EVANGELIST Taiwo Obasanjo is the founder of The Alpha and The Omega Family Assembly, a church that was established about a year ago. In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she talked about her decision to celebrate the first anniversary of the church, her reason for establishing a church, why crime rate persists, reasons for religious crisis in Nigeria and her prophecy for the nation.
How did you begin this journey?
I began as a believer in 1982, but the true conviction, the regeneration, the art of being born again started on October 14, 2000. I went to a Bible college in 2001 and graduated in 2008. I attended the evangelism school because I’m an evangelist by calling. When the call came, I didn’t respond because I thought being in church would be enough. Then, I went for workers’ training.
After that, I got the vision that I should start something and this evangelism, I’ve been doing it for long; going about winning souls. I thought that would be enough, but God said that I should have a church base which is where Alpha and Omega Family Assembly got its name from. The ministry is a make-up to juggle a sinner’s heart with the eternal question: Where would you spend your eternity? And that everybody would have to give answers on judgement day.
How do you see the idea of a woman establishing a church?
It is not a new thing. The first branch church of The Apostolic Faith Church in Anthony Village, Lagos was established by a woman. And there are so many others like that. So, it’s equally good because I believe I heard this call and I answered. I am already in it and I would not go back.
How would you describe the last one year of your ministry?
It’s been challenging. I am enjoying it because it’s like you’ve given birth to a child and you are nurturing the child and the child would now grow up one day to become the governor or the president. But the reality of the fact that a child is born, that this child would be great would not be seen in this one year old, but greatness is already deposited in the child. So, the greatness of the ministry is hiding in this ministry and from the name, The Alpha and The Omega. I am the first and the last. I am the beginning, the continuation and the end of everything in the universe.
So, I am happy because the ministry is not geared towards extorting people of their money or hypocrites, it’s all about selfless and sacrificial love for one another. It’s a ministry of prayer, healing and restorational reconciliation. The essence of the message, the priority is Christ, salvation, become a new person. The ministry is a transformational ministry.
How do you intend to celebrate your first anniversary?
We intend to celebrate the first anniversary by praising God, by rejoicing, by being relaxed in an informal way in the gathering and as He said, we should come before Him in prayer and thanksgiving and God loves thanksgiving than people requesting from Him. So, we are going to give Him more of our thanks and praises in worshipping mood and relax, interact with one another.
What were those things that informed your decision to work for God?
I love God. I am in love with God. Not even that I love God, I am in love with Him because there is a difference between loving God and being in love with God. I love Him so much and I fear Him. I cannot do anything without being chastised and admonished by God. Moreso, I enjoy loving and caring for people selflessly. I enjoy being friendly with people, not because of what I can get from them, but a keenly fashioned love that Christ has for us.
Why is it that as more churches spring up, the crime rate grows?
The situation lies with many people, because just like I said, religion is up for auction and commercialisation. We are now commercialising Christ, commercialising this regeneration process, the Salvationist. So, why won’t crime rate increase because what everybody cares about now is money, my pocket! Nobody cares about how the church grows. Industries are closing down and churches are taking over. It doesn’t give anybody concern. The churches are taking over warehouses. The economic base of the country is dwindling, is suffering, the nation is being pauperised while the churches are growing fatter. Money, money, money is the essence of the message now. That is why crime rate is growing up. I think we should move back to the old time religion and the old time religion is Chirst-like. Love your neighbour as yourself because the white people who brought this religion, they didn’t come here to preach prosperity, they didn’t come here to preach about money. They brought religion purely, leaving their country and the comfort of their homes to come to this dark world, the under-developed world, defying all the harsh treatments they encountered on their missions to evangelise. But now, many of us want to remain in the city to evangelise, preaching the gospel of money and filling up the churches.
Do you think there is any important aspect of the Word of God that people are yet to know or understand?
Yes, the supreme love of God and His injunction that we should love our neighbour as ourself. People think only of themselves. This is not the true purpose of our existence. We are created to love one another, the love of God for man is beyond our own understanding. Therefore, before people could know the real meaning of our existence, the feeling towards our fellow human being should be rooted in us.
What are your plans for 2011?
To move closer to God, doing what He has called me to do, winning souls for God, serving God in love and truth. Because there are many souls He has numbered for salvation and redemption. So, I want to actualise the purpose of man on earth and that is to work for God and the good service of humanity. So also, I want to love God the more in all what I do and rededicate myself to the service of mankind.
The Alpha and The Omega Family Assembly is a strong fold. It is an idea conceived by God Himself, He only knows where and when He would extend it. I only act on the directives of God and it is whatever He says that happens. The Family Assembly, as the name suggests, is in continuation and never to come to an end. So, when it is God’s time and idea, He Himself would order my steps.
What would you say about the different religious crises in Nigeria?
Our inability to love one another is the basis for the incessant religious crisis in Nigeria. People now prefer to say, ‘Do as I say, but don’t do what I do.’ But people are hypocritical figures. They do one thing in the public and do another thing in the private. As you can see in the Nigerian set up, we are now putting up Jesus for sale. There is commercialising in the gospel mandate and the gospel mandate is to go out to the world and preach the gospel. It did not say we should preach the gospel of money, but of love. So, it is the absence of love in our environment that resulted into all these forms of crisis in our society today.
What are those memorable things that have happened since you established this assembly?
I have experienced a lot of good things from God. Good directives, sharing of love and the good message of the gospel, not the gospel of money. Not to take advantage of people and take their money. Preaching pure salvation messages. But inside of the gospel message, inside of the gospel, inside of the redemption package is the prosperity. But prosperity is not the focus of the establishment of the assembly, but Christ, the giver of everything. Everything we need: money, children, husband, wife, job, good health, protection and prosperity, everything is in Christ Jesus. So, these are the sweet memories of the assembly since it was established.
What are those special gifts that you can attribute to God?
Loving and caring. I love seeing to other people’s needs, knowing that all is well with them. I love to see things in order, appreciating their beauty. I’m so passionate about caring for the less privileged and the needy, not because of any personal interest, but because it is the right thing to do as commanded by God Himself. As He said, ‘Love your neighbour as thyself.’
Do you have any prophecy for the nation, Nigeria?
I believe when we love our neighbour as ourselves, as commanded by God, Nigeria will be great, everything would come back to normal. When we obey the commandment of God, God will look down unto us with mercy and change our country.
What can you say about the forthcoming elections?
People should remember that force and struggle would not sow a good seed, rather it would sow a seed of discord. We must therefore exercise love. If a candidate from one party wins, the other party should support him to build the nation. The idea of winner takes all should be avoided. A winning party should always call the losing party to work with them. Politicians should not see themselves as enemies, rather a partner in the development of our nation. There should be no victor, no vanquished in our political circle and everybody must be allowed to have a say in the development of the nation. And above all, love should exist among us all, because without love, no nation can succeed.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, January 25, 2011