Bishop Ada Gordon-Osagiede Jnr, is the young, vibrant and highly articulare General Overseer of Spirit and Life Family Bible Church (SLFBC) worldwide, and the President, Godhead Ministry, comprising Jesus Women Fellowship, New Men in Christ Fellowship and Anointed Children Fellowship.
Since taking over as Bishop of the Church over a year ago, following the eternal translation of his parents, Bishop Ada Gordon Erhauyi Osagiede Jnr has firmly taken on the huge task of leading one the fastest-growing Pentecostal Churches in Nigeria, nay Africa.
In this Special Chat with THE NIGERIAN OBSERVER, through our Editors, Special Project, TUNDE EIGBIREMOLEN and OBOH SYLVESTER, Bishop Gordon-Osagiede Jnr opens up on his upbringing, background and the task of leading Spirit and Life Family Bible Church and reflects on other sundry national issues.
Congratulations Bishop. Kindly introduce yourself to our readers by way of letting us into your background, your training and what prepared you for the office of Bishop of Spirit and Life Bible Church.
By the Grace of God, my name is Gordon Ada Erhauyi Osagiede Jr. And by all that God has done, I serve right now as the General Overseer, Spirit and Life Family Bible Church, and also, the President of the Godhead Prayer Ministry. I am a child of God, a family man with three (3) children – 12, 9 and 7. I have been married for sixteen (16) years now. I had my formal education from Lydia Primary School to UDSS to Igbinedion Secondary School, Benin City and finally I did my university in Arizona, USA.
I have my Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Leadership and I have a Master’s Degree in Church Administration. By God’s Grace I am jostling to finish my Ph.D programme, but things changed so there is a little delay but it is in view and will all get done in Jesus Name.
Spirit and Life Family Bible Church like we all know started with and focused on preaching holiness and righteousness. Has the focus changed?
Thank you for that. Our focus has never changed from preaching the Gospel. It is not a particular thing of necessarily preaching only on holiness and righteousness; we are a church that preaches the all-Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we are firm believers of holiness, righteousness; which I teach; and you know all of those things are never attained alone by man’s efforts. They are all positions that we receive in Christ Jesus. So the more as a church we continue to preach about the Gospel of Jesus the more you find people living holy lives and walking in righteousness. That is our message, it has never changed. We preach the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ that has always been our focus.
There is this powerful message about your ministry. “Evangelism is our Supreme Task”. What is the strategy for expanding this Evangelism? How do you evangelise the youth and involve them in church activities in order to impact their behavioral pattern?
Yes, Evangelism is still our supreme task. Thank God for that amazing word, because my parents used to always say that. So it has remained and continues to remain our supreme task, because our mandate as a church is turning millions to Jesus and His finished work. So that is our mandate. We are always about evangelism. We have come to also recognise that method of evangelism ten, fifteen, twenty years ago is different from evangelism today. We have to adapt, we have to adjust, we have to know your audience and the environment you are; like you said, we are a society that has more young people; from my generation downwards, we have more of that. And as a church, we are not naive about that. So our strategy for Evangelism is constantly being adjusted, so when it comes to young people, I think the answer to that is always, which is what we are doing; meeting them where they are. What is it that the young person is engaged in right now? What is it that catches their fancy? What are they excited about? As a church, we have to adapt to that. The vision does not change, but our methods, our strategists, we are always looking at it and formulating plans on how to reach today’s youth.
You know, the youths in Benin City for example, are different from the youths in Lagos. Every environment is different. So as a church, we are really focus on that and to adapting the message, we do not lose its strength. We are not watering down the message, but how do you get it to them. So we are very focused on that.
Our ministry has a very strong youth ministry; we have a very strong youth gathering. One of our major strong youth body we have in the church and the Ministry is Youth of Excellence. And Youth of Excellence body is very active concerning youth affairs. We have Campus Fellowships, we have a church in Ekosodin for instance by the University of Benin. So we are very engaged with today’s youth. But we can always do better, we can always improve. So, our focus on the youth is very up to date.
Since you took over as Bishop of the church, obviously, there may have been some challenges you met on ground. What these challenges and how have you been going about surmounting them?
Yes, Ministry is not a joke. I am not speaking for everybody, but generally, people from outside may look at a Pastor wherever they are and assume everything is always smooth. When they may see a Sunday Service, see the blithering and likes they may forget that this same man has to go through … and had meetings. And things may not have worked out well in the meetings. You know salary matters, budget matters, events, projects, welfare. All of these things are not just pray and go to bed. You have to keep planning. So for me, there is not been any. I give God the Glory for these, because from my father, Apostle Gordon Erhauyi Osagiede of blessed memory and my beloved mum, they did in my opinion and everyone’s opinion as a church excellently well. I mean, I give them over an A+. They did excellent job in the church – Impacting our lives, impacting leadership, impacting the members, impacting young people.
So in the area of challenge, I have not and expect not to by God’s Grace, I have not experience any major challenge. Spirit and Life Family Bible Church, we have not had any leadership issues that you hear around – The leaders, pastors and directors of the church excellent men and women of God. So we do not have any of that.
So the only thing we talked about, which to me is not a challenge; is just that: this is where we are now, how do we go forward, and what is God saying. So I do not have any major challenge. I would just say if there is any challenge, it is just me adjusting to responsibilities. Personally, adjusting the responsibilities – My phone calls may probably be 2 or 3 before, now that are ten, twelve to fifteen calls and holding meetings, travelling and the likes. I will not call that major challenges, but I just call that higher responsibilities.
We like you to educate our readers for instance, on your church programmes and activities. Because most times, church programmes reinforce the vision and mission of the church. So let us into some of these programmes towards keeping the vision intact.
Yes, we have various activities geared towards various segments or aspect of the church. We have programmes also like our Godhead Prayer Ministry for instance; an Interdenominational Ministry that has to do with the New Men In Christ Fellowship, then Jesus Women, so all these are programme for men, programmes for women, for youths, for children.
So we have programmes that are geared towards making sure that the vision continues to move in that area of Evangelism as Our Supreme Task. So we have major outreach programme that was inaugurated a couple of years ago, but now is coming to the forefront which we call Jesus Believers Outreach (JBO). And that outreach is to reach out quarterly when we go out on Evangelism en masse, reaching people one-on-one. We have strategies also by God’s Grace – we focus on family, we have we call or that Apostle had in the church called – Your Family Matters to God – that deal with members of your family – husband, children, the home life, We have programmes for youth, we are always having youth programmes; various initiatives as regarding empowering the youth. We just had a major youth programme recently – one of our families in Ugbowo called EMERGE for instance, we have various programmes taking place in various locations concerning our virtuous women, Men of Valour Fellowship, so the church is not out of programmes.
All of that is to constantly strengthen the vision. And like I said we are constantly adapting. I am a firm believer that whenever you do not adapt to your environment, you become irrelevant. You can have all the anointing, but if that anointing can’t adapt to the environment, you will just be anointing yourself.
So our family Bishop and Apostle taught that to us. They made it very clear to us. So we always have programmes.
You cannot divorce politics from the society and even the church. What is your philosophy about politics?
Yeah, politics, I used to hear this statement that politics is a dirty game. I have come to realise that politics is not a dirty game. It is people who are dirty, when the play politics, they make it a dirty game. I believe that politics in its core, it’s supposed to be about the people. Anything you hear about politics is always about the people. I look at politics and pastoring almost the wave length. If you say you are pastor, you are for the people. If you say you are a politician, you are for the people. So I believe that our challenge over time is that we have not had enough (because I do not want to group everybody) – we do not have politicians who are about the people. We have not had enough. And because we do not have enough politicians who are really about the people, the society struggles. Nigeria by God’s Grace, I believe is moving forward slowly and steadily, but that again goes back to the fact that we have not had enough politicians who are really about the people.
So my philosophy about politics is, as a church, I in my own sphere of influence, by God’s grace, is constantly raise up Christians and leaders using the word of God to raise the right type of people who become the right type of politicians and think about the people. Because politics is always about the people and if you do not have politicians who are people-minded, then the society does not get the best that is supposed to get.
Our parents in the Lord left a very big shoe, because they achieved a lot in evangelism. Are there programmes to keep their memories?
You know, family Bishop and Apostle they are lives is much larger that you can imagine; for the time that they served. And so, in keeping their memories, in keeping them alive in the heart of the people and generally, is to first of all, live my life is such a way they have impacted. There is no greater way to express gratitude to people like them, if you do not live out what they taught you. The first and most important way I think I can show my gratitude and show the people that I am putting their memory properly is; I as their son live in such a way that I will not bring shame to their name. That is the best memory I can give them. When people think of me by God’s Grace or thinks about my parents, they will believe that I was raised by and that they train me well.
Then secondly, as a church, I have instituted so to speak, in our year and major Convention, we would always be having what we call our Founders’ Day. In our Founders’ Day, which is in December, we use that day to celebrate all the things that concerns their lives; all the things that their lives represented. So we have our Convention coming up in December 8 to 12, 2021, it will be taking place in our major facility in Ekenwan. It is a day set aside for Founders’ Day. We appreciate them, we listen to their messages, things that concern their lives, things that Daddy always talked about, things that Mummy always enjoyed doing and talked about, so we celebrate this every year. This is excluding days of their birthday, Founding Bishop was April 7, and Apostle was January 25. And excluding that other programmes that we always use to highlights the things that they did.
There is a maiden programme that Apostle was also championing an NGO called Women in the New Nigeria (WINN). That is also a part of her legacy that we used to also to remember her and the things that she did. For every person that their lives impacted, this is something I always shared to the church, for every persons their lives impacted, the best way to honour them is not just to say I am a member of Spirit and Life Bible Church or I knew Apostle or I knew the founding Bishop. Live out the life, live out the things they taught you. That is the best memory you can always honour the person.
Recently there was this free Bus transportation EGOS by your Ministry. What is the idea behind that and secondly, what is the relationship between Spirit and Life Bible Church and the other Christian umbrella bodies like Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)?
Yes, there is a programme; there is a vision that before Apostle transition, she had always had unique attachment to Edo State. The people in Edo State generally had been good to her. And God gave her the vision of Jesus Women over the years.
And Benin women today had their link to Jesus Women one way or another. And in that, because of her upbringing to grow in a loving home, from her father who was a Police Commissioner years ago in the old Bendel State, she always had this passion and pain in her heart to see how children were going to school. She believed a child should not struggle to go to school at that age – trying to catch transportation and things like that. And these are things basically, unfortunately if we have effective government that is doing what it was supposed to do, the least amongst should not be struggling. So her idea was to provide buses. The programme is called EGOS – Eunice Gordon School Free Bus Shuttle.
The whole idea was she was going to acquire buses to ply certain routes in the city, in the morning pick up children from wherever they are and bus them to school drop them along the routes free of charge and come again and bus them back.
So that initiative is ongoing and we are in a state right now to refine it and want to make it better. We launch it during her coronation week. I personally believe that we can always do better. The major challenge we have had is that our roads are so bad and the buses have not been able to fair well as desired. So there is plan on ground to meet the committee and look at because the vision will continue. That has always been in her heart – that dream to take the Edo Child to school free-of-charge is there and that will always be a lasting legacy for her life.
In the area of our church in relationship to other Christian bodies, especially Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), we have a great relationship and we thank God for that. During the passing of Founding Bishop, especially for Apostle, PFN and CAN were great blessing. They showed up in their number, they were represented and were very encouraging to my person. From the leadership, Rev. Oyenude Kure, Pastor (Mrs.) Agbonifo, they were thinking around and encouraging. So Spirit and Life Bible Church, PFN and CAN, the relationship cannot get any much better. The relationship is great and I thank God for that. And I hope and trust them to continue and will continue to get better.
There used to be an organisation called All Gospel Ministers’ Association of Nigeria (AGOMA), founded by the Founding Bishop, does AGOMA still exists?
AGOMSA right now is on hold. Yes! For the pastors and leaders who came through AGOMA and everything. It was a vision that Apostle especially ….. used to dream about to bring about these leaders and ministers together; because that is an assignment. For me I do not do things just to do things. I want to make sure that whatever is taking place is being led by the Spirit of God. But there is still relationship with the Pastors, we still interact, but the fellowship as whole right now has not met yet.
As a young Bishop, what impact do you hope to make to set landmarks to be remembered as Bishop of Spirit and Life Bible Church?
Well to put them in an order, the first thing I want to be remembered as a great husband and family man. I take my family before ministry work. It is my number one assignment. I want to be remembered as a great father to my children. Because at the end of the day, the members of the church can say nice things about me, but if my children can say the same thing or even better, to me it is a problem.
I take pleasure in wanting to be remembered as a husband, remembered as a father. Then my legacy apart from all of that, is to be remembered as someone who gave it all to preach the gospel. Who take the gospel as far as he should take it; who was innovative to bring the gospel to a generation of people. I want to be remembered as someone who took risk for the Kingdom. Because I believe that in today’s environment, if you do not and not willing to take guided risks – because we have the Holy Spirit to guide us – then you can just remain in a place for years and not grow. I want to be known as someone who took the Gospel, who was passionate about the Gospel, who was nice and generous, someone who people should be able to say that is Erhauyi’s son; that is Apostle Eunice’s son. That would be a joy in my heart … all said and done.
Lastly, As a Minister of the Gospel what is it that gives you joy on daily basis, do you have happiest moments?
Happiest moments are always being with my family, being with my wife and kids. I have been in Benin City now for a while, I miss them and they miss me. And they are getting used to this going to Benin again; Dad’s responsibility has changed. They are wondering why are you always going to Benin, you went last time and you are going again, I have to sit down and be explaining. So my happiest moments is always with my family – being with my wife and kids, my siblings, my brothers and sister and getting to grow in our relationship and know each other and figuring all of these out.
Happiest moments are also when I preach the Gospel. I get great joy in sharing God’s heart to people and seeking a person taking God’s word and saying Pastor I have started doing what you have said, I am seeing results and testimony is coming out of it, is my greatest joy.
I like to play golf; it is also a great joy and strong mental help for me. It is a quiet day you can hear a voice.
And I think any sad moment for me is when I hear, especially someone in the Church has lost a life or something. I have heard different news here and there. I get to …. others experience, I know how the pain is. Immediately my heart goes out; I can imagine the pain. For me as a leader, these are always sad moments. For the moments people are probably suffering from something that they should not suffer because government is not doing certain things. As a church we are trying to give welfare to people, medical bills, children school fees, sometimes you cannot do much because of what we have. So these are the moments that aches my heart. So as a leader, as a church, it is always dear thing in my heart to help out as much as I can.
Spirit and Life, Godhead as a whole has been a household name since the 90s. Where do you intend to take the ministry to in the next ten year, God helping you?
My desire is take the ministry as far as our eye can see. The reason I said is that our Founding Bishop and Apostle have shown us what is possible. You had a man who did not grow up in home where his father was a preacher. He was a lecturer in the university. Then you had a woman whose father was not a preacher, but a Commissioner of Police; and they started this assignment from the scratch. They did not break up from one church and carry members, and look at what God did in their lives. So for us, who know better, who basically are not starting from the scratch, it is like the table has been created, just come to dine; there is separation, you cannot go beneath that. From the Pastors, from myself, from the leaders, it is will be an insult to their persons, we should know better. Is like Jesus Christ explaining to the Disciples, they know better. So I was able may be to pick out a thousand, you should be able to pick out a hundred thousand. So I expect and looking forward to raise ….. I see it, I believe it, I believe the church, and we have been set up for success. We have not been set for failure that is why I said for me and for my leadership role, there is no major challenge, it is just to pick up and continue. I am not trying to do something somewhere and something is broken down somewhere, no. It has always been adjustments, whether it is structurally or otherwise, but not challenge. So we can go as far as we want to go and that is where us as leadership are here, the only thing that can stop us is us. So no devil incarnate can stop us. God told Abraham, as far as you eye can see, so I am looking forward to it.
Insecurity is a serious problem in Nigeria today. It is even threatening religion, Christianity and the society. As a man of God what in your opinion do you think should be the solution?
Well, as a man of God, as a Christian, the first approach we take or we should take is prayers. I always used to imagine our president, whoever it is, just like the Bible days, calling the nation just to prayer and really mean it not just talk. Some people will say we have been praying; I believe it is prayers that have kept Nigeria from disintegration and scattering. I mean prayer has done its work. Yes!
We are not where we want to be, but based on what we have experience as series of attack, all that has been happening like assassination, etc, everybody will be carrying AK47. So God in His own Grace has helped this nation. I always made this statement; I made it to the church and to people; if not for the church, yes, we have our flaws, we are not perfect like anything else, but if not for the church, all these Sunday services, I feel God uses these Sunday Sunday services wherever they are, to encourage people. Is like God use very cold water to just calm everybody down, because people are raging, people are angry, so they hear a word from God, everybody is calmed down and says, God dey. That has helped the issue.
So for insecurity, number one, we need prayers, and then number two I think it back to what I said earlier. We need politicians, those in government, in leadership to really care; to really stand up and care for the Nigeria person. This is not an ethnic matter; this is not a tribal matter, because people are dying. People are dying, you hear kidnapping, assassination, killings, it just ache your heart. You hear pastors kidnapped, you hear church members kidnapped. It is unfortunate that at night, wherever you are people are visibly scared, driving around with policemen, that is a very restricted life. You can’t just go and have some good time somewhere, you to carry policemen there, not because you want, but it is unfortunate. When you travel abroad, you see a governor sitting a restaurant drinking tea nobody is bordering him.
But here, when you see this kind of restricted life you know that there something is hiding somewhere. So for solutions, our leaders have to really know that if they do not stand up to this, it will come back and bite you. It will end up coming to your own door step. You may think it is far away from you, it will end up coming to your door step and you do not know what is brewing.
And I do not if I should say this, but you could see even with that little thing that started with that ENDSARS matter, it was like a tickle time bomb somewhere, it will just spark. So people have to know that you are addressing security matters; they have to know that you are holding the culprits or else, you are bending ticking time bomb.
So my prayer and desire is that we have politicians stand up and take their role and call out what needs to be done and arrest people who are financing insecurity and not just talk about it, so that Nigerians can begin to have hope. It is costing us too much.