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INTERVIEW: How Ministers of God can manage stress- Pastor Abraham

Pastor Akinsokeji O. Abraham


Pastor Akinsokeji O. Abraham is the Assembly Pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, Mount Of Blessing English Assembly, Yaba  Lagos. He speaks with 'Gbenga Bankole on how ministers of God can manage stress and other health related issues. EXCERPT! 


Kindly tell us briefly about your knowledge when it comes to health issues

I know from time and from childhood that health is wealth. To be healthy simply means you are rich already. Health is not something that anyone should joke with, not even Pastors or ministers. You must take proper care of yourself. We do also say in the Christendom that cleanliness is the younger brother to holiness. Holy Spirit himself does not live in a dirty environment. God Himself knows that we must be healthy. Divine health is senior to divine healing. As much as divine healing is good, divine health is the supreme.



What is the importance of sound health?

The importance of sound health cannot be overemphasized. If we were to bring experts here, I mean medical practitioners, they have a lot to tell us. I am not a medical practitioner from onset, but I have been privileged to know a bit about health which I have also put in practice and I have seen its benefits. There is no how we can talk about sound health without connecting it to the Bible. God said in the book of Exodus to the Israelites that He is the LORD that heals them, but the condition is that they should not defile themselves by eating or drinking just anything they liked. This simply means that divine health gives us protection. It secures us from whatever that is expected to befall us. Also, divine health gives us long life. In the last verse of Psalm 91, the Bible says “with long life will I satisfy thee.” It takes a man with sound health to live long. Sound health makes our organ to function very well. A healthy man is a man that is able to think straight. He knows what to do at all time. Sound health contributes to our hygiene and body.



How can ministers take care of their health despite their tight schedules?

This is very important for all ministers. I was privileged to be on the mission field. I served for almost 20 years in the northern part of this country and I remember that between 2004 and 2006 I was in a typical village with my wife and my baby. Despite the fact that we were in a village, I made sure I lived in a very healthy environment. I was privileged to have a book with me entitled “Where There is no Doctor.” I read and digested that book and I learnt so much from it. Today, do we read as ministers to know what to eat and  what not to eat? Thank God for the Holy Spirit. We depend on Him for strength, but we must understand that it is only the living that can serve the Lord. The dead cannot serve God. Somebody who is down with illness cannot conduct revival. Ministers of God must know that health is very important. It is important for ministers to go for medical checkup. Even if you have never done it before, try to do it once to know your medical state. You can easily do your PSA, test your cholesterol, know your sugar level and the rest. Failure to do necessary medical tests will result to illness.  Health is very important, especially to the minister of God.

Last year I did two medical checkups. In last July I was there, they looked at my body system, took my blood sample and perfectly my result was okay. When one of the members of my church who is a medical practitioner said I need to do the test again before the end of the year I said with all pleasure I will do it so that I will be able to serve God better. If I am strong I can serve God better. I conducted the second test and she was glad of having my result. One of the things God helps me to do is I sleep regularly. God has blessed me with that and He knows that I appreciate it.



How can ministers of God manage stress?

If you don’t create time for yourself as a man of God, you will break down one day. When a minister of God breaks down these days people usually say it is an attack from the devil, but the actual truth is that not all the illnesses are spiritual attacks or arrows.

Ministers of God can manage stress by proper planning of their programmes. If you hold a programme of 7 days or 21 days, you need to create time to rest before holding another programme. You can manage stress by delegating authority. Not everything in the church must center on you as a minister. Try to delegate authority. At times you may decide to let your members or other ministers in the church run the programme from the beginning to the end. You will be blessed and gain from them, and also know how to correct them. By doing that, your body system will be relaxing.

A minister of God must also have a very responsible home. He must have a responsible wife and children. A man of God who doesn’t have a well befitting home, after he has worked in the church for hours will have no choice than to be drinking garri and eating groundnuts.

I have learnt so much when it comes to health issues in the ministry. There was a time I fell victim of not managing myself. As a young minister then I was running from one place to another until I broke down. I knew what I went through. The following Sunday of that week, my wife and one of my friends took me to church like Pope. They had to take me side by side. I got to my seat and I sat from the beginning of the service till my pastor friend share the grace and I couldn’t say any word.

We should learn how to delegate authority because before we were born people were doing the work of God. Now that we are here, we are doing it, after our exit people will continue to do it.



What is your advice for Revivalists who usually go from one assembly to another holding programmes almost on weekly basis without considering their health?

I want to advise all revivalists to take their health with all level of seriousness. I even hear some of them boastfully saying that for some months they have not gone home, but they should know that it is nothing to boast with. You are a married man. You are not firewood, likewise not a stone. As a married man or woman, sex is part of enjoying health and body exercise. As a revivalist you are jumping from one place to another, the question is, who is responsible to that woman?

Another issue with revivalist is that they eat anywhere. They eat all manners of food and different kinds of people prepare their food. They don’t care where they eat or what they eat. The Bible says wisdom is profitable to direct, in all thy getting, get wisdom.

I encourage all revivalists and freelance ministers to take their health very important. You can jump from one place to another today because you are alive. If you mistakenly fall down, the work continues.

Holy Spirit taught me that the message ministers receive is received by force and it is also released by force. We were told in a research that if an average man goes to work from 8am to 5pm, he will still have one hour break, unlike a minister of God. If a minister of God is to minister for 30 minutes or one hour, the one hour covers six hours of an average labour force. Between the 30 minutes of morning devotion or one hour of Sunday sermon, everything in you is working. You can imagine a minister doing that consecutively on weekly basis moving from location or state to another, he will break down. Some people don’t know that environment contributes to our illnesses.

I encourage all ministers to take their health very important.


What are the types of food ministers should not eat before ministration?

Before stating what to eat or not before ministrations, I want to say how you fuel your body before you step out to lectern, is as important as other practices and preparations. The reason being that, careless consumption can make anxiety even worse and lead to untimely gastrointestinal  gaffes.



# What Not To Eat/Drink

●Caffeinated Drinks: can increase movement & irritation.

●Fatty/Heavy Food: are harder for the stomach digest.

●Alcohol: can cause imbalances in utterances.

●Sugar-Free Food/Drinks: can cause bloating & gas unnecessarily.



What To Eat/Drink

★Bananas

★Rice

★Applesauce

★Toast

★Ginger/Candied Ginger

★Honey

★Mint/Peppermint

★Hot Tea

★Fennel

★Cinnamon

★Papaya/Paw paw

★Artichoke Leaves

Note: It's important to know that HEALTH IS WEALTH. CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO HOLINESS.

A sick nan cannot serve God effectively. Neither a dead man; So, Ministers Of The Most High God, take good care of yourselves.



You said earlier that you went for medical check-up last year, what is your advice to ministers regarding going for regular medical checkups?

Truly we serve a living God and I bless God for CAC because we believe strongly in divine healing. That is one of our heritage from our fathers and sincerely I do not dispute divine healing. But like I said earlier, as much as divine healing is good, divine health is better. If I want to cling to divine healing, I must still desire divine health because prevention is better than cure.


What is the negative effect of fasting for many days without food?

Fasting is good because it serves as spiritual booster for us and we can’t do without it. Fasting is contrary to the nature, but because of its spiritual blessing, anointing and God’s presence that we draw from it, we can’t cancel them.

However, if must go on fasting what do you have to eat? Our ministers need to eat well. Give your wife money and let her go to market to buy you something that is good to eat. So if you are fasting you will know that at the end of everyday fast, you have something good to eat.



Secondly, you must know how your body system responds to food. When you are finishing your fasting, what is your intake? Are you taking “Apu” immediately? If have to fast I can take any food to break the fast and it is because my body allows it. I have understood my body to that level and that does not mean I won’t take fruits. Do our ministers take fruits? If I am having programme by 6pm and I want to break my fast before going, common sense demands that I should break by 3pm, take my shower and eat fruits. I will take my meal after I have returned from the revival. The fruits must have sustained me. Our ministers need to learn from this.

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