Pastor Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Sunday challenged Africa “to rise and take its destiny in its own hands, trust God and move the continent forward.”
He said at the heart of the continent’s problems was disorder and challenged the youth of Ghana to live a life of order,” get serious, prioritise your lives and develop a 20 year development plan.”
Speaking at a thanksgiving service to climax the ICGC’s 30th anniversary celebration at the Accra Sports stadium, he charged the youth to prepare themselves spiritually, morally, and intellectually, build good habits and develop problem solving skill and live uprightly for Christ.
Pastor Otabil noted that ICGC has learnt to stretch its hands to God and not to man and said Africans must do same.
Cataloguing the humble beginning of the church to the present, he said ICGC started from a background with no resources and a resolve not to accept donations from any foreign mission or countries but yet could now boast of hundreds of it its own churches; Its own university and several other palpable structures to refer to.
As an indigenous self supporting church, starting from a classroom at the Kanda cluster of schools with no sound system, electricity or building to call its own, but had faith, purpose and conviction of mind to carry on.
This, he said, was at a time when it was fashionable for churches to depend on missionaries abroad to fund their activities in Ghana
“If the ICGC has been able to come this far with nothing then Ghana and Africa, which is endowed with abundant natural resources, could do far better.
“The challenge is that, if we have come this far from nothing, you can do a thousand times more,” he charged Africa’s youth.
Pastor Otabil said “God created us on the continent of Africa because he has a vision for Africa, but he would be saddened by the turn of events in Africa.”
With a passion for Africa’s growth and development, he told the story of how he visited the Africa Union Headquarters in Ethiopia, an imposing building in Addis Ababa, with a gold statue of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, which sat right in front of the building.
Beneath the statue he said was a biblical verse inscribed from Psalm 68:31 saying “Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hand to God, and noted that, it was the same quote Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used to conclude his famous ‘Africa must arise’ speech.
He said the quote saddened him because there was no sense of pride in looking at the building since the verse was inconsistent with how the imposing building was acquired.
“Africans did not build that building. The Chinese government donated that building to Africans free. African governments could not contribute to put up that building,” he said.
According to him the building typified how incapable Africans were in solving their own problems.
“The AU building represents Africa’s continued dependence on foreign assistance”, he said.
He said with that gloomy picture of Africa, he left Ethiopia with a deeper resolve to change the African story and paint a new picture of Africa.
“With that picture of hope, ICGC has in 30 long years lived its mission of raising leaders, shaping visions and influencing society through Christ.”
He said every member of this church must be a leader; must have vision and must be a person with great influence.
“If a person comes to our church crawling he or she will be inspired to start walking; if he comes walking he will be inspired to start running; if he comes running he will be inspired to start flying; whatever stage you come in into this church you will leave here improved in a better version of yourself.”
“We are passionate about personal transformation. We are passionate about social transformation,” he said.
He said “It is a day to remember God’s faithfulness. He has been good to us. Today is a day we remember where we met God and where he met us,” he said
With 20 founding members in a classroom somewhere in Accra on 26 February, 1984, the seed was sown for what will become one of the greatest churches across the world.
The International Central Gospel Church is a socially conscious Christian church which upholds the philosophy of Human dignity and Excellence. It engages in promoting and staging events whose impact have reached to the depths of the Ghanaian society and brought Christ to the doorsteps of the people