Archbishop Mathias Bassey Inyang who is the Leader of Apostolic Army Worldwide, Global Apostles-GAP/Apostolic Commanders Forum and Akwa Mboho Ndito Abasi started his ministry in Ibadan before coming Lagos. In this interactive session with journalists, including CHRIS IREKAMBA, the cleric disclosed his challenges in the ministry, his encounter with Dr. T.L Osborn in 1974, his 48-year-old walk with the Lord, and why some people believe going to the mountain to pray is unscriptural, among others. What was your second time experience with Dr. T.L Osborn like? My second encounter with Dr. T.L Osborn was in 1976, when he prophesied that I would be a priest and he laid hands on me and anointed me as little evangelist. In fact, the 1976 experience at Mayne Avenue, Calabar, where he held his crusade turned my life around for good. Aside the first and second encounter with him, I had a personal encounter with the Lord in 1977, when God appeared to me, and with my names written on the sky; pointing that I would be a soul winner for God. I joined the Scripture Union (SU) in the secondary school. Since then, I have been a follower of Christ. Later, I joined Christian Fellowships like Calvary Fellowship Brethren and the Assemblies of God both in Calabar. I moved to Ibadan in the late 70s and in the early 80s I joined The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) under the late Pastor Opeolu Adetunji till I left the RCCG in 1986. I was greatly impacted by Pastor Opeolu Adetunji’s Sunday school lesson on Ayeti Oni Itunnu (a meaningful life). We always visited the RCCG Headquarters at Ebute Metta, Lagos for general training and programmes in the 80s. Leaving RCCG I joined Faith Clinic, Ibadan; a fellowship organised and hosted by a medical doctor. Later, I joined Christ Resurrection Soul Revival Ministries, Apata, Ibadan; there I met Reverend P.N Anwuzia and subsequently, joined him briefly when he started Zoe Ministries. At the same time, I also attended Scripture Pasture of Rev. Olubi Johnson every Wednesday. Sometimes, we covered kilometres during our morning and night prayer walks. Eventually, I started Amen Ministries in 1992, which was later, renamed Apostolic Army Worldwide; a call to raise an End-time Army for the Lord. Apostolic Army Worldwide started originally as Amen Ministries in 1992 at Little Talent Nursery/Primary School, Akowonjo, Lagos. From there, we moved to a restaurant and later to a school at Ojodu, Lagos. At a point, I got fed up with the work. We lost many members, but I had to continue. But on a particular day, I decided to quit the ministry while trekking from Grammar school to Coca-Cola in Ikeja. I headed for a nightclub on Awolowo, Ikeja to smoke and drink to forget my worries. While there, a divine intervention stopped me from quitting the ministry at that point. What type of divine intervention? As I was trekking towards Oregun roundabout, a particular sister, who had not seen me for a very long time beckoned on me to come to her car and she drove me to her house, which incidentally was behind the club I was heading to drink and smoke. She had no idea of what I was going through, but treated me very well. That was the divine intervention that stopped my quitting the ministry at that point. When I left Zoe Ministries for Lagos; my family was in Ibadan. I slept in different classrooms in Lagos for many years. The sister helped me get another school on Toyin Street to hold our meetings. She also gave me some money to go to Ibadan. Before I returned, she had secured the school premises for us where we paid N20 per meeting. There were about eight churches, including Deeper Life, holding fellowship meetings there. We later moved to Oba Akran, Ikeja, and this was where the Lord eventually visited us and started bigger works in Amen Ministries. My journey in the ministry has not been easy, but I keep going because I am sure of my calling. I know God called me into evangelical ministry to reach out to lost souls. What is sustaining your salvation messages in this age of compromise? I rely solely on the strength of God by praying, studying and depending on the Holy Spirit. Above all, I disassociate myself from any company that I don’t understand. Many ministers move with the trend for material acquisitions, wealth accumulation, buying exotic cars, building gigantic houses and touring the world and the likes. I also travel, but it is not the heart of ministry. Ministry is about winning people into God’s kingdom and handing them over to the Master. I am strictly depending on the Holy Spirit for help. Who are the people that have influenced you to where you are today? The late Pastor Opeolu Adetunji of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) was my mentor. Aside from my two encounters with Dr. T.L Osborn and the influence and impacts of Calvary Fellowship, Scripture Union, the Assembly of God, Faith Clinic, Christ Resurrection Souls Revival Ministries, Scripture Pasture and Zoe Ministries upon my life, the late Pastor Opeolu Adetunji laid the good foundation for my steady and fervent growth in the Christian faith. What has helped you to overcome trials in ministry? There was a time I was confused, which is the case with a lot of young ministers. When you are at the crossroads in ministry, all you need do is to go to God. I visit Ori-Oke (Prayer Mountain) regularly. A lot of people don’t believe in going to the mountain, but that’s the way I was brought up. Some people say it is not scriptural. The crux of the matter is to know where you get your inspiration. I started going to Ori-Oke in the early 80s, and I still go there. If you are inspired by staying in a hotel or in your room, it’s left to you. I get connected to God on the mountain top. Is there any difference between how you gave your life to Jesus Christ back then in the 70s and today? There is a wide difference because back then, when you give your life to Christ, you are conscious of the fact that you are a new creation. But today, you hear some people say it does not matter. This mindset is killing the body of Christ. There are procedures one has to go through before you become a new convert. Becoming a new convert doesn’t happen overnight. It is gradual. Going through the foundation will help one grow. Today, a person can claim to be born again and his next move is to start a church — no tutelage, no mentorship, no form of servanthood. A lot of people that started church immediately after their salvation experience and say, “God did not ask them to join any church” are like babies getting married or graduating from a university without attending primary school. It doesn’t work like that! Back then, we were taught how to grow as baby-Christians. There was conscientious love, honesty and truth among the brethren. You would learn from different ministries because no pastor has everything. I don’t believe people claiming they have the five-fold ministry. The Bible says, “to some” and not “all.” Although an individual can have similar graces where it is needed. That one prophesied on certain occasions doesn’t make one a prophet. You can prophesy when the need arises. God can use an individual to pass a message, but it doesn’t make that person a prophet. When there’s a need for a prophet you will know there is a need for a prophet. An evangelist in the field can also have the grace of a prophet. The yesteryear born again are genuine unlike the ones we have today. They were conscious of their way of life. At what point did the church depart from the old path? The church started departing from the old path of genuine conversion when lies and wrong teachings on prosperity crept into it. A lot of people, including supposed believers think prosperity has to do with material acquisitions. The scripture says: “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.” Prosperity is not only about material things. Prosperity has been misinterpreted. People now see prosperity as amassing wealth. The half-baked or unbelieving believers came in and embraced that philosophy, while some Internet fraudsters now exploit some pastors by building warehouses and employing them. In the long run, these pastors begin to compromise and preach the message of material wealth. I would have been a victim too. Also, the church is no longer a community of people. It is now a one-man business, which is the reason some pastors flaunt their wealth. This entices jobless people, some of which are graduates or charismatic. Some pastors are no longer answerable to anybody. A church is not supposed to be a one-man business. Ministry is different for church. For a church to exist it has to be a community of people and church’s money is not supposed to be for one man, but for the community that make up the church. The people are the body. What are the prices paid to sustain your growth in faith over years? One of the prices I have paid is turning blind eye to material things. Sometime in 2012, a great man wanted to entice into money laundering. He said he would give me 20 per cent of the profit. I am here today because I am disciplined. I don’t lust after money. I also depend on the word of God. I don’t compare and compete with anybody or ministry. I believe in what God can do with me per time. From my foundation, I got to know that the journey does not end here. The journey is beyond here; when we are out of here. The consciousness of this teaching contributed to my growth in the Christian faith. Sometimes, it does not seem rosy, but heaven makes provision. The highest encouragement I bear in mind is when the Master shall welcome me. When I will sit at the feet of the Father, I will recover everything I might have lost here. The world is not a permanent abode. Our mission here is to work and someday return to our eternal home.
June 22, 2023
June 22, 2023