In this interview with Editor of Our Community, Paul Mbagwu, the Presiding Bishop of Ikotun-based His Glory Chapel International Church, Dr. Uchenna Dedegu Chukwuegu, speaks about his call and achievements in the ministry. Excerpt…
How did the call into ministry begin?
The foundation is from The Apostolic Church, as a little child. From there to Lagos, we became members of Assemblies of God Church and in those days when you came into Lagos, The Apostolic Church was not as resettled as today because they only spoke Yoruba all through so you’re lost. As a result, most of the people who came from the East identified with the Assemblies of God. It was the same foundation of The Apostolic Church that we have in the Assemblies of God. From there we grew and by the time I was out of Lagos, as a lecturer in Minna, Niger State, I now came in contact with TREM. This was because The Apostolic Church and the Assemblies of God were not so close to me, so the Lord led me to TREM which was a very small church, like a missionary church. God told me to stay there and help the ministry. That was where I stayed.
Meanwhile, before I left Lagos for Minna, after my graduation form the higher institution, for almost a year, I didn’t have a job. So, I deepened myself into God more by serving him in one of the newly-established churches in Anthony Village here in Lagos. I was so committed that you’d come there and ask, ‘where is the pastor?’ and the children would pass the pastor and bring you to me. In appreciation, God now opened the door for me to become a lecturer in the College of Education, Minna and the work began more in TREM and to tell you the testimony of working for God, by the time I left in 1990 to go back home, I got an interview and I had an assurance from God that I would have this job as a lecturer. That was in July. By September, my brother who is also a lecturer called and said they have taken only the indigenes, that was like all hope lost but I had a reassurance that God said, ‘You’re getting this job’.
December of that year, I decided to go and see my parents and celebrate the Christmas with them. While I was there, my brother sent someone on the 24th December, 1990 who came with a letter to the village. While we were discussing, as I was walking down the stairs with my mother, I was told about the letter saying that I had been employed as a lecturer. I said ‘No, nothing like that. They said they have taken the indigenes and nothing else’. They gave me the letter and said I should come quickly that I had been employed. I left immediately after the Christmas because I thought I had to resume on the 2nd of the New Year. When I got there, my brother told me to relax, that school was yet to resume. I went to the school and did my documentation and I asked my brother what happened. He told me that one day he was walking in the school and the Dean of the School Of Technical Education just told him to send for me that I had been employed as a lecturer.
I continued as a lecturer and a land was bought for the church and the church was dedicated by Bishop Mike Okonkwo. A time came, after my wedding in 1995, God told me, ‘Take your wife to Lagos and you’ll join her later’. Meanwhile, there was that desire to come back to Minna from Lagos. At that time a Federal Polytechnic in Ebonyi State advertised for lecturers and I applied. After I applied, they sent me letter of appointment. They sent it the first time, I rejected it and they sent it a second time. I didn’t go at all because my desire was to join my family here in Lagos so during that period, I did my MBA in Lagos and I was shuttling Lagos and Minna. By the time I was finishing, I had an interview in 1997 in Union Homes Savings and Loans, Plc in Onipanu but the job was not coming. I was also worried about the family because of everything and I was always on the road every week traveling from Minna to Lagos for my MBA but God was faithful and provided.
In 1999, I got a job in Union Homes, two years after the interview. On that day, I got two jobs, one of which was in Union Homes and the other in an Oil and Gas servicing company but the Sunday before I left, a pastor, Rev. Cole who is late now, prayed for me and told me that God said I can do the two but he doesn’t know what the ‘two’ is – the two was the job I was going to start and ministry.
I continued with TREM but after some years, to the glory of God, we came here and started His Glory Chapel International Church. Immediately we got the property which was an empty land, they started fixing the road. We built the church in six months without any money in our purse without any problem because everything that happened was a miracle. God showed forth himself. The church is on the best site in Ikotun and is very accessible.
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What is the impact of the church in development of the community?
The church has done so much for the community. God is still working out a lot of things as we have organised and held health outreach in the community. We also have what we call, Operation Pick A Cloth where we put canopies outside the church and we invite people on the road and in the community to come and pick clothes donated by members of the church and the ministry.
There’s also free health care which we have done a lot of times and free medical care during our conferences. We used to give reflective jackets to bike men back in the days when Okada riders where allowed on the road around Governor’s Road so that at night, people could see them and avoid accidents. But they are no longer allowed to ply the road anymore. We built a borehole for the community so that when there is no water, people can have access to water free. Every year, we also have Children’s Day celebration where we put smiles on faces of children on Children’s Day. On that day, we have almost one thousand children in this place where we feed them free with a lot of games, dancing and gifts. We make appeals to sponsors every year and with their help, we put smiles on their faces.
In the just-concluded conference, what were the points of discussion?
It’s our annual conference. We started it years ago in October where we invite men of God to be a blessing to us. We have miracles and healing crusade. It is a revival too. This time around, we brought in so many things to make it interesting instead of (making it) one-directional. We brought in sports which held on Wednesday; entrepreneurship, leadership and economic lecture on Friday, where we’re talking about the place of the church in the economy of this nation. We want to tell the government that we have something to contribute because without the church, the economy cannot go anywhere. The church has a say if things are not working well in this nation.
We also learnt that you were made a Bishop. What informed it and how does that make you feel?
It is part of the calling because the Bible says that the office of a bishop is to be desired. It is part of a calling, a leadership position and that places you as the leader of the church and in terms of our leadership, that is, Glory Chapel, we have the office of the senior pastor which has also transformed to the office of a Bishop. It is a fulfillment of the desires of the church and it is an office.
When I put my name, I don’t put bishop in front and a lot of people make that mistake. I am only the Presiding Bishop of the church. It is an office work and is just like being a president or an MD. You won’t write MD before your name but it will come after your name. It is a good office that also lifts up the Body of Christ. It is not a personal office but for the Church of Christ. It is another level for the church and not for personal gain.
Many people will be expecting you to operate on a higher level now. What do you have to tell them as a Bishop?
We believe the power is still to do exploit for God. Even as a pastor, a bishop or an ordinary member, it’s that same name ‘Jesus’ that I will call and that works. But now, I will say it with more authority, confidence and faith. Now I can say something and it must happen.