- 38 Years Ago In LAGOS
- With Pastor BAKARE & ITUAH IGHODALO
- And Vice-President, YEMI OSINBAJO
In Redeemed Church, there is a group of parishes known as the classical parishes, which belongs to the old and conservative people, while there are some parishes, known as model parishes which were started 3 decades ago, aimed at the vibrant youths thereby increasing followership by winning young souls for Christ.The face of the Redeemed Church changed from what it used to be back then by some unrelentless efforts of potential-driven pastors.
Though, some have left the redeemed Church, but their impact would never be forgotten and the history of the model parishes, which turned Redeemed Church to what it has become now would not be told without mentioning them. Popular Lagos pastor, Tony Rapu,the senior pastor of This Present House Church is one of the pastors, who changed the face of the Redeemed Church by creating model parishes of the church targeted at the youth.
It is interesting to note that the 2nd model parish was established in Ikoyi in August 1989, while the 3rd was established in Apapa, Lagos on May 5, 1991, by Pastor Tony Rapu after Pastor Tunde Bakare left. Tony Rapu, who is now 60, was a young pastor then. The Church publication notes, “Pastor Tony Rapu, a medical doctor, was one of the three young professionals called by Pastor Adeboye in the beginning. Pastor Rapu gave all he had, including selling his car and other valuables to bring the model parish vision into reality.
He worked tirelessly to plant many other parishes and his efforts were rewarded, but sadly, he too left the Redeemed Christian Church of God in 1997.While he was working as a Medical Doctor at Eko Hospital, in 1986, he gave his life to Christ at a Friendship Bible Study meeting in the Ikoyi residence of his eldest sister, Mrs Bridget Itsueli. Shortly after his conversion, he had an epiphany and in a bid to make sense of it, his sister introduced him to a doctor of Mathematics-turned-preacher called Pastor E.A. Adeboye.
Pastor Adeboye described the meeting as a divine one. He explained that the day Tony Rapu stepped into his office, God told him the young man was one of three men, who would be instrumental to the realisation of the vision of the RCCG to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.He became an active member of the then hardly known RCCG and worshiped at the Head Quarters Church in Ebute Metta. They also held a house fellowship in the Rapu’s family home, at 27 Ekololu Street, Surulere, where they lived.
This home ‘church’ consisted mainly of young, upwardly mobile professionals from different denominations. Here, Tony Rapu would also hold prayer meetings that would sometimes last through the night or for what seemed like unending hours during the day.In 1991, under the direction of Pastor Adeboye, Dr. Rapu led a team of some 50 newly converted born- again Christians, mainly members of the Ekololu house fellowship, to begin the Apapa Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Pastor Tony preached an intelligent yet uncompromising gospel attracting professionals and recruiting them into the service of the Lord. From hours spent in daily personal study and prayer, he developed training materials with which he would disciple the church workers. The intense discipleship sessions comprised hours of worship, Bible study, prayer and frequent seasons of fasting. He gave the worker training groups prophetic names: Pioneer, Elisha, Freedom, Frontline, Reformer, Government, Missionaries, and Territorial Workers.
Many of these professionals would pastor RCCG churches alongside their regular employment.The church was aggressive in winning souls. Evangelism was avant-garde and unconventional. He planted churches in night clubs, cinema halls and restaurants. It was he who began the giving of individual names to RCCG parishes. He came up with then unusual names like Jesus House, City of David, Courage Centre, Hope Hall and also named the London Holy Ghost Service Festival of Life.
He began the first Bible School for graduates outside the Redemption Camp, the first model school (The Redeemers International School), a financial institution (Haggai Institute), a drug addicts rehabilitation home (Hebron House), an outreach to area boys, a French church, and a hospital (House of Hope).In the five years of the work, the church had grown by leaps and bounds and he had planted churches like Jesus House, London in 1994, Jesus House DC in 1995 and City of David, Lagos in 1996.
The passion, creativity and excellence, have been the hallmark of the 1,116 churches spread over 110 countries that make up the Apapa family, now under the leadership of Pastor Idowu Iluyomade. God used the movement to trigger off an unprecedented church-growth that would transform the Redeemed Christian Church of God to what is perhaps the fastest growing denomination in the world today. Pastor Adeboye described Pastor Tony Rapu as ‘‘…a great man of God…a man of awesome potential intelligence and who is articulate. A man who is passionately in love with God…” He added “If I have a thousand boys like Tony Rapu I will deliver the world to Jesus Christ in less than 5 years.
Also is pastor Tunde Bakare,who originally introduced the model parish as a young pastor at the Redeemed Church, he introduced the Model Parish, a development, which church experts said had given the church its meteoric rise. The first model parish was inaugurated in May 1988 at 1, Ladipo Oluwole Street, off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos with Pastor Tunde Bakare, now of the Latter Rain Assembly as the first pastor..Pastor Bakare’s first visit to the Redeemed Church was on the first Sunday of March, 1984 and was invited there by his Photographer. That was where his encounter with Pastor Adeboye started.
In his words, “ I asked how we could reach the next generation and suggested that we should call this Model Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. The concept then was to have one Model Parish in every city. So, we did one in Lagos and we did one in Ibadan until 1 October 1988, when God said my time was up.”
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo is also not left out, the Pastor- cum-Accountant and a writer gave his life to Christ in 1993 and was ordained an Assistant Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in 1995, while in the City of David, Victoria Island, and became a full pastor in 2000, while Pastoring RCCG Christ Church, Gbagada. At the RCCG, he was actively involved in the settling up of International missions, helping to pioneer several RCCG Parishes locally and abroad.He is a Christian of great repute, He is now the Pastor in Charge of Trinity House, a non-denominational, free flow Christian worship centre.
Yemi Osinbajo was also a Pastor in charge of the Lagos Province 48 (Olive Tree provincial headquarters) of The Reedeemed Christian Church of God, Ikoyi before his inauguration as the Vice President of Nigeria.He started with Redeemed Church in 1993 when he had an encounter with Pastor Tony Rapu and he was one of the pastors, who grew the model parishes to what they are today.He has contributed greatly to the growth of redeemed model parishes.