ANSELM MADUBUKO: I LOATHED BEING PASTOR TO AVOID LIVING ON OFFERING
Apostle Anselm Madubuko, General Overseer of Revival Assembly Church is also the president of New Anointing World Outreach (NAWO), an apostolic ministry touching nations for Christ's kingdom. He found time to take Saturday Sun through his life, times and ministry.
How were your growing up days?
God was gracious to me. I had a pretty good up bringing. My parents loved us. They did not just give birth to us they cared about us. They made sure they trained their children. I was born into a rich family. Everything was fine for me. I studied architecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and graduated in 1982. When I was in the university I had a car. I worked in a radio house back then in school just for fun and not for money. So everything was good except that I didn't have Christ and that was the only thing that was lacking. But I eventually met Him in 1983 after my youth service.
My days in the university were a tough experience. I refer to my experience as tough not in terms of money but how I chose to live. I was a member of the Pirate Confraternity. I used to drive by 9.00pm from Enugu to Port Harcourt for Pirate meetings. We made our life difficult for no just cause. I thought that was life. Those days I had a VW Beetle and I will pack about seven of my friends inside it and set out by night on a very bad road from Enugu to Port Harcourt. We go out all night drunk and drive back to Enugu under the influence of alcohol. After the pirate meeting I would rush back to Enugu to catch up with my early morning programme on radio. So it was really a tough life to live. That was how we grew up. I was DJ and a Capon in the Pirates Confraternity during our time.
How were you drafted into the Pirates Confraternity?
It was a bad club. I was out in search of a bad club. When I was getting into the university, my father called me and said please son you are going to the university bla bla bla, there are many societies in the university and there are many dignified ones. But please do not join the pirates. So when I got there I began to look for the Pirates. As I said I became the capon until I left the university. In 1982 I came to Lagos and another phase of my life started as I was left alone. I remember I was looking for a job as an architect for my youth service.
I was posted to one of the northern states, I cannot remember whether Yola or somewhere for the service. But I did not want to go to the north. One of my aunties who then was a FEDECO commissioner worked my transfer to Lagos. One day I was working across an architect's office called Tom Ikimi Design Company. I did not know anybody so I said to the man, I just finished school, I am looking for a place to serve. And he said come and serve here. That was how I got my job. I started working with Tom Ikimi at youth service level. He employed me after my youth service.
Can you recall the encounter that led to your repentance?
When I got to Lagos, I was bad already – party, alcohol, women and all that. I was looking for something else to do. In the process, I met a young boy. Because of the way I lived on campus nobody could preach to me because they knew and I knew I was going to hell. I thought I could not help it. I thought there is no way I could live without alcohol and women. So nobody came to tell me really about hell or about eternity or the purpose of life. And it was assumed that I was beyond repentance. That is why I do not give up on anybody. God can touch anybody. I believe everybody has a chance. It was in the process that I met a young boy brought into our office for attachment. He was the first to tell me about Christ. My father was a Christian and I was born into a Christian family. I didn't know one would have to know Christ personally. So he spoke to me for the first time about eternity, about hell. Here I was looking for good life. It was like another opportunity. I was living life without knowing the implication. That was it. My life changed. When I got into Christ, everything changed. Peace. Wow! This is life. Life became interesting. I said this is beyond what I was doing and on August 5, 1983, I became born again. I joined the ministry in 1990. In obedience to God, I went into full time ministry. This is my 20th year in the ministry.
Did you just start the ministry as soon as you repented?
No. I never wanted to be a preacher. I loved architecture. I loved to design and build houses. That was my passion. I never prayed to be a pastor. My plan was that I would be an evangelist. I wanted to sponsor crusades, ministries, and make money to do all those. I prayed to God and said let me be this. I never believed. I never liked the idea of becoming a pastor. I did not want to be asking people for money. I am not that kind of person. I could not imagine how I could be depending on people paying tithe and offering. I wanted to make money and serve my God. But at the peak of my profession, I had just finished designing Silverbird and some other private houses. That was the last project I was doing when my ministry started. It started on December 15, 1990. I said to myself I am not going to leave my profession, I would combine both. For the first three months of my ministry, I kept everything that way. But it became impossible to combine the two. But the main reason I refused to give up my practice was that I wasn't sure the ministry would work. I was scared that I will not be able to feed my family preaching the gospel so I decided to do what I know would put food on my table. And God began to ask me you mean you cannot trust me to take care of you and meet your need bla bla bla? Reluctantly, I gave up my full-time practice and went into full time ministry. And God has been faithful.
The few years I worked being a pastor I discovered that what a Christian needs to keep being a Christian is a personal revival and refreshment from the presence of God. That was how I chose the name Revival Assembly Church.
What was your father's reaction when you told him of your decision to join the ministry?
My father didn't take it easy. In fact he disowned me as soon as he heard that I have decided to be a pastor. He really felt betrayed. His reason was that after he trained me, this is what I am giving him back. It was his friend who was a Roman Catholic bishop that advised him to stop fighting me. Thank God, before he died, he embraced Christ and we resolved our differences.
What were the challenges on your journey to the ministry?
Looking back now I can tell you, God was the one. Because I did not know anyone, I did not go to a bible school, I did not know the bible, but God began to teach me, Sunday after Sunday. When God calls you really, you don't need to be qualified; you don't need to know anything. If God calls you He will take the responsibility. If you asked me now, what I was preaching then, I couldn't tell you. And I was surprised that people were coming, when I didn't know anything.
So I did not need to run to anybody to tell me what to do. Even when I had people like the late Arch. Bishop Benson Idahosa, Dr. Ibeneme around me, they hardly ever did anything for me. There was nothing to solve. All the problems that came God helped me to deal with them. So it was exciting. When I look back, I just know that it is God. God will really help when we have things at stake.
When did you realise the place of your function as an apostle? And who is an apostle?
In 1995/1996, the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa wanted to make me a bishop. It did not sit in my spirit. In fact he was calling me bishop. Lawrence Osagie, all of them who were close to Idahosa have become bishop today. I felt in my spirit that it was not for me. I had to pull away from him because he was the strong man we could not say no to, with all the respect we had for him.
I was not interested in the title. I was satisfied being a pastor. Then later I began to hear prophecies. I am going to send you to the nations. I said no. I was happy doing my Sunday service. I was addicted to the people, to the church and they were addicted to me. You know I never prayed to travel. I remembered the Lord began to tell me 'hey! this vision is bigger than here, it's not about here.' When I made my first missionary trip, I went to one church and one church ended up being about five, six local churches.'
How do you combine ministry with family life?
I must tell you the truth. I thank God for my wife. I am not under pressure. I have not given enough time to my family, I must tell you this. I miss my kids, they miss me because their growing years were the times I began to be away from them so I did not really play my role as I would have loved to. But thank God He has been able to help us in that area. The family is very important, and it is very important to maintain balance. People like us will always upturn it by putting ministry before family. But it gets to a stage you know you are living for the ministry you are living for God.
The world is remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. But it seems people do not really know the significance of Xmas. Why is it so?
The more people know the more likely they might make a decision to give their life to Him. Majority have removed the spiritual meaning of Christmas and commercialised it that is why it appears people do not know the true meaning of Christmas.
What is the best way of celebrating Xmas?
Christmas should be celebrated in Christ not alcohol. Giving Him honour by sowing in the lives of the needy. There is nothing wrong with doing shopping with your loved ones. Enjoy Christmas but in Christ, thanking the Lord for what He has done, and for giving us salvation.
From what is happening across the world, do you think that if Christ were born in this dispensation, people would have believed him?
If He had come during this era it would have been a disaster, because people don't want anything to do with God. People have seen the fact that He came and still don't believe. People are crazier today and He would have met a very hostile environment.
Is Jesus still coming back?
The Bible said this same Jesus that you see going up will come back and all eyes shall see Him. I believe and I know that Christ will come. I believe the Bible is true because that is what changed my life. The Bible said so. You know what? Even if He doesn't come I have a new life. I am enjoying my life more than I did in the past. I have peace and joy. I have hope but I know that He is coming back.
Do you feel fulfilled?
No. I have not seen more people wanting God. I have not seen people yield to God the way they should. The job has not finished. I have to get the sinners saved. I have to get the Christian behave like Christians.
Do you already have a candidate for the 2011 election? Who you think will take Nigeria to the promised land?
I don't have a candidate. I have not seen any candidate that has a plan. They keep saying, I will fix Nigeria, Nigeria will be better. We keep hearing them say I will do this, I will do that. Tell us your plan. What are your plans for public supply of electricity? What are your plans to bring back the dead industries? How do you intend employing the teeming young people? Nobody has spoken anything yet. I will not vote for anybody due to the fact that they are from the North or South, Christian or Moslem. I will vote for you because I know you have a plan that can work. In Nigeria, we play politics of emotion. He is my brother so let him go. Go and do what? I believe people should be asking questions. How are you going to bring back industries that have relocated to Ghana? In my church, I have never used NEPA for the past 20 years. I have never held live service with NEPA (PHCN). We want to hear something concrete. Americans will say their plans to create jobs, their plan to do anything. The person will be invited for debate to explain how he intends to achieve his goal. But here we debate on irrelevant issues and on stupid things. I am still expecting for the man who will come up with solutions.
How do you cope with sexual harassment from female fans?
We have an understanding. I love them as daughters, as mothers and sisters. You are either my mother, daughter or sister.
Can we share your most embarrassing moment in the pulpit?
The first time I preached the word of God, I was with Christ Chapel. The pastor travelled and asked me to preach. It was a disaster even though people said that they were blessed. I was embarrassed. I spent all night writing the sermon. I arranged it very well so that once I mount the pulpit I would be reading it line after line. Before I mounted the pulpit, I thought that I had arranged it alphabetically. I didn't arrange it well, it was while reading some pages I discovered that the next was not the right one. I was totally confused. Only God knows how it ended. That was when I stopped writing sermons. I asked God to put the words into my mouth that I don't know how to write sermon. When I discovered the disaster that was about to unfold, I told the congregation to stand up for prayers. I was shocked that some member at the end of the service told me they were blessed.