Baptist Seminary begins Ministers’ Conference Sept 11, as president speaks on future of Christianity in Nigeria
The Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), Ogbomoso will begin its 2023 annual Ministers’ Conference on Monday, September 11.
To be held at the alumni Multipurpose Hall, the spiritual programme, with various activities lined up including hymn singing, instrumentals, messages, Bible teachings, group discussions, intercessory prayers and football match, will end on Thursday, September 14.
This was disclosed to newsmen Tuesday during a press conference at the Council Room, Hybrid Library Extension of the institution hosted by its new President, Professor S.Ola Ayankeye, who is taking over from Professor Emiola Nihinlola who rounded off his ten years tenure on June 30.
This is as Prof Ayankeye asserted that irrespective of what is happening in the United Kingdom where the flame of Christianity fervency is reportedly dimming with fear the religion might go into extinct there, Christianity, he however notes, would never go into extinct in Nigeria assuring that rather its flame would flare.
The theme for the conference according to him is “Vessel for honour,” which he pointed out is relevant in view of the reckless live led by some gospel ministers which he stressed negates their calling of transforming souls.
Ayankeye stated many would turn to Christ and live according to the precepts of the saviour if the purveyors of the gospel are “vessels for honour” assuring this is what this year’s ministers’ conference aims to achieve.
“The theme ‘Vessel for Honour’ is relevant to the current situation in Nigeria where some gospel ministers live recklessly. While the gospel ministers are to lead people to be God-fearing, it is the responsibility of all and sundry to participate in the transformation of the society. This will be possible and faster if the gospel which is God’s power unto salvation is handled by vessels well molded.”
Among the programme personnel he listed are the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention who is also Visitor to the Seminary, Rev’d Dr. Israel Adalani Akanji; Rev’d Dr. V.S.A. Dada and himself, adding, “We look forward to the active participation of all categories of gospel ministers, church pastors, specialized ministers (music, education, children, youth), evangelists, missionaries etc.”
He informed drivers who come with pastors would also be “equipped for better performance.” Elucidating on this later during questions and answers session with pressmen it was disclosed it was their usual practice to invite Federal Road Safety Corps officers “to train and enlighten the drivers on safety tips and some things that can make them not to violate road safety rules and also how they can drive safely on our roads because we believe if we begin the change little little way the number of people who will drive safely will increase.”
With about 50 drivers envisaged will attend, “if we inculcate them with safety tips we will be increasing the numbers of safe drivers. We also want them to partake in spiritual instructions so there will be a forum for them to make them better in road use,” it was added.
The annual conference which is not limited to Baptist ministers alone started in 1960 with three basic aims which are spiritual renewal, continuing education programme and fellowship/denominational promotion.
On the survival of Christianity in Nigeria, Prof Ayankeye also emphasized he did not foresee the flame of Christianity being extinguished in Nigeria expressing assurance the Nigerian church is in the process of taking the gospel “back to where it came.”
“I do not foresee the extinction of the church in Nigeria but I foresee expansion of the church in Nigeria if ministers are well molded. If ministers are well molded the church will grow. So, I am not unaware we have challenges in which case people see some people called pastors who by their practice cannot be described as pastors; there are those who lead churches or who are general overseers who don’t have theological training, they did not receive preparation for the ministry, those are the ones described as making their throat their god.
“If that continues that can be a challenge to the growth of the church in Nigeria. But as much as we, others understand the implication of reckless life by ministers and tackling such headlong like we are doing through ministers’ conference, we know that the church has a great hope to survive in Nigeria.
“We are aware of what is taking place in some other places, and luckily the Nigerian church is the one that has been given the responsibility now to take the gospel back to where it came from. And we have taken up that responsibility. And that is what is contributing to molding the ministers in a way that we will be part of the effort towards taking the gospel back to where it came because of the reckless life that they are living over there too and we believe what they are saying that the church appears to be going extinct, but for sure if it is the church the Bible says the gate of hell will not overcome it.”
At the press conference with the new president are Rev’d Dr Yeside Odiase (Deputy President Administration), Rev’d Dr. Simon Isola (Deputy President Academic), Rev’d Dr Ayo Obiremi (Deputy President Advancement), Rev’d Dr Dele Oluwole (Registrar), Pastor Christopher Ishola (Bursar) and Rev’d Adekola Alade (PRO).