From north, south-south, south-east and south-west, youth pastors of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), descended on the revered pulpit the general overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye uses at The Arena auditorium. And they took the congregation of thousands of people from all over the country by storm.
Displaying zest and youthful energy, the four men made strong presentations that got the congregation to its feet repeatedly in appreciation of God.
The occasion was the June 2018 Holy Ghost Service of the church at its new auditorium, The Arena, with the theme ‘Stronger Than Your Enemies 6: Victory Through Praise’. It drew participants from viewing centres at the church’s various parishes around the world.
Later in the night, Pastor Adeboye, who was all the while taking notes as their coach, was all smiles as he took over the pulpit for his session.
He mounted the pulpit in his usual style with a congregational prayer of praise and got on his knees behind the pulpit to pray – a practice that usually gets the whole congregation on its knees.
That short prayer session was treated with much reverence but his comments on the presentations were expected.
After a few announcements, he got to it, breaking into a broad smile as he opened his notes.
“Fantastic presentations,” he said with a more animated smile. “These boys are getting so good that in future, anytime we have zonal presentations like this, I will not have to preach. I will only come in at the end and pray for you all.”
His contagious excitement spread throughout the congregation, which had equally been thrilled.
Still beaming with excitement, he explained that the purpose of the presentations organized for youth pastors is to bring “my children to perfection, to get them to excel before I go.”
He admitted that he was also looking out for an Evangelist among the four and one of them fit the bill.
That was the youth pastor who got the congregation to its feet repeatedly with his musical sermon. Likening praise to a direct phone call to God, which angels do not handle, unlike they sometimes do with prayers, he gave various examples with song and dance, which got many people dancing.
That pastor explained that during our challenges, the devil sows false revelations and fear into us, which need to be countered with superior revelations with the word of God and praises for who God is.
Pastor Adeboye was so happy about the presentations that during his own sermon later, he was impressed by the similarity of his notes to those of one of the youth pastors and wondered jocularly if he saw his presentation notes.
The presentations by the youths followed along Pastor Adeboye’s original Exhorter style of presentation. That is one of the four notable approaches of churches. The others are the Homiletician style, used by priests; the Sermonic Essayist style, popular in mainline denominations which take an intellectual approach to the sermon; and the Bible Teacher approach in which the pastor is a Bible teacher.
The Exhorter style of preaching is popular in Pentecostal and Holiness churches. The pastor is a preacher who delivers a sermon during the second part of the worship service. (The first part of the service is the song part – praise and worship songs.) This type of preaching urges people to make changes in their lifestyle and after the exhortation; there is usually an altar call for people to receive salvation.
In terms of sermon delivery, Pastor Adeboye’s personal style is unmistakably unique. His sermons are not wordy and are devoid of theatrics. In most cases, he reads the Bible passage himself, explains it with his rich background of knowledge and draws out lessons to be learnt and their implications.
From time to time, he pauses to receive word of knowledge from God, which he promptly shares with the congregation. Prophecies are relayed so fast that they do not disrupt his flow. He passes on the message and moves on.
Also, a giant in prayer and worship, Pastor Adeboye’s delivery is deliberate and so well-paced, one could make verbatim notes.
Characteristically also, the sermons are richly spiced with inspirational testimonies and illustrations, which have become an integral part of his preaching style.
Over time, changes have been made in the style at Holy Ghost Services with more and longer congregational prayers. In a world that is becoming more complicated, with several forces at work, people tend to like that. They jump up promptly at the call to prayers.
Also these days the services are broken into two parts, the first for the introduction of a call to the altar, after which the second part follows.
Understandably the youth pastors did not share specific prophecies or testimonies. They also didn’t have to make the altar call, but they urged people to respond enthusiastically when it was made later.
However, the Adeboye style was unmistakable even as some of them spoke faster out of youthfulness or nervous energy. But their presentations, highlights of which Pastor Adeboye recapped, were well-received and enjoyed, judging from the excitement and energy in the congregation.
Continuing the series on praise after the altar call, Pastor Adeboye showed a video clip of a four-year-old girl reciting passages of the Bible fluently and happily.
And drawing on the lessons from the clip, he urged the congregation to always praise God with joy and by demonstrating it with everything in them.
He highlighted the benefits of praising and worshiping God in truth:
“When you praise God, the Father, He draws near to you,” he said.
He explained that in doing so God arises and when “He stands up according to Psalms 68: 1-3; let God arise and all His enemies be scattered. Those who hate Him will flee or melt.
“Also, as Psalms 97:3 shows the fire goeth before Him burns up His enemies round about.
“So, if one can Praise God to the level that He can stand up, one’s problems will be over.
“And when you Praise God the way you ought to do; He will carry you in His Hands and blesses you.”
Pastor Adeboye identified the ways God can scatter enemies as including causing them to fight among themselves into destruction; paralyzing them physically; paralyzing their thoughts or arresting them.
To please God to draw close, he recommended praising God with His names such as:
- Jehovah El-Shaddai – Genesis 17:1
- The I am that I am – Exodus 3:14.
- The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – Exodus 3:15.
- The Most High, the Almighty – Psalms 91:1.
- The One that is Higher than the Highest – Ecclesiastes 5:8.
- The One whose seat is enthroned on High – Isaiah 66:1.
- The Holy One of Israel – Psalms 71:22.
He also referred to Psalms 18: 1-2, where David said, “He is my Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, my God, my Strength, my Trust, my Buckler, the Horn of my Salvation and my High Tower.”
Citing Bible passages, Pastor Adeboye showed that praise also attracts the attention of Jesus as was the case of Bartimaeus; and the Holy Spirit, that came down in flames as the Apostles praised God in the Upper Room.
He urged people not to feel too old or too big to praise God like His children because no one can be older than the Ancient of Days.
During the sermon enriched with prophecies, prayers and testimonies, the congregation was allowed time to praise God, which people did with relish.
But certainly, among the people who enjoyed the night were the four youth pastors who wowed Pastor Adeboye and the congregation.
Photo credit: Komolafe Segun