Testimony of Conversion

My name is Otu O.. I was raised by my mother who is very religious. So from childhood, I have been acquainted with church life. But it was when I completed my secondary school education that a serious interest in Christian living started to take root in my life. This was stirred by the youth movement of the church I grew up in, Celestial Church of Christ [a white garment church]. In the youth group, whose focus many times conflict with that of the mother church, the preaching about sin, salvation, holiness, and heaven was the emphasis and it gripped me.

Before this period, masturbating and pornography were normal for me, and I still attended church without any contrition. God used the youth movement to change all that. I started getting disturbed as I participated in the youth group, and so I prayed to God to help me and save me from my sin. This was around the year 1999.

It was from this point on that my life began to take a turn. I became increasingly uncomfortable with sin and my association began to change. I began to read the Bible and pray, and attend youth meetings, and Christian conferences within the Pentecostal churches. I also started investing in Christian books, but I wasn’t guided. I bought as many as I came across in Christian stores. All I had was zeal. Now, while the youth movement helped me to discern the need for salvation, it didn’t help me much to clarify what the doctrinal emphasis of the church outlined in the Bible was. However, God was helping me as I read His word and read some Christian books to discern what the gospel is all about.

Call to Ministry

Up until I joined Christ Pastors’ Seminary [Now Grace and Truth Theological Seminary], I have been very active with a Charismatic ministry in Lagos. I worked as a full-time ministry worker, playing various roles. I taught in the ministry’s Bible School, I was also involved in the administrative day-to-day running of the ministry. I was the personal assistant to the leader of the ministry. The ministry is involved in organizing seminars aimed at calling people to the centrality of Biblical truth to Christian living and also annual crusades for soul-winning. It is a para-church that functions independently of a local church. Over the years our practices became increasingly foreign to Scripture, the seminars died, and Bible study and Bible School nose-dived. Animism, false teaching and prophesy replaced Bible teaching. It was at this point I and a few members of the ministry began to call for reform, but we were silenced. Hostility increased towards us. It was during this period I came across an advert for free Biblical training at Christ Pastors’ Seminary [CPS] under the auspices of Sovereign Grace Bible Church [SGBC]. I enrolled and completed an eighteen months of biblical and pastoral studies. During the training, I realized that I cannot continue with the ministry I was working with. While I was studying at CPS, I usually discuss with the elders what was happening in the ministry I came from. I wanted them to counsel and guide me. I was told that I cannot remain in such a place. One of my challenges was where to worship since churches that are faithful to biblical truth are very scarce in Nigeria. It was difficult for me to worship with SGBC because I do not live in Lagos. The elders at SGBC told me that more churches must be planted so that better alternatives can exist for those who desire to faithfully serve and worship God. I was told that if there is no such church to attend in my neighborhood I should be considering starting one. In October 2019 I quitted from the ministry I was working in with the full support of my wife. She told me God will take care of us. I started a Bible study in my home. We invite people from the neighborhood and study the Bible together every Sunday evening. I reasoned that if there is no church faithful to biblical teaching, I can as well begin to teach people within our home. In November 2021, after attending the Lagos Bible Conference, one of the elders at SGBC approached me and told me about the pastoral internship program at Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia. It was short notice because the program begins in January of the following year. My wife and I agreed that I should go. In the internship program, I witnessed the various aspect of church life and saw the impact it is having not just on God’s people, but on the community. Despite my feeling of inadequacy, it became very clear to me that if the gospel of Jesus Christ will go forward effectively in our society, and if people will be transformed into true followers of Jesus Christ, having home Bible study is not sufficient, local churches must be planted, where people are not just learning, but are also serving as a family of God’s people, winning souls and teaching them to follow Jesus’ commands. So with this conviction, and the wise counsel of the elders at SGBC, I sensed and am convinced that God is calling me into the pastoral ministry.