Reverse Missionaries

 

BETTY ROLLIN, correspondent: The music—the joy—the hats! All are in evidence every Sunday morning at the Victory Temple in Bowie, Maryland, one of 400 Redeemed Christian Churches of God in North America. Today’s sermon by Pastor Bayo Adeyokunnu is about money.

PASTOR BAYO ADEYOKUNNU (Victory Temple in Bowie, Maryland): You must have a savings account, no matter how much you are making, and this can come through so many areas: money market, mutual funds, savings accounts, 401K…Amen.

ROLLIN: Congregant Theresa Norton, a school teacher, used to attend a Catholic church. She prefers this church’s emphasis on the Bible and on practical matters as well.

THERESA NORTON: I’m really making money because of what the pastor is always telling us. You know, even if you have your job that you’re doing, you need to have something by the side.

ROLLIN: Like all of the pastors of the Redeemed Church, Pastor Adeyokunnu has great ambitions for his church.

Pastor Bayo Adeyokunnu, Victory Temple in Bowie, MarylandPASTOR ADEYOKUNNU: Our goal is to do everything possible to win souls for the kingdom of God. After they are won then we teach them, we disciple them how to make a living, how to benefit the society, how to make a difference within their community.

ROLLIN: And the Victory Temple’s goal is to grow. They’ve already established 15 churches in this part of Maryland, mostly attended by their fellow Africans. A good start, they say.

PASTOR ADEYOKUNNU: We want to start churches, if possible, like Starbucks.

ROLLIN: Like Starbucks?

PASTOR ADEYOKUNNU: This Bowie church is located in the African-American community, so we are trying to attract people within this community, and very soon we are going to reach out to the whites within the neighborhood.

ROLLIN: You will be reaching out to whites as well.

post0a-reversemissionariesPASTOR ADEYOKUNNU: Yes, ma’am.

ROLLIN: Why do you want to do that?

PASTOR ADEYOKUNNU: Because Christ died for everybody.

PASTOR ENOCH ADEBOYE: (General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, speaking at service in Floyd, Texas) Oh Lord God Almighty, heal this nation. Heal America. Bless America. Defend America.

ROLLIN: So speaks the revered and powerful leader of the global church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, a former math professor in Nigeria. Called the General Overseer, Adeboye is the man in charge. He sees his role as restoring Christianity and morality to America and the rest of the world. One of his emissaries, who attended this yearly meeting of pastors, is Daniel Ajayi-Adeniran. His assignment is church expansion.

PASTOR DANIEL AJAYI-ADENIRAN: In every household there will be at least one member of Redeemed Christian Church of God in the whole world.

ROLLIN: Every family in America?

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: In the whole world. Not only in America, in the entire universe.

ROLLIN: And Who is telling you this? Who is setting these goals?

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: It is our leader, the General Overseer.

Pastor Daniel Ajayi-AdeniranROLLIN: And who is setting his goals?

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: God.

ROLLIN: And they believe it was God who directed Pastor Enoch Adeboye to gather in this remote place northeast of Dallas. Here at headquarters in Floyd, Texas, population 220, the church has bought 550 acres of land. Plans include building a school, perhaps a college, and an auditorium that will seat 20,000 people.

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: I believe God takes special interest in this country. God will not allow America to drown, to be destroyed, because this country has been a great helper, a blessing to the entire universe, including people like me.

ROLLIN: But you think we are drowning now?

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: Yes. There is no family value anymore. Before it used to be family values, but it is no more. Our teenagers, they just doing whatever they like. No fear of God.

ROLLIN: So you are helping us?

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: We are working together for God’s will to come to pass, and we will do our best.

ROLLIN: Dana Robert is a professor of world Christianity and mission theology at Boston University. She attributes the remarkable growth of the Redeemed Christian Church of God to a demographic shift in Christianity worldwide.

Professor Dana RobertPROFESSOR DANA ROBERT (Boston University School of Theology): Now there are over 450 million Christians in Africa. A century ago, there were only eight million, so the huge growth of Christianity in Africa and Latin America and parts of Asia means that when they come here they think of themselves as missionaries.

ROLLIN: Professor Robert says immigrants have always brought their religions with them, but few have expanded as much as Nigerians have.

PROF. ROBERT: They come from a huge, overcrowded English-speaking country, so they can land with their feet on the ground and get up and running with outreach, churches, building schools, building homes very quickly. They don’t have the language barrier that a lot of the other immigrants have when they get to the United States.

ROLLIN: In addition, Professor Robert says, people are attracted to the Pentecostal style of worship.

PROF. ROBERT: Pentecostalism has swept all over the world in the last several decades, so the immediacy of the supernatural, the emotional worship style, the focus on lifestyle and holiness—these are things that American churches has gotten soft on.

ROLLIN: Speaking in tongues which is a way of praying and, some say, a sign of God’s grace also has an appeal.

PROF. ROBERT: You enter not quite an altered state of consciousness but you’re suspending your rational mind and just letting your tongue loose. By releasing your conscious mind, it lets mystery flow into you.

ROLLIN: Nigerians also emphasize healing as a part of their service.

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: I believe in the healing power of God. I don’t use medication. If for any reason I’m sick, I don’t go to hospital. I pray to my God because he created me. God manufactured me. If anything is wrong with me he knows how to repair and fix me up.

ROLLIN: Like many conservative Christian churches, when it comes to issues like homosexuality the Redeemed Church believes the Bible forbids it.

PASTOR AJAYI-ADENIRAN: It is spelled out in the scripture. When God created Adam, he created Eve for Adam. He would have created another Adam, man. But he created Adam, a man, and Eve, a woman.

ROLLIN: The church believes that homosexuality, as well as other kinds of behavior they consider immoral, is the work of the devil.

PROF. ROBERT: It’s a paradox that these are such highly educated people, but their substratum of African traditional religion has a very vigorous spiritual life of spirits, evil spirits, ancestors. Things that are perceived as evil or negative have to be vigorously fought in the church, and that’s consistent with African traditional religion.

ROLLIN: Professor Robert says that the most negative reaction to African churches comes from African Americans.

PROF. ROBERT: So you see you get Africans coming in with no racial chip on their shoulder living alongside and competing with African Americans who’ve got the weight of their communal history that in some respects is dragging them down, and there’s tension right on the ground.

ROLLIN: Numbers matter, and there’s no doubt that the number of Redeemed Christian Churches of God has grown, and clearly the leaders have the desire, the energy, and the money to keep growing. But so far they are mainly reaching fellow Africans, so their challenge is to reach beyond their base.

For Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly I’m Betty Rollin in Floyd, Texas.

  • Patricia Chute

    Facsinating.

  • Thong Huynh

    This is the truth and the whole truth, “WE ARE DROWNING HERE IN AUSTRALIA” God forbidden us and please God let the light of the world shining us with the Church of The reverse Missionaries. AMEN

  • Chaplain Mary Murphy

    Because of the John l4:12 Ministry of Pastor Vincent Omegba, Aurora Colorado Redeemed Christian CHurch; we are now able to birth the first ever spiritual-secular first members, Wounded Warriors Incarcerated. Please contact us if you are willing to participate in putting this ministry together in every federal and state prison. Blessings The War Widows

  • Ruth Baker

    I am pleased that my African brothers and sisters are doing well in the United States, however, I am disappointed that they are joining the ranks of those who don’t know the history of Christianity from ancient times, nor are they apparently taking the time to study comparative religions. As a people we would be kinder, prouder and greater contributors to the world if we took the time to study history and the roots of religion. It is dangerous and counter-productive to believe our piece of the broken mirror is the whole mirror.

  • Hector M. Bourdon

    l would like you to hear from my associate Dr.Ron Lovell and Bishop Alto Blanding from Tampa. His teaching in Biblical Economics. I was listening to your massage on tv on Sunday. We want to help
    our brothers in need, please call me or e-mail me at my e-mail. May The Lord Give us the strenz to keep doing his work all over the world,God Bless your lidership,your brother in Christ, Hector M. Bourdon.

  • Hector M. Bourdon

    I would like to know how to get intouch with one of your pastors.

  • Abosede Olowookere

    The WORD of GOD is forever settled. As Christians we need to condemn what God dislikes just as my Pastor, Pastor Adeniran emphasised that God created us and ordained marriage between Adam and Eve and not same sex. I thank God I belong to The Redeemed Christian Church. God will give us all boldness to condemn what is wrong. God Bless America!

  • Valerie williams

    This video is absolutely fascinating.
    Thank you PBS for your coverage of it.

  • Pastor Vincent Omusi

    As a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, I am certain that none of my leaders in RCCG Worldwide has ever claimed to know the history of christianity more than anyone else. The ministry does not lay claim to be the first missionary church. We are not in competition with any one and we shall never be. The Redeemed Christian Church of God(RCCG)happens to be one of the churches that has decided to seek the face of God and follow the Holy Bible as the absolute Word of God, without compromising it for anything, to the glory of God. We are working alongside with other Bible believing christians to advance the Kingdom of God on planet earth. And by the grace of God, we shall continue to do the will of God, irrespective of any satanic or human opposition. As the body of Christ, we shall prevail in advancing the Kingdom of God, because we are only carrying out God’s agenda in our time. More kudos to our General Overseer and the entire leadership of RCCG, North America. May God bless the Redeemed Christian Church of God. God bless America.

  • Eniola Bola Bolaji

    ALL WE ARE SAYING IS LET US GO BACK TO BETHEL AND DO IT GOD’S WAY NOT TRADITIONAL WAY OR SOCIETY’S WAY AND IT SHALL BE WELL WITH US.

  • Mark Simmons

    I’m very thankful for the RCCG. I dose my heart good to see such a commitment to the Lord. It’s just sad that this country has slipped so far away from God that we need spirtual help for those we’ve been evangelizing for decades. Thank you for airing this program…It was a blessing.

  • Femi Oshobukola

    Excellent work.

  • African American

    Money does not guarantee salvation. Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and obeying the uncompromising Word of God does. This program gave the impression that it is about money. I pray that RCCG’s primary mission and mandate is 1) From God and 2) teaching salvation as well as prosperity. The Prof. Roberts has no clue about the gift of speaking in tongues which is evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost which is necessary to have power to overcome adversaries. I am really tickled pink when a unsaved person tries to explain the Word of God. That is just too funny! And in closing there is no division in the body of Christ between African Americans and Native Africans, we love everyone. Someone (other than African or African American)is always trying to keep descension brewing in our community. I curse it to the root from which it sprang!

  • Amber

    You should try living by one of their camps. They tear up our roads with their constant work trucks (concrete, gravel and such), not caring because of course they only use it twice a year. They never wave no matter how much you wave at them and they talk about how we should turn away from worldly items yet they drive Mercedes, Lexuses and BMWs. Their noise levels during conferences keep us up until 4 am, and they don’t know how we are living. I am happily married. I go to church. I teach my daughter about Christ and life in Him. They act like if we don’t have one of “them” in our houses we are horrible people. Glad y’all love them so much. Try having them as your neighbor.

  • Portia

    So encouraging as a Christian, I am very proud that they are bold and unashamed in this interview some Christian leaders when interviewed began to coward back in intimidation because they are suddenly faced with the secular world challenging their views. I am coming to understand that we Christians can learn much from some African Christians, for they carry a boldness and devotion more than we do in the United States. I was conversing with friends from Uganda and He said, “We know that you [Americans] love God, but we love God more.” When a nations has experience so much atrocity such as Uganda and overcome the Christian preserved in prayers you began to develop faith that is strong to believe God for anything because when you have seen the worse turn around to good, you can believe. I am fully-convinced that at the Christians prayers in Uganda caused Idi Amin to be removed from government. I have convinced that the fervent prayers of Christians of the United States and here from other countries will turn America back to God.

  • Dr s a Leonard

    i love the work of God!

  • Jo

    It is depressing to read that the church is still spreading homophobia. Has there not been enough prejudice and discrimination in the history of the world? And here are black people whose ancestors have suffered discrimination, practicing it themselves! you can choose to cherry-pick passages from the Old Testament which allow you to hate people because of their sexual orientation, race or gender or you can choose to follow Jesus’ more benign and tolerant atttitude.
    Portia – nonsense! Prayers never changed anything. One woman says her prayers were answered because her child survived an earthquake but does not seem to see that many other women who prayed lose their children! it is all random. Why do you Africans accept the religion imposed on you by slave-traders and colonialists? The idea was to make you accept your slavery with a promise of a better life to come – and you accepted it!

  • Os

    Dear Jo,

    From your post its obvious you know very little about God and the bible. The true church of God is not spreading homophobia or whatever you call it. But we condemn homosexuality just the same way we condemn all other types of sin. But this is not something you’ll understand by mere reasoning unless you are touched.

    The big problem with Christianity today is that only a very small percentage – probably less than 20% – of Christians today have completely surrendered to the will and led by the spirit of God. As a result you don’t get to see the the true fruits of the spirit such as love, sound mind and power (to live above sin and to overcome tremendous physical and spiritual adversity) If this wasn’t the case you’ll really see that the true Christians do not hate sinners, but they definitely hate the sin. You would have seen a lifestyle definitely worthy of your emulation.