(BY VEN. FOLUSO TAIWO)
Servants of God and leaders of the Church have been challenged to be dedicated and devoted hundred percent to enthroning God in their dioceses and Churches for the Church to have a future.
The Most Rev Dr George Latunji Lasebikan, Archbishop Ecclesiastical province of Ondo and Bishop of Ondo diocese gave this admonition at the flag off of this year’s Bishop’s Retreat of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion holding at the IBRU International Ecumenical Centre Agbarha-Otor in Delta state.
Preaching on the theme of the retreat, “The Episcopate and the future of Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Lasebikan says there is the need for bishops and leaders of the church to readjust their vision and style to fit into the posture of someone who had been given power and authority only in trust by God. He reminded Church leaders that they cannot afford to lose the vision of the owners of the Church, because their offices and position as Bishops have been given to them from heaven; adding that they should be prepared for imminent return of Jesus who will come to dispense judgement in the world.
According to the erudite scholar, leaders of the Church should follow the Apostolic example and avoid those he described as the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things.
The preacher who quoted profusely from the Bible said the ministry of the Bishop is to guide the faith in unity and discipline of the whole Church, to proclaim the word of God and act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world.
Archbishop Lasebikan said as leaders in God’s Church, they should be good oriented, purposeful, visionary and strategically influential to help members grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and His salvation.
He reiterated that the Bishop is an overseer, who leads others as defenders of faith, a teacher, a preacher, who guides the faith of the Church in unity, faith to desired expectation.
He warned leaders of the Church to be careful as not to send wrong signals to people they lead.
He flew a kite when he posited that leaders of the Church must give constant training and retraining to the clergy and pay serious particular attention to the clergy since they are more constant to the people in the Diocese. This according to him, is to assist the Bishop in reaching the optimum goal of the ministry.
If that is the case, Most Rev, Lasebikan said the Theological Institutions need a rebranding, restructuring and a refined syllabus.
The cleric gave kudos to the Anglican Church for the training and retraining of its clergy, so that the Anglican orthodoxy and practice would be enhanced.
He called for leaders to emulate Hezekiah’s piety, his dedication, commitment and devotion, but quickly warned against his works handing over to a mediocre, a colossal waste as a successor so as not to jeopardize the future of the Church. The priest according to the preacher is the government of the Bishops.
He warned Bishops not to mortgage the future of the Church of Nigeria by their action and inactions.
The preacher commended the Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion for his ingenuity in stabilizing the church in the face of some worrisome bottle necks. The Primate, he said, has enhanced the image of the Church with long strides and landmark achievements and he is planning seriously for her future.