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INTERVIEW:Why churches must see children department as a ministry- Pastor Unction

Pastor Unction Timothy Abiodun Olufemi


Pastor Unction Timothy Abiodun Olufemi, the Minister in Charge of Christ Apostolic Church, Praise Chapel, Ile-Ife, Osun State is one of the ministers of God in the Christendom who are called into children ministry and are passionate about it. In this interview with CAC NEWS Editor, 'Gbenga Bankole, Pastor Unction speaks on many issues affecting children department in the Christendom, particularly in CAC.



The Bible refers to children as arrows in the hand of a warrior. What does that mean?

It is a picture of a battlefield where we have arrows in the hands of warriors and there are two warriors. Till today in the realm of the spirit God is a warrior, Satan is also a warrior. Children are arrows in the hands of the warriors and you can be an arrow in the hand of the devil, but when you are an arrow in the hand of the devil he’s shooting against God’s Kingdom. Similarly when you are an arrow in the hands of God he’s shooting you against satanic kingdom. Children are arrows and they are formidable. It depends on the hand which they fall into.


Majority of our assemblies don’t pay adequate attention to children ministry and that is why they can put their children in any building no matter its condition. What do you think is responsible for this?

One of the problems is that they have wrong orientation about children ministry. It is only few churches or assemblies that have visions for their children department. Many churches or assemblies don’t recognize the children ministry. The major reason some of them separate the children from the adult church is to keep them away from disturbing the adults and it is a misconception or wrong orientation. Some of them would just look for volunteer workers to be with them.

Number two, many of our churches or assemblies believe that children do not add value to the church. They believe since they cannot generate fund or pay tithes they don’t add value. Some leaders even see them as liability because they consume church fund and since they know that children church engulfs money and they are not generating money, they see them as liability. Many churches or assemblies neglect the children department because they (churches or assemblies) are income oriented.

At times, majority of churches or assemblies see playlets or recitation of memory verses from the children as a talent show. They don’t see it as ministration. They believe that children are not knowledgeable or they are novice. The vision and passion to labour over them reduce in most of our constituted authorities even from local assemblies to the national, whereas, the devil relentlessly labours over them to catch them young. That is why in numerous activities, devil introduces worldly songs and movies, bad companies and many others to them in order to fulfill its own part of Matthew chapter 12 verse 33 which says “make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognised by its fruit.” The devil is doing his part to make the fruit of children bad or corrupt, while the church neglects their own part of making them good. This is the reason why we are having numerous problems. Our children are too neglected and opened to satanic influences. This results to waywardness and ungodly practices among our children and youths, Pastors' children included. I hate hearing when people say Pastors' children are always misbehaving. I don’t agree with this. It is the irresponsibility or negligence of the parents that made some of them what they are. The Bible says “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The way you train your child will determine what he or she will become in the future. When the devil is busy fulfilling his mandate diligently, some Pastors have neglected their own part of the task and that is the problem.

Pastor Unction ministering to children 


What is your advice to churches or assemblies that neglect the children department?

Beyond seeing these children as a unit or set of people, children development is so delicate, versatile and uncompromising ministry. The churches or assemblies should see children development as a ministry. The Bible says in Mark chapter 10 verse 14: “ but when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them; suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Jesus said this because he saw people neglecting the children. Jesus expressed his annoyance in Luke chapter 17 verses 1 and 2: ”then said he unto his disciples, it is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”  Why did Jesus say this? In James chapter 3 verse 1, the Bible says: “my brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement.” Jesus sees the children department as a ministry and he wants us to see it that way. There is internal contention over these children. The kingdom of darkness is contending to have them, while the kingdom of God is also contending to have them. Jesus will not come down to train them; He needs parents, churches and leaders to capture them. There are three forces God has placed on each child. Like the case of Jehu, Hazael and Elisha. He that escapes the sword of Jehu will not escape the sword of Hazael and if he escapes the sword of Hazael he will not escape the sword of Elisha. Elisha being the priest is the last one. He positioned it in a way that Jehu (being the parent) if he fails, their teachers in school should not fail which is Hazael and if two of them failed, Elisha should not fail. The negligence of the church made the devil to get upper hand over these children leaving us to be complaining over their misbehaviors at all time. If we can see it as ministry from local assembly to the national level, it will be a very great thing.



How should a children church look like?

 I have some recommendations and I will be happy if the model becomes acceptable especially in Christ Apostolic Church. I became a children teacher at the age of 14 at CAC Oke-Ayo Ojoyin, Ile-Ife, Osun State and I was certified a Children Teacher by Christian Education Ministry when I was 15 years and since then I have been on children ministry.  I want to recommend that with the ministry approach, there should be trained and visionary children coordinator and children office at every level. There should be children coordinator office at the assembly level. It should be officially positioned. Same things should be done at Zonal or DCC, State, regional and national level and it should be funded and supported in fullness.

Secondly, according to the constituted composition of Christ Apostolic Church, youth department is divided into three groups which are the Children, Teenager and the Youth. We should not mix them together. We should have separately the children between age 1 to 12, the teenagers between age 13 to 19 and the youth church. We should not put teenagers in youth church. It is really affecting those children. Thank God we are gradually adopting the method at the national level during our annual youth conference. We are beginning to have the result at the national level and what is happening at the national level should repeat itself at the local level. Children and teenagers hall with their equipment should be seen as church major project and with priority.



Can you list some of the equipment that should be in the children church?

In our assembly we have drum set for our children, they have their keyboard, television, DVD, and many more. Many activities that entice them to school should entice them to church. They should have beautified and colourful chairs, tables and pictures. They watch Christian videos on television. They watch other children from all over the world. When they see children from another country at the age of two doing some exploit it motivates them. It is better to build a child than to repair an adult. Our investment should be on our children.

When the church was coming to Nigeria they started from the children because our fathers then didn’t want to leave their idols so they allowed their children to go to church and that is the result of the church we have in Nigeria today. Now that the devil wants to take over the nation again he’s using the same children. Devil is capturing them from tender age. In America presently churches are closing down. According to my research, from 2015 to 2018 over 1000 churches have been closed down in America. Why? They don’t have youth again. When the older generations are dying there is no replacement because they neglected the youth. Specialized orientation and trainings should be given to children teachers at all levels. The teachers should be ministry minded, not just putting anybody to be their teachers. The way some children teachers dress is uncalled for. Children watch you from head to toes and you teach them by example. Children department and activity should be enriching and educative at all levels. We should stop economizing the destiny of the future of our mission and mission in these children. We should invest in their lives. The church should not be in haste to promote our children to occupy space in choir, Royal Shepherds and other departments in the church. They need to be thoroughly trained. They need to pass through training and development required for their making in God’s hand for God’s sake and for their destiny's sake. We should not just put them in choir because there are not enough choristers in the church. It is very wrong. It is like putting the cap that is bigger than them to cover their heads, it will cover their faces and they won’t be able to see clearly. They need to move systematically from children class to teenagers’ class, to youth department before adult. Our church needs a good orientation from even the Pastorate. We should not just be churchy and practicing churchianism . We should engage in thorough discipleship. Jesus Christ while on earth didn’t start a religion. He didn’t ask us to go for congregational church. The great commission He committed into our hands is to make disciples. In some of our assemblies in CAC, out of 52 Sundays, 30 are for anniversaries.  In most of the anniversaries the Pastor will preach for only 10 minutes. When the early church started they were teaching all days. I pray God will help us.



There is a well known minister of God in Nigeria who specializes on children ministry who said that the fact that a child can recite Bible passages or engage in Bible Quiz does not mean that he or she is born again. What do you think could be responsible for this?

I was a victim of such thing. I started preaching even in Ikeji at age 10, whereas I started preaching at the age of 8. Jesus Christ started the same thing at the age of 12, but nobody knows what happened to Him between age 12 and age 30. He was in incubation, to be made and to be trained. We should not be in haste to show up because there is a process of making. Our brain comes to very high peak at the age of 22. Between age 1 and 22 is consummation age to the brain. Between that age, a child can cram the whole Bible. I had a lot of Bible passages in my head when I was small, but that does not make you a child of God. It is not a word in your brain, but a word in your heart. How do we get the word into their hearts? Jesus Christ said to those Jews that “if you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine.” Our children should be continually taught. When I was Children Teacher at CAC Ojoyin, we used to hold midweek service for children apart from Sunday service. I lectured them on Sundays and it was as if it was adult class. Some of the children gained admission to the universities but are still in the children department because of the teachings. It is the same method I use in CAC Praise Chapel here in Ile-Ife. The teaching has attracted a lot of children to our church. Some of them who can’t worship with us on Sundays, worship with us  every Tuesday to hear the word of God. It is not about churchianism, it is about discipleship.


Majority of hip-hop singers either in Nigeria or abroad started singing from the church, but ended up singing to glorify the devil. How can we avoid this in our church?

The Bible says "train up a child in the way he should go” and if you neglect a child there is automatic training from the devil. The devil has positioned his statutory trainers to the children and some of them are movies, hip-hop songs, social media etc. If the parents or the church fail to train them, what devil has planned would corrupt them. For example, if you cultivate land and plant maize, you will see weed that you didn’t growing up with the maize and the same way is the brain of the children.

Number one way to avoid our children from turning to what devil wants is to see them the way God sees them. Secondly, let us train them not for churchianism, but for Christ. For example, I didn’t pierce the ears of my daughter and if you ask her she won’t tell you that it is because she is a CAC member. I let her know biblical reasons I didn’t pierce her ears in order for outsiders not to brainwash her.

At times in the Christendom we train our children for denominationalism, not for Christ. My daughter is proud that she’s being called “Mama Jesus” in school and I let her realize that she needs to be proud of it since they are not calling her after the devil. Parents should train their children in order to have the knowledge and not to feel dejected in the society. Many children are not planted on the solid rock of Jesus, rather on denominationalism. They must have personal encounter with Christ.

Number three, let us use the children according to their potentials and gifts. In CAC Praise Chapel we have children Sunday once in a month. The Sunday is an avenue to see the gifts in them.


As someone who is into children ministry, which website or places can you recommend for parents? 

It is quite unfortunate that there are many places we call Christian gathering that are not Christians at all and that is why parental guidance is advised. You don’t just send your children to any programme, you have to go with them. I went to an event organized for children which my children were eagerly happy to go. As we arrived there they ran into the hall and I and my wife were in the car and suddenly my children ran back to us. I asked them what happened and they told me that “we can’t stay there because they are doing ungodly things.” I didn’t even bother to go there to check we left the place immediately. Parental guidance must be in place.  There are many softwares that you can install on your computer system for children. We have many of them in our church and they are good.

I can recommend the following websites to parents or churches;
 www.kidssundayschool.com/teaching-aids.

www.sundayschoolnetwork.com/free_stuff.html

www.ministry-tochildren.com/lessons

www.mintools.com/teaching-resources.htm

www.childrens-ministry deals.com/collections/free-childrens-ministry-resources

www.kidsofintegrity.com

www.wellequippedvolunteer.com/free-resources-for-childrens-ministry-volunteers

www.biblestudentkids.com


What is your advice to young couples or would-be couples on how to train their children?

My advice to young couples or would-be couples is that the training starts from the womb. You don’t curse your baby even from the womb, you rather pray for the baby. Don’t say negative things and you must caution your mouth because they are picking everything you say even from the womb. Pray for them, call them good names, call them children of God and let their consciousness begin to catch right things. Their brain is like a brand new laptop. You will be the one to install any software you want into it. There are three things that came with the brain of children which are how to suck, how to sleep and how to cry. They learn every other thing, including their language and that is why the Bible says if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do? If we have wrong foundation for them we will have big problem. My advice to young couples or would-be couples is to train their children from childhood. Always be attentive to the children. Whenever they are watching movies always comment about the movies. If it is a good movie, say something good about it and if it bad movie, correct them. Let them realize why it is not good for them. What we know they don’t know it, but most times our nature assumes that they know what we know.

In conclusion, let us remember that there is a difference between leaders sitting in a position and leaders working in a position. If we really work in the leadership position success would be ours. It is our passion and vision that brings the provision. We shouldn’t be saying there is not money. An adage says where there is will that is a way. If we are willing to have our children raised in good standards in our mission there will be a way. When we see children ministry from the eyes of God we will succeed. I pray when the trumpet sounds we shall not be found guilty on any of these children.

1 comment:

  1. Great Sir. I am also a children teacher... You have blessed me this. God bless you and continue to prosper His work in your hands!

    ReplyDelete