SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2011
MISSIONARY DIOCESES AS MISSION OUT POSTS
In obedience to the divine mandate of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Matt. 28v19(a): “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”, the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion responded by creating Missionary Dioceses.
Uppermost in the mind of the Anglican Church was evangelism. To reach unchurched areas and more so where Anglican presence was not felt, a Missionary Diocese was put in place to carter for thirsty souls for the gospel.
We thank God this laudable programme of evangelism took off in earnest and testimonies abound of their exploits especially in winning souls for Christ. On the side of church planting the report has not only been good but commendable as people no longer trek distances to the goodnews of the kingdom but it has now been brought to their doorsteps.
At the last review recently of their missionary efforts at Ibru Centre, all Missionary Dioceses gave cheering reports, it was amazing what God has done through this incursion in the ministry in so short a time.
Although, their efforts are not without challenges. For most of the Missionary Dioceses are still grappling with bishops courts, befitting Cathedral, personnel to man some newly found congregations, infrastructure (may be as residential areas for would be church workers and offices), and also lack of fund to tackle some pressing issues like stipend of workers.
However, it is very touching that the good intention of the church of reaching the unreached may be slowed down as a result of lack of funds. Some people volunteered to help these Missionary Dioceses but I think the economic down turn may have affected them from fulfilling their financial commitment to these areas.
Yet, the work of God must go unhindered. Yes, it is said that “he who wins a soul is wiser”.
The Anglican Church in Nigeria will not relent in their mission in helping Missionary Dioceses to continue to be mission outposts for winning of souls to the Lord of the church. All nations must be discipled for Christ.
This is why we commend highly the recent bold step of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, led by His Grace, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, that today 27th February, 2011; all Anglican Churches in the Communion are directed to turn over all their collection in support of the work going on in the missionary areas of the Communion. This does not mean that Dioceses that are not missionary are not doing evangelical work; rather those of them in Missionary Dioceses require financial help in order to break even and do further exploit for the Lord. This move of the church is biblical for Paul had written to the Galatian Christians thus: ‘carry each other’s burden, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.’ The positive way and response from the faithful will go a long way in giving the required helping hand to the missionary areas in need.
Individuals, groups, corporate organizations may be touched to assist the Missionary Dioceses particularly today; special offering is required in their aid. Paul will add ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ 2Cor. 9v7(c).
There is no doubt that the creation of Missionary Dioceses in the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion is a good decision in the right way and it now behooves all children of God to sustain the tempo of missionary work of the church. We pray God to bless the effort of her church.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,