Refocusing Pastoral Ministry for growth in Northern Nigeria

Posted on Mai 29 2023

Refocusing Pastoral Ministry for growth in Northern Nigeria


By Ezinwa Alozie,
Communication Director, Northern Nigeria Union Conference

In Northern Nigeria, over 380 Adventist Pastors, Pioneers and their spouses gathered at Jengre, Plateau State for a ministerial retreat with the theme "Called to serve”.
From 12th to 16th April 2023, participants drawn from the three local conferences in Northern Nigeria Union Conference had amazing interactions and thought-provoking lectures and devotional messages, which re-echoed the uniqueness of their call as gospel ministers.
The ministerial retreat provided an avenue to speak clearly and openly to the ministers and their wives to hold-fast the fundamentals of their lifetime call for salvation of souls.
Pastor Yohanna Harry, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Northern Nigeria Union Conference said: “The pastoral family retreat is intentionally planned to enable us check ourselves and re-examine our calling as pastors and pastors’ wives”.
"We are living by our calling; therefore we need some overhauling in our daily pastoral activities. We are gathered here in the name of Jesus, He will surely equip us for this noble job. No going back, forward we move until we see King Jesus face to face”, Pastor Harry added.
Pastor (Dr.) Iliya Kwarbai, Ministerial Secretary, Northern Nigeria Union Conference, under whose department the retreat was organized, said it was necessary at this age of ethical uncertainty to re-examine and refocus the ministers of the everlasting gospel and their families for effective pastoral ministry in Northern Nigeria.
Topical issues discussed at the ministerial summit included; pastors' spiritual formation, clergy sexual abuse; Biblical responsibilities of wives and husbands in marriage; the pastor and multi-church district.
Other topics include, living before God: the pastor and ethics; the pastor and soul winning; understanding your community, the pastor and little things, the 21st century pastor and Church growth as well as planning for retirement.
In his presentation entitled: The Challenges of Pastoral Family in 21st Century, retired Pastor Haruna Bindas, former Vice President of the West-Central Africa Division of the church noted the challenges of pastoral family in 21st century cut across, dealing with criticism, time management, physical and mental issues, emotional fatigue, communication failure; the fix-it- syndrome, financial struggles, unfilled expectations, changing in family values, infidelity and promiscuity, child rearing and training; rising case of divorce among clergy, infiltration of foreign culture/urbanization and frequent transfer among others.
Pastor Bindas, however, appealed that ministers and their spouses must be intentional in addressing issues capable of truncating their physical, mental and spiritual life, which by extension could impede the progress of the gospel in Northern Nigeria.
Speaking directly to the pastors’ wives, Mrs. Nimonte Dorcas Donkor, Shepherdess Coordinator, West-Central Africa Division, maintained that: “No woman serving next to a minister is called to serve the church neglecting her husband and their children. As a wife and mother, your primary ministry is at home, where you seek to help and bless your husband, and nurture your children”.  
Mrs. Donkor noted that children of the pastoral family are always under scrutiny not only of the congregation but also the community and the neighborhood. They are always on display because of the public role their parents play.
Pastoral ministry, which involves caring for God’s people and walking alongside them in their Christian formation, is a team ministry requiring collective efforts for sustainability and empirical growth.
Other speakers including Pastor Theodore Dickson, Head, Department of Religious Studies, Babcock University, underscored the need for gospel ministers and their wives to learn from one another, walk closely with the Lord and do ministry individually and together; live life together and honour God's calling upon their life together.
Such virtues according to them were critical to achieving sustainable growth in pastoral ministry in Northern Nigeria.
The speakers respectively, affirmed that a gospel minister occupies a unique role among all vocations, stressing that no vocation is as ethically demanding as the pastoral ministry. Hence a gospel minister is expected to model morality.
What more can be said? “He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”, Micah 6:8.

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