Soul-winning has been described as the bedrock of true evangelism, symbolized by the laying of the Bible on a bishop’s neck during consecration – a charge on him to preach the undiluted word of God and defend it.
This was made known by the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Yewa, the Rt. Rev. Simeon Adebola, during this year’s Bishops’ Retreat held at St. Peter’s Chapel, Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
The Bishop drew heavily from many Bible passages to highlight the message of evangelism, where Christ, he said, “attaches tremendous importance to evangelism” and summed up that “the bishop must be an evangelist”.
Bishop Adebola observed that although the Anglican Communion is to be emulated in its methods of worship and liturgy, it must improve its passion to win souls for Christ. Hence, he charged the Church to focus on depopulating the kingdom of darkness by winning souls for God’s kingdom.
He advised his fellow Bishops to be committed to evangelism and train their Clergy, who in turn must train their congregation. And, he implored that trainees should be taught right from the seminaries to see soul winning as their main priority, so that when they come out they are more conscious of what they have been called to do.
On the state of the nation, the Rt. Rev. Simeon Adebola said that Churches are growing but so also is corruption. He therefore opined that to save this country, all denominations must work together as one. He called on brother Bishops not to be preoccupied with some other businesses, which though important are secondary to the winning of souls. He emphasized that the gospel should spread like a wildfire in harmattan.
In linke manner Bishop of Gombe Anglican diocese, the Rt. Rev. Henry Ndukuba pointed out that the world and the Church are faced with the problem of leadership because most leaders are selfish, greedy and they manipulate the system and the people to achieve their own agenda. The Bishop noted that the problem of the society today is lack of true leadership adding that even the Church is not exempted.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Who are you?’, Bishop Ndukuba explained that as a leader in God’s Church, a Bishop must be answerable to God who has called him.
The Preacher observed that many have forgotten who they are, what God has called them to do and those whom God has committed to their hands. Therefore, he said there is need to set in order certain principles, which according to him are faith that is nurtured by the word of God, Character that is built up by obedience in God, and humility that is the hallmark of service in God’s kingdom.
The Bishop of Gombe Anglican diocese called on fellow Bishops to realize that their calling is a gift given not based on qualification, but by the mercy of God, adding the words of Paul who wrote that people are what they are by the grace of God. He quoted copiously from the Scriptures and highlighted the Apostle Paul’s response to certain questions that according to him, all must answer. One of which, he said is the question of identity. Bishop Ndukuba pointed out that the identity of every Christian is embedded in Christ because they have been bought with a price; adding that they must therefore as debtors, labour to please Him who has called them.
The Rt. Rev. Henry Ndukuba observed that in the process of manipulating the system and the people to achieve selfish goals, the word of God is no longer central; the main purpose of soul winning is lost. He concluded by stressing that the Church must be built on Christ and not man’s wisdom. He posited that God will challenge the leaders of the Church on their identity, the authority by which they operate, their message to His people and their obedience to His instructions.