Editorial: Church As Strategy

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Editor’s Note:

Church has been used as euphemism for religion, the writer has chosen the Church because it is what he understands; however, Church, religion and faith are used interchangeably.

One thing Nigeria has over the West is our spiritual culture, it is a strength that we can exploit to make us a world power.

We Nigerians are the perfect picture of Pitirim Sorokin’s qualities of a spiritual culture where “mysticism and revelation are considered valid sources of truth and morality, where “science and technology are comparatively de-emphasized and economics is conditioned by religious and moral commandments and all those things”1. We would rather go to Church crusades than to protests. We are more likely to give or “sow into” the Church than we are to pay taxes.

Because spirituality – this belief in an unseen Deity, in this case Jesus Christ – sits at the root of our culture, our churches have prospered. Churches now build autonomous cities and large conglomerates, complete with banks, hospitals, universities, housing estates, industries and so on. Churches are building cathedrals and planting new parishes from the giving of members not bank loans. Today Deeper Life Bible Church can afford to build a bridge to ease traffic for its proposed church building. Summarily, we can agree that the Church in Nigeria has been largely successful because unlike the West who believe in the power of the senses and their ability, we believe in a Creator who runs the universe.  Having said that I must say that I am very interested in how we can exploit our natural belief in a Creator and in Church to bring about sustainable national development because no development is sustainable without the building block called culture.

 

We believe in the Spiritual, it defines our Culture, and Culture defines our development

As a nation, we should take notice of the evolution of church teaching from purely holiness to this hybrid of holiness & prosperity. We should take notice of how the early Nigerian Church’s missionary strategy of education educated our earliest graduates. We must also take notice of the contemporary Church’s new foray into career counselling, leadership training, skills acquisition and financial empowerment. We must use these hints the Church has given us. Just as the Covenant Christian Centre’s annual Platform event has shown us the link between faith, the economy and politics for over a decade, Nigeria is almost ready to evolve into the realm of Sorokin’s idealistic culture where we balance faith and reason: where the sensory, rational, and super sensory are interwoven, where science, philosophy, and theology blossom together, where our art and architecture treat both super sensory reality and the noblest aspects of sensory reality.

 

We must quickly do away with the idea that the Church is just for revelation or that it is just a building. We must see the Church as an agent of change a la Dr Martin Luther King Jr and now Tunde Bakare.  In the words of Dapo Akintunde we need to see Church as an agent for a self-sustaining economy and for building industries.

We need a new type of Church

Like Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping, we need to evolve the meaning of Church into movements. For if through the giving of members, Winners Chapel will build a 100,000-seater Faith Theatre then we should harness our strengths as a Church of Development to build and assist specific industries that may turn Nigeria into a world power. For instance, our tithing can become a national health insurance fund to cater for Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths. We can have Church ministries or departments that are geared towards organising, building and supporting industries that are our strengths, those industries that can turn us from a developing nation into a world power e.g. Solar Energy, Football, Music, Nollywood, Owambe and Herbal Medicine (not witchcraft).

 

Like the ambitious vision of RCCG overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye to have a church within 5 minutes of every person on Earth, we must rethink Church as outpost-cum-hubs: where a coterie of services such as: emergency response, Wi-Fi and trains are within 5 minutes of every Nigerian.

 

 

 

Sources

1 https://satyagraha.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/pitirim-sorkin-crisis-of-modernity/

New Work: 4*4 House as future investment ahead of Dangote Refinery’s 2019 opening

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Owning a home is one big prayer point among aspiring homeowners in Nigeria, so when we received the brief to design this semi-detached house with four flats we decided to explore this notion of ownership within one building.

So, we proposed this big loaf of bread and divided it into 4 slices that each flat owner could claim from the exterior to interior.Unlike the cohort of land sellers and grabbers in an Ibeju-Lekki where there are more shacks than selfie-worthy buildings, our client wanted to build this house as a future investment to entice a discerning clientele of expatriates and locals ahead of Dangote refinery opening in 2019.

Rejecting the stereotyped homely look of houses we are now accustomed to in Lagos, we wanted to fully embody our client’s wish for a “hotel feel”; so we treated the exterior with aluminium panels and sliced open the extruded balcony ends of the bread to offer views to the adjoining street.

Location: Ibeju Lekki, Lagos
Architects: Design Party
Design Lead: Baba Oladeji
Project Team: Baba Oladeji, Adeposi Okupe, Călin Escu, Tosin Adeoye

Please be harsh in your critique. The project is incomplete without your view

Adeposi Okupe: We Need Data for Faith to Work

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E go beta: Faith vs Logic

This is Nigeria. We live and breathe faith & hope as a people. This may even be our biggest cultural export, just like Germany is known for engineering and India is known for information technology – only if we could find a way to make it yield benefits.

Nigerians have faith: it is why we are still standing as a nation even though a certain American agency predicted we would disintegrate by 2015. A logical projection by all standards, the Americans did not take into account the fact that Nigerians are driven by faith. A mix of surviving in spite of bad governance and harsh living conditions / business environments has made us adopt faith as oxygen.

But there’s a balance.

While we need to use faith in envisioning our future, we also need to employ logical thinking when it comes to planning and execution. This is where data comes in. It is said that he who does not know his destination never arrives. It is also said that you cannot arrive at your destination if you do not know where you are coming from or worse still, if you do not know your current position!

Data is the crucial component here, and this applies on multiple levels: at the level of the individual, corporate and national. If there must be any progress, then we must take data seriously

An economy seeking to grow must first prioritize the recording, analysis and utilization of its data.

According to a 2010 UN Resolution, national statistics in any country should get more attention if the country is to have any orderly and definite development programme. No meaningful national development can take place without empowering the national statistical system. So before we explore this further, we have to take stock of where we are: what is the accurate population of Nigeria? Is it 180 million? Or 200 million? More? Less?

Way Forward: Evidence-Based Decision Making

Through data, we can find patterns and proactively create interventions to prevent mishaps from occurring or escalating. Data helps us turn away from our national culture of emergency response teams to taking more preventive measures. Two steps we must adopt as a nation are:

  1. Document Things– Where are you right now?
    The first step to any progressive development is taking stock of your current situation and this has to be done consistently to be able to identify patterns and trends.

In the case of Nigeria, we need to know our population on an ongoing basis, we have to know how many deaths, how many births, take stock of those who are jobless, know how many are young, how many are old and so on.  If we think of Nigeria as a business we would need to ask: what is our balance of trade, what are our revenue streams and how much does it take to run Nigeria?

Likewise, if you run a business you’d need to know your numbers. Those in sales, advertising and marketing know this. They know they have to have a figure of how many people they need to reach in order to generate a specific amount of leads and how many leads generate sales and how many sales generate profits. There is a hierarchy of data that helps track progress and growth. Therefore, the first step to progressive growth is documenting events as they unfold. So ask yourself: how many people walked into your store today?

  1. Performance Indicators– What should you measure?
    How do you ensure that you are on track to achieving your goals? Recording the wrong data is as bad as not taking data at all.

nigeria data collection design partyOur nation must know what to measure. Beyond Gross Domestic Product GDP, should we prioritize per capita income or even adopt a more holistic Gross National Happiness GNH. Governments should focus on creating metrics relevant to their population to measure the impact of policies and programmes.

For example, we have an informal economy that dwarfs the size of the formal, who is documenting that? How can we have such a mammoth sector and not measure the extent of its impact on the nation’s economy? Does the new Ease of Doing Business Action Plan #EDBAP developed by Vice President Osinbajo and his team have any impact on the mechanic, the vulcanizer, the kpof kpof hawker, or the local community store? Should it? And if it does, what are we measuring? and how will we use that information?

Like a business, Nigeria must understand what numbers she needs to be document in order to make sure our economy stays healthy and growing, only then can we know what to strengthen and what to discourage. Once we begin to document and have performance indicators, we would have placed our feet on the path to real progress, one that benefits us contextually and not just theoretically.

What If Nigeria Was Designed? – A conversation with Dapo Akintunde

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We had a conversation with Dapo Akintunde, Director at IVIXI where we explored Nigeria as a design project.

We examine the kind of goals Nigeria should set and formulate a direction for how a critical mass of thinkers may organize into a Church of Development & Industry to make Nigeria a uniquely developed world power.

Join the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below.