presentation which highlighted the people who became champions through discovering their God-given potentials. Once again, I was encouraged to ensure that I leave my footprint on this earth as a champion because with God all things are possible. From drama presentation to memory verse, these guys just kept us all stunned!
Whoever started this best choir in the world needs to be paid handsomely anytime a church uses it because I believe it’s been overused. The anchor of the programme who of course was a young girl of about 8 years old also described their junior church mass choir as the best in the world. Their rendition of Awesome God by Deitrick Haddon made me forgive them as I was quickly reminded of my time as a child in the junior church. Okay. This isn’t about me right?
I thought I had seen it all until a young 13 year old boy was called unto the podium for the message. I was delighted. It wasn’t all dance and groove; these guys also knew the word. My mind raced quickly to the year 2030 to imagine how the church would be with these young ones as pastors. He ensured that he spiced his sermon with words like shout out, guess what, guys’ e.t.c. As I paid attention to his sermon, I noticed something that shocked me. These guys had an accent. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not bad to have an accent as long as you’re not forming it. But I couldn’t just reconcile the Ibadan factor with the accent.
Don’t blame me please. Blame my preconceived idea of what Ibadan looks like which obviously was shaped by social media. That’s not really the issue. The issue is I grew up all my life in “highbrow” Lagos and I’ve always prayed to God for an accent but like some churches say, it seems that prayer always gets into the voice mail.
The sermon by the young preacher dwelt on the steps to becoming a champion. Did I mention earlier that the theme of the children day service was “CHAMPION”? Forgive me if I didn’t. I couldn’t wait to get down to the main gist. He carefully highlighted a few things which centered on having a relationship with God as a prerequisite for being a champion.
The pastor in charge of the church, one I later knew to be Pastor Femi took to the podium to round up the sermon and preached on the things that are critical to raising children. His delivery was excellent especially as he swayed us with his touch of American accent. He touched on some major truths that I wished I could drag my popsy to come all the way down to hear.
First timer? I was actually unsure whether or not I wanted to be a part of this knowing my experience in the last church but after about two people raised their hands, I also joined. I was welcomed with several smiles and handshakes from people. I wonder why nobody hugged me though but that’s not for today.
We had a little prayer session for the kids which was done the very “toosh” and Pentecostal way. No fire, no water, no thunder, just sincere and heartfelt prayers to God. At some point, I stared into the pastor’s eye trying to have a grip of his accent. At least, if prayers didn’t work, maybe that could work. LOL.
Service came to an end, first timers were given their welcome pack, we had a short introduction session and that was when the question popped up; would you love to visit this church again? I smiled and said “Yes I will” when in actual fact, I wanted to scream “why wouldn’t I?” At least, the next time, I might just have hands laid on me to receive the anointing for an accent.
Till I attend that church and church crawler crawls into your church, better be prepared, “for the hour cometh…”