CAC Yaba DCC Headquarters Choir holds Annual Retreat

By Osifuye Samuel Olamide

In a time when the troubles of the world battles to quench the zeal and fire of God in the lives of believers, the Choir of Christ Apostolic Church Yaba Districts' Coordinating Council (DCC) Headquarters, Lagos State, has held her annual retreat.

The two-day retreat with the theme "Rekindling the fire of a music minister for God’s glory" was held outside of the church’s walls at Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th February, 2024.

The Choir Master and Chief Organist, Elder S.K Anan ably represented by the Assistant Choir Master, Elder Sesan Taiwo, while delivering his welcome address expressed his profound gratitude to God for the love and grace given to the choir members to have been chosen to be vessels in His vineyard, while commending the choir members for their cooperation all through the years.

He said the topic for the retreat was necessitated by the discovery of a gradual loss of interest to serve God in the lives of people, charging the participants to be open-minded and ready to unlearn and relearn for a maximum impartation at the retreat.

The CAC Yaba DCC Superintendent, Pastor S.E.A Oludare who graced the retreat spoke on the retreat theme reading from 2 Timothy 1:6, charged the choristers to see themselves as ministers and not ordinary singers because the music gifts they have are given by God for the use of His glory.

"As a music minister, you should not compare yourself with secular musicians because your services are to God, not humans. And no matter the high level of your energy and charisma, you cannot fulfill God’s purpose for your life if your music ministry does not glorify God," Pastor Oludare said.

The Superintendent said that, "Reduction or outright quenching of your spiritual fire may be as a result of various factors such as unmanaged success, overconfidence, solitary life or separation from the brethren, outright sin, living as men pleases, and carelessness. Matthew 26 vs. 41 says ‘watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’. Sole reliance in your physical strength, abilities, wisdom, etc is a sign of carelessness (1Samuel 2vs.9). To rekindle the fire, you must repent and acknowledge God as the one who gave you the talents, then reconnect yourself with spirit-filled persons as seen in the book of Hebrews 10vs25."

Taking a lecture on the topic "Striking a balance between musical excellence and our intimacy with God," Maestro Seun Owoaje, told the choristers that, "to be musically excellent, one has to faithfully attend rehearsals, pay attention to instructions, learn at all available opportunities, and performing as best as we can."

“Intimacy with God means putting God at the centre of one’s life. Psalms 119:11 simply tells us that to be intimate with God, you must have a detailed knowledge of God and this can be done only by studying the word of God. With this, you will know all He wants from you, and by that, you will please Him. To strike a balance, we can equate musical excellence and intimacy with God, with character and competence. Beloved, just as you need both sides of a coin for it to be authentic, presentable and usable, we need both musical excellence and God-intimacy as Music Ministers" he said.

Another impactful session of the retreat was a lecture on "The impact of mental health on the productivity of a music minister’, which was delivered by a Psychiatrist at the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Adekitan Adetoke.

Establishing a foundation for her lecture, Dr. Adetoke said "mental health disorders are not uncommon. In Nigeria, an estimated 20%–30% of our population is believed to suffer from mental health disorders. This is a very significant number considering Nigeria has an estimated population of over 200 million."

According to the Psychiatrist, "As a music minister, if you stopped attending choir practices, opted out of the choir or stopped attending a church just because you were disciplined by the leadership of the choir, it shows you are mentally unstable.

Other signs of mental health disorder to look out for are frequent conflicts with fellow choristers or church members, memory lapses, lack of confidence, indecisiveness, increased absenteeism, etc. They may also look tired and worn out, which is a sign of depression. They may appear anxious and withdrawn from things they enjoyed previously, eating habits may change, etc."

The last lecture for the retreat, "Attaining musical excellence through effective music training" was delivered by Professor Albert Oikelome, an interactive session where the musical talents and skills of the participants were put to mild tests.

Taking its foundation from 2 Timothy 2:15 ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth’, and ‘Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. Psalm 33:3 (NLT)’ Pastor Oikelome established the reason music ministers must achieve excellence.

“An excellent music minister skillfully plays an instrument or sings to glorify God. The human ears are wired to appreciate good sounds. So, the skill in your ministrations is what will attract and catch the attention of people, while God takes over their heart from there. The choir is an organized group of talented people singing together to a set audience under the supervision of a choir director. The aim of h thise choir is to sing as one. The core of the choir activities is singing. All other activities complement the singing" Prof. Oikelome said.

Adding flavour to the retreat was the birthday celebration done in honour of the wife of the Assistant Choir Master, Mrs. Olusola Sesan-Taiwo on Saturday, 24th February, 2024.

The retreat was closed with a fatherly blessing from the minister-in-charge, CAC Mount of Blessing, Yaba DCC Headquarters (English Chapel), Pastor Abraham Akinsokeji, as the clergy committed the participants to the care and guidance of the Most High for a greater grace than the past for a holy and acceptable service.

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