Human Resource Management specialist, Founder of M360*, and newly ordained pastor of The Finishing Church, Abuja, Frederick Adetiba, spoke to Elevated Sight Magazine on his ordination, the Church of Christ, leadership, the growing number of Churches in Nigeria, among other topics.
Fred as he is called by close associates was ordained on June 4th in Abuja, his immediate family and friends were present to show support.
Simply put, he has been called to prepare the saints for the return of The King. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Have you always known you would be a full-time pastor?
First, let’s be on the same page with the expression, ‘full-time Pastor’. Full-time Pastoring for me does not mean I don’t work. It simply means someone else does not control my time. The ministry comes first. It’s the primary job, while every other thing would be secondary. I am not against Pastors who don’t do any other job outside the ministry, but I prefer to work to support my family and the people around me.
Now to your question, yes I had always known about my call to ministry. At the time though, I didn’t know how it would play out. I became active in youth ministry the moment I gave my life to Christ. My assignment has been unfolding since then, leading to this point. It burden for this phase only became intense about two years ago.
I struggled with God for a while, because I felt I was already in ministry
What triggered this knowledge?
Looking back now, I can’t say there was any trigger really. When I was in the world, I was deeply in the world as a teenager. After I gave my life to Christ, I knew I had to go all the way with Him. I have never been a halfhearted person. Whatever I am committed to, it’s usually all the way. I got set on this journey the moment I gave my life to Christ, which has led me here. In the first quarter of 2015, the burden for shepherding became very strong.
I struggled with God for a while, because I felt I was already in ministry. I was one of the assistants to my Pastor; I was also involved in mentoring and all that. When the burden for this new phase became intense, I tried to negotiate with God to keep it that way, but He insisted. I just wanted to continue to play the supporting role I was playing. Like Gideon I asked for confirmations. I was going to even ask God for His ID Card (laughs). I gave in at the end of the day. I had to give in because many years ago God told me that my fulfillment in life can only be found in doing His will. It was at this point that I communicated it to my Pastor and sought for his guidance. That process culminated in the ordination and commissioning of 4th of June.
What are your marching orders/ what does your heart burn for?
My marching order is to raise and equip a company of people to become like Christ in order to bring all of God’s purpose for their lives, families, country (Nigeria), church and the earth to the finish. I like to summarize it as preparing the saints for the return of the King. I want to see a people who are on a journey to spiritual maturity and Christlikeness. I want a situation where the Church in Nigeria becomes a place to find people of integrity, competence and excellence; people who would carry the nature of Jesus Christ into their workplace for the advancement of the purposes of God in the earth.
I am also looking at these people turning Nigeria around. You cannot have this kind of people in positions of authority at whatever level and Nigeria would remain like this. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice…” I am looking forward to news of people being persecuted for insisting on righteousness, justice, integrity and excellence. It is not acceptable for us to have this number of Christians in Nigeria and the nation remains in shambles – corruption in high and low places. My heart burns to see Christians accurately representing Christ in different sectors of our polity including politics.
How are you handling the transition from the corporate world to being a man of the cloth?
Hmmm! Like I said earlier, I am not completely leaving the corporate world. I am going to continue to work, particularly helping businesses grow. I love to see people, businesses and organizations make progress. On the other hand, even though I have been in service/leadership positions in the church for a while now, directly leading and shepherding a kingdom community is new and feels surreal. It feels really overwhelming sometimes. The good thing here is that I am not doing this with my own strength and capacity. I am totally dependent on Him who sent me.
Any skeptics/supporters yet? How are you responding to both sets?
Ha ha ha! Yes o! They are usually not in short supply; both the silent and the outspoken. I recently discovered that a number of people close to me were actually expecting this. It did not come to them as a surprise. Someone even said he would have questioned God if it had not come to this. I also believe that there are those who are sitting back with folded arms, watching where all this would lead to. It is not uncommon to find people who don’t believe in you and in what God has called you to do. I have come across a number of people like that. I believe strongly that your personal conviction of the dealings of God in your life releases you from the opinion of the masses. Ultimately, it’s God we would all answer to. However, I am seeing more supporters than skeptics. The support and encouragement from family and close friends/associates has been overwhelming.
The Church has become a big business and a platform to prey on the people
Does Philippians. 1:18 justify the explosion of Churches, especially those with obvious shaky theological foundations?
NOT AT ALL. If you put that scripture in proper context you would discover that the people Paul was referring to then were those who felt they too could preach like Paul. It was more like doing it out of envy or strife. Even though that should not be encouraged, what we have today is completely over the top. The Church has become a big business and a platform to prey on the people. People now set up churches because they think they can profit from it and not necessarily because they were called or had passion for the unsaved. Some of the crazy and unsavoury stories we hear from and about the church today are caused by these desperate individuals, who are ridiculing the name of Jesus Christ. For those people, judgment is coming if they don’t repent.
What is the place of the Church in Nigerian and world politics?
The role of the Church in global politics has over the years taken different dimensions. It has however decreased over the years, particularly in the West. Since the 16th century, when the move to separate the church from the state started, the role of the Church in politics has consistently dwindled. However, I will still maintain that the role of the Church in Nigeria and global politics is in two-fold. One is to produce outstanding, competent, and sincere people to run the affairs of nations. I believe when the world needs people of competence, integrity and courage, they should come to the church. The other aspect is speaking truth to power, particular in repressive, oppressive and corrupt regimes. As much as we have the obligation to ensure believers are responsible citizens of their respective countries, I believe we also have a duty to protect them from corrupt and oppressive political leaders and systems.
There appears to be a dicey relationship between Christianity and the media, how do we attain a balance?
Christianity is what it is, and the media is what it is. I don’t think there’s any special relationship here that is out of the normal. If you are referring to the spread of negative stories about Christians and the church in the media, then that’s not special, unusual or unexpected. The media is composed of channels to inform the public of happenings in the country.
We can start talking about a special relationship when there is a deliberate and calculated attack against Christians or Christianity. That is when we can be talking about the relationship between the Christianity and the media being dicey. The media is also a tool to spread the word of God. What should be getting out more ought to be manifestations of the life of Christ in our country and not scandals that ridicule the name and person of Jesus Christ. The spate of unsavoury news about Christians and Christianity in the Nigerian media for instance is entirely our undoing. The Church is under the radar of the media as much as other institutions of the society.
I did not have my father around in my formative years
Who keeps you accountable as a pastor?
I find this a very important question. By way of background, I did not have my father around in my formative years. So I ended up without an authority figure in my life. After I gave my life to Christ in my late teens, I started noticing the negative impact of not having an authority figure in my life. It was then I began to look out for mentors to guide me. Since then I had always craved authority figures around me to be accountable to and to keep me in check. Now as a Pastor, I am primarily and ultimately accountable to God as do all of us. Now that I have been ordained and commissioned, I am still accountable to my Pastor, Engr Brendy Mba and the accountability structure in Congress WBN.
Although I am the Set Man of the kingdom community that has just been birthed, I remain accountable to Engr Mba, who is the coordinator of Congress WBN activities here in Abuja. You can find out more about Congress WBN via the website . From my experience of not having an accountability structure in my growing-up years and the negative effects I noticed in my life, I don’t want to come to a place where I would not be accountable to anyone; not even as a Set Man/Pastor. There is safety in being accountable.
Having been so close to the media for this long, where will you say Christians should draw the line when it comes to calling out leaders, spiritual and political?
Hmmmmm. For me the words are moderation, civility, respect, boldness and truth. I am one of those who believe people should speak up. People should be able to ask questions, even if you have to correct them or adjust their thinking, let them rather criticize in the corners, particularly at the Kingdom Community level.
At the level of the larger society, I don’t think it should be about calling out leaders, as much as it is about calling out bad conduct. As much as I encourage people to speak up, I do not encourage throwing civility and respect out of the window, whether it’s a Church leader or a political leader. I advise more caution when addressing issues that have to do with Church leaders. Our speaking truth to authority must not be intended to destroy but to redeem because the heart of God is essentially redemptive. We must always guard our hearts to ensure we do not sin in our efforts to engage with people in authority.
Which ministers have had the greatest influence in your life? What church were you ordained?
I have a few of them. One is Dr Noel Woodroffe. He is the President of Congress WBN. He is one of the few men God used to restore the apostolic ministry and activate the current apostolic reformation in the earth. It is within the context of this move of God that my calling is expressed.
The second person is Prof Victor Dugga. He is presently the Dean of Faculty of Arts Federal University, Lafia, and an Associate Pastor at Enoch Centre in Lafia. He was an Associate Pastor at the Parliament Church in Jos during my undergraduate studies. He was and still is one of my mentors. He taught me service, sacrifice, discipline and building godly family life. I learnt all this and much more not from his teachings but from his life. The third is Dr Emmanuel Kanos. He is the Set Man of the Parliament, Jos. He’s a fiery teacher of the word. I learnt a lot of discipline, consistency and fundamentals of the faith and ministry from him.
My wife suspects I must have picked the tough part of me from him. The fourth and by no means the least is Engr Brendy Mba. He is the Senior Pastor of New Tribes Assembly, Abuja. He is an astute teacher of the word and a wise master builder. From his life and ministry, I have learnt tenacity, consistency, endurance and practical ways to build a community that transforms lives. He conducted my ordination alongside Prof Dugga, at New Tribes Assembly here in Abuja.
What’s the name of your church, and has it been launched?
The name of the church was unveiled last week at our first Sunday meeting with the Alpha Team. The Alpha Team is made up of outstanding and terrific individuals who have come to pledge their support for the work. The name is THE FINISHING CHURCH. The vision as recalled earlier is the manifestation of a company (people) trained and equipped to become like Christ in order to bring all of God’s purposes to the finish in the earth.
I like to summarize it as preparing the saints for the return of the King. We have started meeting on Sundays to unpack the vision, pray and plan for our inaugural service that will by the grace of God, come up on the 30th of July 2017.
Our emphases would be on balanced life, strong families, Christlikeness (perfection), preparing for the return of the King and fulfilling divine purpose among other things. You are welcome to join us.