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Between Spiritual Fortification And Societal Transformation

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Although the main focus of many churches is for spiritual fortification, the Deeper Life Ministry seemed to have refocused its goal by its recent construction of bridge and car park in Lagos, GEORGE OKOJIE and ADENIYI ADUNOLA write.

The task of infrastructural development over the years has been the responsibility of the government with some corporate organisations through Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) coming in from time to time to assist the government.

But since growing a church requires a vision, thought and strategy it is not out of place that such strategies are often deployed by some successful churches that follow a God-given vision and mission to touch humanity through infrastructural development.

The beauty of this is that God uses everyone in a slightly different way and those unique qualities,that each church possesses, is what God uses to create a beautiful tapestry of churches.

Church growth is not about competing with the ministry down the street but more about developing the people God has planted in the local church to be used by God with their unique gifts.

Beyond this, churches are digging deep and looking for ways on how society can be better through investing in infrastructure such as roads construction, provision of traffic lights and signs, award of scholarship, provision of portable drinking water and so on.
Meeting and satisfying basic human needs and aspirations, protecting their freedoms and rights, minimising their risk to survival is considered basic responsibilities of government.

Mostly, these critical basic needs and right come through adequate provision of Infrastructure. Infrastructure is central to sustainable development and economic competitiveness of any nation.

According to analysts, a nation without infrastructure is like a body without anatomy.

The nation is currently snowed under by inadequate infrastructure and this is holding back proper growth. As a result of this, government has continually advocating Public Private Partnership towards development.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, more popularly known as Deeper Life blazed the trail by combining its primary role of evangelism with that of providing Social capital when it commissioned a link bridge it built around its headquarters building in Gbagada, Lagos.

In fact, there were three projects that were commissioned on the day. Besides the bridge located on Olawaiye Street, Gbagada, the Church also commissioned a multilevel car part and some traffic lights located in some streets close to the church.
Strategic outside-in thinking was behind these projects estimated to have set members of the church back by over one billion naira (N1billion).

First, the growth of the church has impacted that neighbourhood in many ways. Those who know that environment would remember that it was the presence of the church that opened the Ifako end of Gbagada for people to begin to inhabit. As people flocked the area and the church grew, challenges of congestion and constrained traffic flow became a direct consequence.

On a typical Sunday afternoon, moving in and out of the neighbourhood was becoming hectic and something needed to be done.

Second, and which is related to the first the expected challenges from the soon-to-be commissioned rebuilt auditorium of the church. This building that may rank as one of the finest in mainland Lagos will also become the global headquarters of the church and which expectedly, will attract even more visitors to the area when it is formally commissioned.

This is what senior pastors of the Church explained to be “community feeling.” According to the Church Secretary, Pastor Phillip Oluwi, Deeper Life as an institution has looked at the Gbagada environment, weighed the cordial relationship that has existed between it and the community for close to 30 years and concluded that making life easier for the people would also serve as an important form of evangelization.

A Bridge to traffic solution
Handled by two construction giants, Julius Berger and Cappa & D’Alberto, the link bridge and car park had the makings of world class structures built with safety and security as part of their foundations. It may have been for the quality of work that was brought to bear on the projects that attracted the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to the commissioning ceremony.

Ambode who was represented by the State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Olowu, commended Deeper Life for mobilizing millions of its members across the world towards making life more meaningful for members of the community around its headquarters in Lagos.

The Governor observed that Deeper Life has by those projects demonstrated its willingness, not only towards the spiritual uplift of its members but also on the quality of life of the people irrespective of religious inclinations.

Ambode said, “What Deeper Life Church has done is epochal and keys into the overall drive of the State Government under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode towards the renewal of infrastructure projects all over Lagos in line with the mega city ambition of the State. It is my considered view that if all other religious groups and private sector organizations in the state, provide similar support to the Government, a lot will be achieved and in a very short time in improving the quality of infrastructure in our Lagos,”

Expectations are that when formally commissioned, the massive edifice that will become the headquarters and new church auditorium of Deeper Life Bible Church will attract hundreds of thousands of faithful and tourists on a weekly basis. With this will come compounded traffic issues around the Church.

It was for this reason that the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life and elders of the church decided to mobilize its members all over the world to construct a link bridge to ease traffic. This bridge, lying between the main auditorium and the multilevel car park will form a free passage that will ease vehicular and pedestrian movement.

Even the car park was envisioned to also help ease traffic. Before now, faithful parked their vehicles along the adjoining streets as they attended church programmes. These created traffic bottlenecks in the neighbourhood.

But with a car park designed to accommodate more than 700 cars and buses, residents of Gbagada will experience a new lease of life.

Speaking during the commissioning of the projects, the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William F. Kumuyi said his church was mindful of the impact of its growth on the community and was committed to sustained partnerships that will continue to make life better for the people.

Kumuyi who had earlier held a Townhall meeting with leaders of the community credited the success of the projects to the cordial relationship that has existed between the church and its neighbours and promised that a lot more intervention projects are in the offing in the sustained drive by the church to improve the quality of life of the people.

“As a church, we see ourselves as a part of this community. We are deeply concerned has commended the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode for his commitment towards the infrastructure renewal of the state and expressed the disposition of his church towards a partnership that will support the drive of the government towards infrastructure renewal of the state.

Speaking during the commissioning of various infrastructure projects undertaken by the church at the Gbagada area of Lagos, Pastor Kumuyi said the Church is deeply concerned about the comfort of the people of the communities where it is located and will continue to do all within its powers and resources to attract development projects to the people.

Crediting the contributions of the members of the Church and the Lagos State Government for the success of the projects, Pastor Kumuyi assured of the Church’s readiness to continue to partner with the Government on all projects of interest to the community.

He said: “The Lagos State Government under Governor Ambode has been tirelessly working towards renewing the mega city of Lagos and I must say that this has immensely endeared him to the teeming population. What we have done is only a token of support in the drive to ensure there is a collective contribution towards the collective aspiration of the people of this great State for a city of comfort that we all will be proud of.”

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