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Passion of Emmanuel

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IMAGE: Femi Emmanuel, Pastor of the Livingspring Chapel International, »


Unlike others, the Presiding Pastor of the Livingspring Chapel International, Femi Emmanuel, is not your regular priest.
With a simple smile that is so infectious and keeps away his inner pains, he tells me, “I am not a conventional person. I like to do my things in an unconventional manner, if only to be different. Until you’re different, your difference would never be noticed.

When I started pastoring, I never wanted to be called pastor. I told my congregation, ‘call me brother Emmanuel, because I am just like anyone of you.’ I believe it is the value your life is adding that matters. I just chose to be that simple.”

True, you can tell from the entrance of his church on Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos, where he holds regular sessions with worshipers to connect their spirit to God. The doorway into the church premises is wide open as visitors and worshipers go in unhindered. There is no one playing the role of a bouncer as common these days with ‘men of God’ in urban cities in Nigeria and in spite of the fear of insurgents that is rife in town, Livingspring Chapel International still believe so much in God to guard its doors.

As I sit down with Pastor Emmanuel whose birthday happened to be a few days ago on the 3rd day of August, everything he says reflects his desire to see a great Nigeria where injustice will no longer be heard and true leadership will be in the heart of governance.
Why is he so passionate about leadership? It’s simple and you can tell from everything about his growing up years to his varied leadership positions in Nigeria. From a humble parentage, Emmanuel rose to become the Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly as a progressive politician between 1992 and 1993.
But years before he went into politics, he had submitted to the will of God for his life. That was in 1972 when he was still in his teens and at a time he had lost his father.

“I veered into politics out of protest. I felt the church should not stay aloof. For evil to reign is for good people to do nothing. It’s not for Bishops and Pastors to go into politics, but good people. People that fear God. People that love humanity. People that have things to contribute. I wasn’t a pastor then; I was just a worker in the church. But then, I was concerned about this country. I have been there for long. I have seen the way the church prayed and fasted for those in governance. And I have seen that the more we prayed, the more they deteriorated. I have seen from my Bible that every place, the sole of our feet shall tread upon, we’ve got to be involved one way or the other. It was out of that protest and the constant question of why should we stand aloof, why shouldn’t we be involved that I joined the fray,” he says.

He adds: “Yes, there were so many counsels I received then warning me against it, telling me that ‘they would soil you, they would kill you…politics is dirty, you must not touch it with a long stick because you would be corrupted and so on’. Of course, there was corruption then, but it was not this bad. I felt a burden in my heart that I should give it a try. I am a very adventurous person. So, I ventured into it and was elected into the Oyo State House of Assembly. I became deputy speaker, but I knew from the onset that God would have me work for Him in the vineyard. I have always known that. That has always been at the back of my mind. The bible says every vision is for an appointed time. I had always known that God would have a use for me, but what I didn’t know was what exactly He would want me to do.”

A large-hearted man with a single passion to save souls for God, Emmanuel feels one thing is important about life.
“The greatest miracle on earth is salvation; that somebody has come to recon­cile with his saviour. The sick gets healed here. The barren bears children here. The poor gets lifted here. But the great­est miracle is reconciliation with one’s maker. That’s my greatest joy.

I’m basi­cally an evangelist. When you come to terms with God, you also come to terms with yourself. You’re able to repackage your life. You’re able to see life in the correct framework and then rebuild your life, your career, home and become a use­ful person to yourself and to the society. That’s what gives me the greatest joy,” he says.
His personal life is something of a mystery. He has been faced with ups and downs of life, but he remains resolute about his faith in God.

“Life has taught me to be patient. Life has taught me to be hopeful. Life has taught me to respect people, to love them. Life has taught me never to give up be­cause what it is today is not what it would be tomorrow. Life has taught me to trust God more, to love people, but never de­pend on them.

“I have experienced disappointments. I have experienced betrayal from time to time, from people I have mentored. They toughen me. They strengthen me. They don’t make me want to give up. But they make me know that this is life, cope with it and move forward. So, those are the things that have helped me in life. I have learnt to do things for myself, on my own, depending on God who has never failed to send people to my life at critical mo­ments. Up till now, nothing makes me afraid. Something just tells me, ‘push on, there’ll be a change later. Push on, God is on the way.’ And at the nick of time, a door I never thought was there would just open. Help I never thought was there would just come. Life taught me faith in God. That has been my life.”

Of course, his mother’s words too, “My mother said to me be­fore she died, ‘Femi, the higher you go, the smaller you should become. Be small in your own eyes.’ And I promised her I would keep to her advice. I am burying her in the next few days. I have vowed to heed her advice until I go to meet her. That’s one of the advices I got. She said to me, no matter how far you go, remember where you’re coming from. I came from a humble background, so I know how the people down there feel. I tell my personal assistant and ushers, don’t push anybody because pastor is coming. Who’s pastor? Is he a masquerade? Pastor is one of you. I want them closer to me. You would never see any­body push anybody for me to pass. I enjoy being in their midst. I stay in their midst. I burn out my life for them, and it gives me joy.”

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 5 Years ago

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