PRESIDENT’S WELCOME SPEECH AND REPORT DELIVERED AT THE 93RD GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL OF THE CHURCH

PRESIDENT’S WELCOME SPEECH AND REPORT DELIVERED AT THE 93RD GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL OF THE CHURCH

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Announcements, General, Uncategorized | 0 comments

PRESIDENT’S WELCOME SPEECH AND REPORT DELIVERED AT THE 93RD GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN NATIONS HOLDING AT THE COCIN HEADQUARTERS FROM 13TH TO 17TH NOV., 2017

  1. PREAMBLE

John 5:17-18

Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”                                                                                                                                                                                                      NIV

John 9:4

As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. NIV

Eph 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV

 

  1. GREETINGS AND WELCOME

The Vice President, Rev. Dr. Obed Dashan, the General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Amos Mohzo, the Deputy General Secretary, Rev. Dauda Digga Jimra, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and members; EC members, Delegates, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, His Majesty, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, Former Presidents, Former Missionaries, Other Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, the Security, Beloved in the Lord, I greet you all in Jesus Name. Welcome to the 93rd General Church Council of the Church of Christ in Nations in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Welcome to the second GCC in our year of Seeking First God’s Kingdom in the Name of our blessed Redeemer who desires that we seek first His Kingdom.

It is my prayer that in this GCC, we will prioritize and seek to do the work of the Kingdom to advance it. To advance the Kingdom of God, we all have a part to play, a special assignment to accomplish, both individually and collectively.

Since our last meeting in May, some of our beloved have gone to be with the Lord from our RCCs. Of special mention is the passing on to glory of two of our veteran leaders and parents in the Lord Da Dr. Bitrus Pam our first indigenous General Secretary and Rtd. Rev, Luther Chishak the second indigenous President. May the Lord continue to comfort His church! Let us stand to observe a minute silence in honour of these great lives that were lived to the glory of God and the souls of all the departed brethren.

 

  1. VISION AND MISSION OF COCIN

We here state again our vision and mission, as we usually do every GCC meeting and by way of reminder:

a) Vision

COCIN envisions a church in which the leadership and membership are maturing in Christ by obeying the word of God, living holy lives, united and committed to worshipping God and spreading the wholistic gospel, thereby impacting the world as salt and light of her time to the glory of God, till the return of Jesus Christ

b) Mission Statement

To glorify God and not any person or material; to edify and equip believers to preach the good news of wholistic salvation in Jesus Christ to unbelievers; thus COCIN shall continue to administer the sacraments and be self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-governing.

Beloved, God has given us a glorious vision, and a strategic and purposeful mission statement. It is therefore very unfortunate that quite a number of our Pastors give very little or no attention to it. This Council must come up with a resolution to correct this. Any Pastor or leader who disregards the vision and mission of the church disqualifies himself or herself from being a Pastor or leader. It is necessary for all those who serve the church in any capacity to vigorously pursue the vision and mission and be seen to be doing so.

 

  1. AN ACCOUNT OF MY FOUR YEARS’ STEWARDSHIP

I set out in 2014 with a clear vision and mandate which I believe God gave me. I stated in my inaugural speech the intention to confront the monster that poses as our greatest challenge. Part of that speech reads as follows:

The greatest challenge is the ‘monster’ … the gates of hell that are determined to prevail against the church. This monster manifests in the form of tribalism, sectionalism, nepotism, secret vindictiveness by those in positions of leadership, corruption and the like. They have eaten deep into the fabric of our church and indeed the church in Nigeria as a whole.  They are so endemic that it is almost impossible to do anything without being affected by them. But God will help us.”

Also, in that speech, I stated the clear vision God has given me of a church that is truly discipled with every member living out the truth of the gospel at the workplace, the market, in business, in politics, and wherever. I stated then that,

“I intend therefore to ensure that Pastors become true disciples because until they become disciples, they cannot disciple others. We will pursue, and vigorously so under God, a return of the church to a life of prayer and study of the word of God. The prayerlessness and biblical illiteracy that characterise our Christianity will be confronted head on … I will rally round discipled and transformed members of the church to pursue vigorously and consolidate on the gains of my predecessors in the Mission to Nations project, the Karl Kumm project and the Tele-Evangelism project, and other laudable projects that are on-going.”

Beloved, the journey has been really tough. The ‘monster’ is more endemic than I thought, and more determined to prevail than I had imagined. Nevertheless, God has helped us thus far, and we have made some remarkable progress:

a) Prayer and Revival is gradually gaining momentum. The Prayer and Revival Coordinator and his fellow staff are working relentlessly and sacrificially. They need huge doses of encouragement from all of us as they lead us into this fairly unchartered territory. More and more people are now overcoming the prayerlessness that used to characterize our membership. Also, less and less members are running to prayer houses for deliverance. There is also a gradual revival of our spirituality. It is important and necessary to press on with this until the monster is significantly decimated.

b) A good number of Pastors have embraced discipleship and are discipling our congregations. Consequently, maturity among members is improving significantly. We must double our efforts on this in the coming years until a majority of our members attain maturity. This is necessary in this age where rebellion seems to be the order of the day.

c) Biblical illiteracy is being gradually tackled through the training and retraining of Pastors. There has been a significant improvement in our Theological Institutions, as well as in the number of trained and retrained Pastors. TEE has tirelessly worked to contribute in educating our members and Pastors. We must not relent in this. We must encourage enrolment into the TEE programme. We must not lose sight of the fact that our Constitution demands at least a minimum of a TEE qualification for leadership in the church, and must be seen as a necessary step to eradicating the biblical illiteracy we suffer.

d) We have witnessed amazing success in the area of missions, with God graciously surprising us in many ways. Our foreign mission centres have grown from five (UK, Ghana, Niger Republic, Malawi, and Benin Republic) to currently, nine (with Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa as the new additions in the last four years). We have had God’s favour in the area of registration, with that of the UK coming after long, painstaking and relentless effort. We have also had God’s favour in securing property in some of these foreign centres.

e) We are making steady but meaningful progress in the Karl Kumm University project. The academic offices, the boys’ hostel, the administrative block, the gate house and the girls’ hostel are buildings being added to the faculty building, and are at various levels of completion. Beloved, we must not give up on this project. We will surely get there, and when we do, we will know that the effort is worth it.

In the meantime, what we need to do is to:

a) Enhance the Prayer and Revival Unit until we attain spiritual revival. We must not grow slack on this because this is an essential element of our divinely given mandate. We must press on until every resistance is overcome.

b) Re-strategize on how to pursue the Discipleship mandate. This is what the church exists to do, and we cannot afford to be found wanting here.

c) Strengthen the TEE programme and enforce the provision of the Constitution on having a minimum requirement of enrolment into the programme as qualification for election or appointment into positions of leadership in the church. For a start, we must prevail on those holding positions of leadership to enrol.

d) Forge ahead with our Mission to Nations agenda. This is the only appropriate response to the favour and grace we have enjoyed in this enterprise. COCIN has enjoyed a favourable welcome into these nations that we cannot afford to take lightly.

e) Press on with efforts on the Karl Kumm University project, and insist on commitment by all and sundry. We have come a long way and cannot give up now or slow down on this project as that will be sheer foolishness.

 

  1. THEME AND TOP GOALS FOR 2018

Let me remind you again that goals are like wheels that help to drive the vehicle to a desired destination. We are headed somewhere, and God has given us a clear direction. He has also given us good, qualitative and adequate goals to take us to our destination. The theme for 2018 is: Attaining the Righteousness of God (Philippians 3:9).  May I suggest that we adopt the following as our top goals for the coming year:

a) Attaining the Righteousness of God

This is again another God-given purposeful theme and goal. Clearly this is intended to grow us deeper into maturity as we seek to do God’s will and live to please Him. As our relationship with God grows deeper, our relationship with one another will improve, and so will our productivity.

b) Prayer and Revival

In view of the importance of this goal and of the value it has added to our dear church in the last few years, we must enhance this to maximise the gains that accrue to us from it.

c) Discipleship.

We must appreciate the fact that God continues to impress on us the imperative of discipleship. As we seek to attain God’s Righteousness, we must endeavour to ensure that each Pastor and leader is a disciple who is discipling others because this is our divine mandate. The life of the Kingdom is a life of Discipleship. We must continue to emphasize this.

d) Missions and Evangelism

The challenge here is to keep alive the legacies of Dr. Karl Kumm. If indeed we are imitating Christ and seeking to attain the righteousness of God, Evangelism and Missions will follow as a natural progression. I am convinced that God wants us to show more passion in fulfilling His desire in our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the world. In other words, we must do evangelism in our Jerusalem (around us in our neighbourhood), our Judea and Samaria (in our states and country), and unto the ends of the world (Foreign Mission). In view of the growing immorality, unrighteousness and wickedness around us, we must re-invigorate the preaching of the Gospel in our neighbourhood as well as strengthen CCM.

I trust that we have now seen the KKU project as another Mission Field that begs for our attention. We must continue to emphasize this project in the coming year so that if possible we secure NUC permission to commence academic activities.

  1. OTHER MATTERS

Beloved, I here present to you the following matters that beg for our consideration and decision:

a) Contributions for Missions & KKU

A year ago, we resolved to ask all worshippers with COCIN to contribute at least ₦2000.00 for Missions and the KKU project in the year 2017. It is sad to report that we have not done well in this. The total amount collected so far is ₦48,048,291.50, representing only 24,024 persons. This is highly disappointing and all indications point to the fact that Pastors are responsible for this very dismal performance as the Treasurers’ report will show. This Council must deliberate seriously on this and take appropriate action.

b) Review of COCIN’s Operational Instruments

The review of other Operational Instruments is being done. We have however had to suspend the implementation of the reviewed Condition of Service until the completion of the review of the COCIN Constitution so as not to have two operational instruments running parallel to one another.

c) COCIN and Social Righteousness

The issues of social righteousness are a real concern in this country, both in the nation and in the church. I suggest that as a church we must begin to think seriously on an appropriate response we can make.

d) Visit by Former Missionaries and Relationship with Pioneers

From the end of September to the beginning of October 2017, we were blessed to host some of our former Missionaries who came in company of the Director, Pioneers UK and Europe and had some very useful discussions on possible ways of enhancing our partnership. It is also a joy to welcome here during this GCC Rev. & Mrs Alan Chilver and Peter & Elspeth Young. Dr. Peter Young did his Dmin. Dissertation on COCIN and is here to present to the church copies of this dissertation. They also brought a letter from Eric Peters, the International Director of Pioneers, which I need to read to you.

e) Voters Card and National Identity Card Registrations

It is very sad that many of our members are taking lightly the issue of Voters’ Card and National Identity Card registrations. This attitude has very dire consequences that we seem not to know! All of us here are leaders. We must resolve on steps to take to educate our members and to impress on them the importance of this civic responsibility and ensure that it is done.

f) African Study Bible (ASB) Workshop

Last Thursday 9th November 2017, the organizing committee of the African Study Bible (ASB) staged a workshop on the use of the African Study Bible for COCIN Pastors, the first of its kind following the launch of the Bible. It was a huge success as our Pastors were blessed and equipped for effective ministry.

  1. STATE OF THE NATION

The state of the Nigerian nation today is very scary. Nigeria is seating on a time bomb and President Buhari and the Federal Government as well as the State and Local Governments leadership must seat up to avert the catastrophe that is looming. The agitations rising from several quarters are not just empty threats. Rather they should be seen as reactions to the apparent oppression, victimization, lopsided appointments and preferential treatments being witnessed in the country. We therefore lend our voice in support of the recent press release by CAN to state the following:

a) Open Grazing

Open grazing is becoming a serious menace in this country. Farmers have suffered a lot in the hands of herdsmen that something drastic must be done to forestall this and give farmers some kind of succour. Plateau State and States affected that have not done so must legislate to ban open grazing like Benue and Taraba have done. This is the voice of the people and the wish of the citizenry and every responsible government will not take it lightly.

b) Violent Attacks by Fulani Herders

There have been violent attacks on peaceful and innocent communities by Fulani marauders often referred to as ‘unidentified gunmen’ or ‘suspected Fulani’. When will the ‘unidentified gunmen’ be identified? When will the ‘suspected Fulani’ be arrested? Why do we get the impression that these blood thirsty attackers are seen as first class citizens and the rest of us seen as second class or third class citizens? What are the security operatives doing? Why are they being sent with the instructions to protect the violent attackers against the innocent and defenceless communities? Why are the officers detailed to keep peace taking sides by conniving with the Fulani attackers to kill the innocent?

c) Membership of Religious Organizations

It is no news now that Nigeria, a secular nation, is now a member of Islamic organizations contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. We lend our voice in support of CAN to call on “the National Assembly to compile the list of all organizations Nigeria belongs to and all the treaties signed with a view to dropping all the religious ones.”

d) Certificate of Occupancy for Churches in Northern Nigeria

States in Northern Nigeria have over the years consistently denied churches the Constitutional provision of securing Certificates of Occupancy. We therefore lend our voice in support of CAN to call the “National Assembly to prevail on the States in the North of the country to henceforth be issuing Certificate of Occupancy to the churches there to build their houses of worship.”

e) Infrastructural Decay in the Country

The state of infrastructure in the country is an eyesore. Our roads, for instance, are death traps and very much of a disgrace. We join CAN in calling “the Federal Government to address the issue of breakdown of infrastructure such as roads, electricity supply, provision of adequate funding of health facilities in the nation so as to stop the untimely death of our people and medical pilgrimage abroad.”

f) Payment of Salaries and Gratuity

While we commend the Plateau State Government for the prompt payment of salaries and pension, we call on other State Governments to emulate this so as to stop the incessant strikes we witness in this country. We appeal to the Plateau State Government to pay the back log of Gratuity.

g) Incessant Strikes

We appeal to the Plateau State Government to intervene to bring an end to the woes of JUTH and the threat to another strike and overstretching of facilities on the Plateau Specialist Hospital. We call on the Federal government and the National Assembly to take decisive steps to bring an end to this serious problem.

  1. CONCLUSION

In conclusion, let me welcome you again to this second GCC of 2017. May we be inspired to imitate Christ, and seek to Attain the Righteousness of God in the coming year! May we work diligently to advance the Kingdom of God! God bless!

 

Rev. Dr. Dachollom Chumang Datiri

COCIN President

 

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