Reverend James Ademuyiwa is the Senior Pastor of In His Presence Christ Tabernacle Church, which has branches both in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. A trained Estate Surveyor and Valuer, he speaks with OLAIDE SOKOYA on the challenges of combining his profession and ministerial work. Excerpts:
I am an IT professional. I obtained my postgraduate certificate in Oxford University in United Kingdom. I went further to train as an estate surveyor and valuer, then joined the industry as a professional 15 years ago. I am currently a member of the National Association of Estate Valuers in the United Kingdom.
As an estate surveyor, how do you combine surveying with pastoral work?
Each profession has its own time. When it is time for the work of God, I put every other thing aside. I take the work of God more seriously than my profession. When it is time for my profession, I also do it diligently without compromise. Both do not clash.
With the many years you have spent as a minister, what are the challenges you have faced?
I have been in the ministry for almost 25 years but my church ministry started 16 years ago. So, I come to Nigeria every three months to monitor the church here. The major challenge I am facing is shuttling between the two locations, and frequently too. However, I thank God for His grace and mercy.
How would you compare serving God in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom?
Christianity is the same everywhere in the world because the God we serve is the same yesterday, today and forever. The God of those in the United Kingdom is also the God of Africans. But what I’ve observed is that people in the United Kingdom take God and Christianity with levity, while Africans take God and Christianity with seriousness.
How can Christians tackle religious crisis, especially in Nigeria?
Christians need to focus on God and not on man. If our focus is on God, there will be no unnecessary distraction. Crises will arise, whether within the religious sector or outside the religious sector, but if we focus on God alone and we have pure hearts towards our neighbours, we will definitely avoid crises. Crisis happens when someone feels cheated but the Lord God requires us to be at peace with all men. However, being at peace with all men does not mean that there will not be a situation for crises to happen, but we will find grace to handle situations that call for crises without creating crises.
What would you advise government to do regarding the current economic hardship?
I will continue to tell people in government to return to God. Any other solution will create further crisis. As you can see, we are moving from one problem to the other, that is why we should return to God like the people of Samaria. We will find out that somehow, someday, the Lord that ended the famine in Samaria within 24 hours will create a way for us in Nigeria and give us lasting solution that will surprise everyone. So, Christ truly is the answer.
You will be dedicating your ultramodern church here in Nigeria in a few days. How was the church built within a short period?
The church is another example of how God can do miracles; the church is a miracle. God provided the land; it is four plots of land and the church was built completely within seven months without my contribution. God also provided labourers that were used in the construction and God Himself gave us the inspiration and the idea to do the work. Today, the church is a beautiful auditorium and no man will take the glory except God.
What is your advice to Nigerians, especially Christians?
My advice to all Christians is that they should wake up from their slumber; many Christians have slept off. Jesus is coming very soon, and the rapture will take place and will be a horrible time here on earth. Nigerians should reconnect themselves to God and ensure that they are saved and born-again. They should endeavour to have cordial relationship with God. We have a beautiful nation called Nigeria. Nigeria is a great and resourceful nation. Nigerian is one of the best countries in the world. Though we are currently going through tough times now, I know we will come out of it soon. Let us seek the face of God and ask God to intervene in our land.