By Kolawole Ayinde
THE picture that comes to mind when one hears of a Church, a church generally is that of an organization whose order of service follows the stereotypes .Some can predict the next item on the programme schedule by just taking part in the service.
But the desire for something different from the regular has led many people to the Pentecostal arm of Christianity. Interestingly however, quite a few digs are being taken at the Pentecostals, to the extent that some orthodox Christians now refer to them as ‘penterascals’ because of different avoidable
SPAC Nation London stands as one of the Pentecostal ministries that have stayed clean despite the proliferation that has become a plague, instead of being a blessing to Christendom. One of its features is the domination of the Church by the youths.
The name on many Londoners’ lips right now is SPAC Nation because the Church has risen to prominence from near invisibility. Starting out with just five members less than fifteen years ago, the Church has grown into a force that transcends religion. The growth has been meteoric to say the least.
The Lead Pastor of SPAC Nation, 39 year old Nigerian-born Tobi Adegboyega says a lot of hard work has gone into the mandate given by the Holy Spirit.
“What people see today is a reflection of the unrelenting efforts of the team God has helped us to put together. Its like digging a very deep foundation because you know what structure you have been instructed to build.”
SPAC Nation has taken the gauntlet and gone beyond being a Church in the traditional and conventional sense. One of the major problems plaguing London is the prevalent knife crime and gang wars. Pastor Tobi Adegboyega took it upon himself to personally address the main cause of these unpleasant situations which is a lack of job and educational opportunities.
In Pastor Tobi Adegboyega’s words, “Some of these young ones feel they aren’t starting on the same footing with others based on the fact that some have better opportunities than them. They therefore seek for a way to cover the noticeable gaps by taking to drug sales, gambling and getting involved in all sorts of uncharitable things.”
SPAC Nation has left the pulpit to reach out to these ones and bring them opportunities, ultimately winning them for the Kingdom of God. They have mostly gone from notorious youths and street urchins to becoming ministers of the gospel, while breaking grounds in other areas of endeavour.
According to Pastor Tobi Adegboyega, SPAC Nation has many youths whose lives were a total mess before The Lord led them to SPAC Nation.
“We have Pastor Sam who has given his life a new meaning. He has come out of prison to start a business that has employed many people who were hitherto in his shoes. Many other disturbed youths have been led to SPAC Nation just by seeing what has become of their contemporaries with whom they ran the streets.”
These youths have ditched a life of crime and gangsterism to become hungry for God and hungry for success in other areas of life. Most of them, in their early to mid-twenties have either embraced entrepreneurship or gone back to school. The system at SPAC Nation is one that is a unique setting which is totally different from what obtains in the conventional Church.
The ministry is reported to have opened 23 safe houses around London which are called SPAC Nation TRAP for more than hundred youths. TRAP means Take Risks And Prosper. According to the Head of Safeguarding at SPAC Nation, Christopher Morrison., This laudable initiative is to take many youths off the streets, nurture them and create a change in them. The houses being used are owned and maintained by the leaders of the Church. This is because the foundation does not get any funding by the government.
The support of these Church leaders who have bought into this vision have been very vital as SPAC Nation takes up the gargantuan task of supporting the government in restoring sanity and bringing up law-abiding citizens. Pastor Tobi says it is the least the ministry can do.
“We have the backing of wonderful and supporting people who avail us of their persons and resources as we keep contributing our quota to complement the effort of the government. With them, we have taken giant steps in making SPAC Nation a safe haven where youths come in and make a meaning for their lives, while keeping the ultimate aim of making Heaven sancrosanct.”
SPAC Nation is spreading her tentacles outside of the United Kingdom already. Ghana and Sierra Leone have enjoyed different social welfare packages from the organization whose activities steadily catch a lot of naysayers and critics by surprise. Nigeria is next on the train as Pastor Tobi is scheduled to visit the country with his team before the end of the year.
“Apart from Nigeria being my country of origin, she holds a pride of place in the comity of nations. We cannot therefore look away while many of the youths either live the wrong way or languish in conditions that make it impossible for them to fulfil their God-given potential.”
The SPAC Nation team intends to implement a three-pronged package for the teeming youths of Nigeria.
“We have three main plans for Nigerian youths. The first is job creation. I have seen how prosperity has reduced crime. With more jobs, many who are involved in crimes will be better engaged. We will also support innovative young people who have ideas to bring solutions to niggling issues within their local areas. Third, we will give vocational training to youths by using our existing partnerships with Ivy league schools around the world.”
These programmes will be carried out with the support of vision partners who are in different walks of life in UK and would serve as mentors for the beneficiaries.
Pastor Tobi Adegboyega believes when issues that affect day-to-day life of individuals are properly addressed, leading to an improvement in the quality of life, preaching Heaven to such people will be much easier.
“If you help people to give their life a meaning while here, they will listen to you when you tell them to live Christ-like lives, and they will find Christ and aim to make Heaven at the end of their time here.”Pastor Tobi stressed.
He has also said in many fora that the empowerment issue which has been scheduled for next year has no political undertone of any kind.