KADUNA, NIGERIA—The pandemic has not affected church life in Nigeria as more churches are birthed and attendance is soaring, however, the question on the lips of believers and non-believers alike is, why has the reputation of corruption stuck in Nigeria for decades?
I was privileged a few weeks ago to visit with 88-year-old Ruth Elton, the daughter of Pa S.G. Elton, the pioneer Pentecostal missionary who gave the famous prophecy that Nigeria will be known for righteousness. This is Pa Sydney Granville Elton’s prophecy: “Nigeria and Nigerians will be known all over the world for corruption. Your name, Nigeria, will stink for corruption, but after a while, a new phase will come, a phase of righteousness. People from the nations of the earth will hold up Nigeria and say, ‘We want to follow you to your nation to go and learn righteousness.’”
In answering my question about when the prophecy on righteousness will be fulfilled in Nigeria, she said, “God is using people from here to go all over the world, Nigeria has been corrupt but the kingdom has been going from here to other places.” Ruth Elton believes the prophecy of her father is being fulfilled in part already, in the sense that ministers of Nigerian origin are extending the frontiers of the kingdom of Christ globally.
The stories of persecution in the north of Nigeria have not deterred brave soul winners and missionaries from pressing forward. New churches are planted every month, with new frontiers taken. As a ministry that is into frontline missions in the north of Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, it is refreshing to note that there is a paradigm shift in mission. The new approach of raising and using local missionaries to reach their own unreached people has been a revolution in missions. Potential missionary pastors and evangelists are recruited, they could be trained at home or away from home. They return later as missionaries to their respective home communities among their own kith and kin.
The advantages are numerous and it has brought about faster harvests. The benefits among others include the indigenous missionary’s knowledge of the language, his acquaintance with his people, low and cheaper operational cost, mastery of the terrain, and lower risk factors, which are relative. This principle has helped to multiply churches on the frontline exponentially.
On university campuses, the embers of revival are being fanned. There is a genuine hunger for more of God. Young people are gathering to pray for hours on end. The soul-winning push includes knocking on doors, praying for the sick and getting people filled with the Holy Spirit. These are exciting times! There is palpable hunger for the supernatural, large numbers of young people are engaged in long fastings and prayers, they are reading their Bibles from cover to cover. They are desperate for a move of God.
The present move of God on campuses is reminiscent of the great non-denominational move of the Word and the Holy Spirit in the early 1980s on university campuses in Nigeria. I was privileged to be one of the pioneers of that move. Deep hunger and passion for God drove many of us to prayers, studying the Word, fasting, deep worship, soul winning, and we saw the supernatural everywhere from cafeterias to bars, hostels and on the streets around our campuses. The same fire is rising afresh and youths are being enlisted into a similar flow, which produced many ministers of the gospel.
Some will opine that there are extremes in this movement, but better to have a little fire than no fire at all. The intercession of the saints will bring the full manifestation.
Nigeria is at the threshold of revival and national rebirth.
Rev. Dr. Tunde Bolanta is founder and Apostolic Overseer of Restoration Ministries Worldwide, based in Kaduna, Nigeria, since 1987. In a vision, the Lord Jesus told him, “I have come to open the sheep gate,” after which there has been a quantum leap in the planting of hundreds of churches on mission front lines in the Muslim north of Nigeria and other Muslim nations, which he oversees. He has ministered extensively on the continents of Africa, Europe, America and Asia. He is married for over 35 years to Rev. Tina Bolanta, a full-time minster and their union is blessed with three children. His book, Spiritual Brokenness, was published by Charisma Media’s Creation House imprint in 2011.