I am passionate about music and its delivery and have been involved for many years now. One area I hold dear to heart is worship therefore, anyone passionate about inspirational music naturally catches my attention, I always seek to know more about the person, read up on the person and also learn from them.
One morning towards the latter part of April this year, while driving to work, a BRT bus passes by and I see a line-up of ‘ministers’ to speak at a word conference organised by House on the Rock Church, speakers like Dr. Mike Murdock, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, Bishop Tudor Bismark and Dr. Mensah Otabil and just as I was still taking that in, another BRT bus drives by with a line-up of artistes to sing at the same event but on another date.
They were gracefully displayed on the BRT buses I saw and I knew it was an event I mustn’t miss but sadly I did…it hurt though because I wasn’t available but the stories I heard about the event partially satisfied my ‘loss’ and somewhat filled the void I felt.. I mean how do you have a line-up of artistes like Donnie McClurkin, Micah Stampley, Pita, Eben, Nathaniel Bassey, Mike Aremu, Onos, Kikelomo Mudiaga, Glowreeyah to mention a few and think after listening to these purpose driven artistes your life will remain the same? No way!
It got me thinking of how much impact we all can make in the society if we focus on positivity and allow, through God’s inspiration, our dreams to become reality if only we persevere, remain hardworking and allow our works speak for us so we naturally become sought after.
My ‘date’ for this week is one of such persons, not daunted by distractions but focused on being a change agent and creating positive impact globally.
Born on January 25, 1963 to a Nigerian father and Jamaican mother, he resided both in Nigeria and the United States early in life. He attended Igbobi College, Yaba in Lagos, and graduated from University of Miami with a professional Bachelors Degree in Architecture and practiced in Florida before his eventual call by God into ministry.
He is the founding Pastor of House on the Rock Church, an author, motivator and conference speaker. His weekly television programme ‘something is about to happen!’ is broadcast into millions of homes across Africa and Europe and he is well known for his clear message of hope, healing and empowerment. He is widely regarded as a visionary leader and bridge-builder. His ability to transcend race, tribe and creed with his unique approach to ministry has seen to the forging of many strategic relationships between the church and secular communities in Africa.
He has a burning passion to see the rehabilitation of his generation, his nation and his continent. He is also the founder and President of the Rock Foundation; a charity based organization committed to social reformation, education, provision of healthcare and relief work for the downtrodden and disadvantaged in Nigeria and West Africa. He is married to the delectable Ifeanyi and they are blessed with three lovely children. Welcome to the intriguing world of Pastor Paul Adefarasin.
Many years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting and taking pictures with a dynamic woman with a soothing voice that touches the soul- Cece Winans and guess where that happened? The Experience of course; guess who made that happen by bringing her among many other artistes to perform in Nigeria? Pastor Paul of course…so you see why it came naturally to begin my interview asking him about The Experience? Are you wondering what ‘The Experience’ is all about? Hear him tell you more.
“ ‘The Experience’ is profound; it has also helped re-brand Nigeria, in the sense that many Americans, who would have said, ‘can any good thing come out of Nigeria?’ come to The Experience in shock and awe that something of this magnitude is done here.”
“Most importantly, it serves as a bond for the church, we all worship to the same music. So, rather than separating us, worship unites us because it is void of wiles and debate on dogma. This singular act has permitted us through God’s grace to bring together the various denominations to have momentous dialogues. This is a crucial part of ‘The Experience’.” He informs me.
To put together such an exceptional program every year is capital intensive and one would think it’s okay to charge gate fee right? Well if you thought so, then you thought wrongly because guess what? it is absolutely free! Pastor Paul explains why “The reason for the program is not financial so if we charge people to attend, the essence of the program will be defeated. We will never charge a gate fee or take a financial offering at The Experience. It will defeat the purpose. When you have many people worshipping and praying together, it causes convulsion in the kingdom of darkness. It sends a message that Christianity is here to stay; it sends a message that we are a united people, who can work together and provide significant leadership, especially to the youthful generation; that we are people who govern ourselves well.”
“One of the things we pride ourselves on, is that, on the same pew, you see the janitor and the judge; you see the CEO and his clerk; you see the rich and the poor, because the cross and the church is a leveling place.”
When a man has vision and is focused, he looks beyond his present state and sees far into the future of the greatness that is ahead, Pastor Paul is one of such persons with great dreams and proper plan to execute such dreams even as he constantly walks and works efficiently to see his dreams become reality. With humble beginnings, House on The Rock started in the sitting-room of No. 4 Molade Okoya-Thomas at an all-night prayer meeting on July 15, 1994, with just seven people in attendance. Today, aside having various branches in Africa and internationally, the headquarters -The Rock Cathedral -is built on about forty thousand square feet, and the auditorium is less than 50 percent of the project. Did I hear you say Whao!?
Well, a drive to the enormous edifice bares it all but Pastor Paul tells more “House on the Rock is an agency for transforming the world by training and influencing the value system and culture of people using the principles taught in God’s word. It is a national transformation centre, where we groom and train people to be part of the transformation process in our nation.”
“In the building, we have capacity for 250 executive personnel; we have a 4-bed in-patient hospital, with capacity for diagnostics and consultancy. The hospital will become the hub for 46 mobile clinics (by the time the vision is fully implemented) – that’s one for each local government area (of Lagos State) for primary healthcare delivery. We have collaborated with Lagos State Government Hospitals and other private hospitals for medical cases beyond our capacity. Every single doctor or paramedic or nurse or pharmacist in the church is potentially a part of the medical unit of the church.” He reveals.
House on the Rock is involved with empowering the underprivileged through some of the Church ministries and to take that to another level, the church is starting an Artisan School. The Artisan school will provide various technological opportunities to people who want to develop their talents in that area.
Furthermore, they are quite involved with Lagos State schools, and have provided upwards of 540 computers for about 16,000 students through their Lagos State Computer Lab Project.
In addition, they have an urban alternative service, which caters to over 700 area boys, drug addicts, prostitutes and ex-convicts whom they feed, provide with primary health care and expose to skill acquisition programmes, so they can go back into society, empowered to make a contribution.
House on the Rock runs a very vibrant prison ministry, where, in the prisons, they feed, counsel, provide health care and train the inmates in different skills, so that when they are out of prison, they become viable partners in the local workforce. One of the other things they do is provide free legal aid for hundreds of inmates in the Lagos area prisons. And this has cut across the spectrum of House on the Rock churches across the country.
Sharing on the core values of the church, Pastor admits that “There are 13 core values that drive our ethics here at the House on the Rock. First of them is prayer (warfare); second is worship; third is the Word (the Bible); others are networking, excellence, user-friendliness, leadership (and I refer to servant leadership), innovation, empowerment, social responsibility, embracing diversity and training. Those are the 13 values that drive us.” He quips.
Speaking on the prospects of Nigeria, Pastor Paul strongly believes that many capable ones have not been privileged to serve therefore; the morals and the principles needed to drive this country in the right direction are not always available and as such, they are not performing to their fullest capacities. “But the church and other faith-based communities must now begin to create pathways and other deliberate opportunities for the best to serve and lead the rest. And by the best, I mean people, who are conscientious, who have capacity and have competence.” He submits.
2015 is just round the corner, some politicians have began campaigning already while others are yet to declare their intentions. Pastor Paul has words of counsel for them, “Entering elected offices must not be a do or die affair and please don’t go into public office nor seek political appointments if you don’t intend to bring positive change. There are few areas we need change: we need real infrastructural development; we need security; we need education (we need to develop our human capital); we need industry and very key to industry is electricity.” He says.
On the role the church is playing in nation development, Pastor Paul once again, hits the nail right on the head without mincing words “I think that the real church is contributing to nation building and I know that may not be easy to identify but the Bible says that ‘By their Fruits, we shall know them’. If the fruit is positive and it is making a positive impact on the nation, then, you can identify that as the genuine church.” He continues “The entire Christian body, by the scripture, is called a royal priesthood and by royal, it infers a governmental priesthood — a priesthood that is also in the service of its generation: at the same time, a priesthood that intercedes for its generation.”
On plans that House on the Rock has for the remaining months in 2014, Pastor Paul concludes the interview saying “Later on in the year, in late September early October, we will hold our Holy Ghost conference, and then of course after that, we go into the season of preparing for The Experience concert at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in December.”
Now that is one event I do not intend to miss, I hope you make it there, I am sure you will have a blast, I can’t wait…can you?