he Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) has clocked 40 years in existence and the ministry is set to mark it’s 32nd annual convention.
The TREM had announced date for its 32nd annual convention and part of the highlights of the convention will be activities to mark the ministry’s 40 years anniversary.
Recall that the TREM was officially launched on the 4th of January 1981 and the church started growing with a few members at 14, Afolabi Brown Street, Akoka, Lagos.
With close to 200 branches across the globe, from a very humble beginning, the church grew in leaps and bounds.
ABRIDGED HISTORY OF TREM
The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) was officially launched on the 4th of January 1981. The church started with a few members at 14, Afolabi Brown Street, Akoka, Lagos. From a very humble beginning some fathers and friends encouraged us like the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa of blessed memory, Late Dr. Odunaike, Dr. Boyejo of the Foursquare Church who later became the 1st President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Dr. Bisi Orebayo also of the Foursquare Church, Dr. O. Ezekiel, late Bishop Harford Iloputaife, Late Bishop N. E. Moses, Dr. Jerry Wolcson from USA, Pastor E. A. Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Dr. Sam Ukaegbu and Bishop Sam Fadeyi. These men stood by us and believed in us when we had no form or comeliness that men should desire us. We also appreciate the contribution of Rev. Dr. Mac Nwulu the founder of Trinity College of Ministerial Arts who later became a Senator before passing on to glory. Also note worthy is the contribution of Late Rev. Dr. Iloh who was a member of the Board of Advisers of TREM and who is now the Presiding Steward of Soul Winning Ministries in Lagos and Rev. (Mrs.) Edith Iloh.
From this humble beginning, God by His grace took us step by step and the Church began to grow in leaps and bounds. In 1988, Dr. Mike Okonkwo, was consecrated the Bishop of the ministry by a team from National Christian Fellowship Conference (NCFC), in Philadelphia, USA led by Bishop James McNeal Jr.
We look back today and remember the times when the ministry could not afford to buy a plot of land that was selling for as little as N5,000.00 but see what the Lord has done. When the church in Akoka was completed we thought we have achieved a feat Napoleon could not dare, within a few years, we began to hold two services and the need to relocate stared us in the face. The first land we possessed was just across the road which did not work out. Then the Lord gave us an opportunity to buy over this place. Everyone that came here wandered what we were doing in a marshy land. It was so bad that no one could step in. The Presiding Bishop will stand on the road and point into this place. No one wanted to touch this place with a 10-foot pole. But inch by inch, trip after trip of sand, we made a road into this place and held a land possessing service under a canopy with sawdust as the red carpet.
When the current building was put up, it was so massive that we were like a drop of water in a bucket. Twice we had tornadoes that blew the better part of the roof off, damaging cars and equipment and some people were wounded, but to the glory of God, no life was lost. The roof was not only replaced, the ceiling and flooring were completed and then we could shout Ebenezer “thus far the Lord has helped us”.
In November 2003, the Lord spoke to the heart of His servant to put up another structure and the project “Cathedral of His Glory” was born. So far over N300 million has been spent from the drawing stage through the approval stage to where we are now. We thank God for His divine provision.
It has not all been about the Headquarters, as the Lord was taking us step by step at the Headquarters; the same anointing was flowing in the branches. Today, we have lands of our own across the nation, most of our branches are no more tenants in rented halls, cinema houses and restaurants, but we have our own buildings. Even outside the country, many of our branches are worshipping in their own facilities.
What started as a mustard seed as grown to over 200 branches with a staff strength of more than 240 people.
In achieving this feat, the Lord has surrounded us with faithful men and women who see a need and promptly fill it. It was the need for newsletter that will tell the world about the great things happening in this ministry that gave birth to the Word Ambassadors. These are professionals who took it upon themselves to develop the newsletter that grew into the Power in the Word Magazine. From production of the magazine, The Word Ambassadors teamed up with the Young Men Christian Fellowship and began city-wide crusades popularly called the Power Crusades. These crusades gave birth to several churches.
Apart from The Word Ambassadors, which I mentioned earlier the Young Men and the Young Women put in all it took to make the Ministry grow in leaps and bounds. In addition to the crusades, the Young Women organized breakfast outreaches which were very successful at a time when such were not popular. We also recognize the input of the choir in the growth of the ministry. The evergreen Evangel Voices have remained ever green and ever fresh. Many joined the church in order to always partake in the praise and worship led by this anointed choir.
From a few ministering arms, the ushers, the greeters, counselors and The Word Ambassadors, today we have other ministering arms reaching out to the world with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these 40 years, the Lord has enabled us to make a formidable impact in several areas amongst which are:
We have a team of young and dynamic men and women who take cities by storm for Jesus. The power crusades gave birth to a number of our branches and assists in strengthening others. Branches that have benefited directly from these crusades include: Osogbo, Ilaro, Akure, Abeokuta, Ede, Ogbunike, Asaba, Owerri, Aba branches to name a few. We believe that the primary need of humanity is Jesus and therefore we take these crusades beyond a specific location to street evangelism, house to house evangelism, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to every man and every woman in those areas. We know that any life that comes in contact with Jesus never remains the same. In each of the crusades, the Lord confirms His words with signs and wonders following.
There are some people who will not come to church or any religious function when invited, but who you can reach in the comfort of their homes through the television. The Power in the Word television broadcast which is currently being aired in Lagos, Ogun, and Delta States in Nigeria also on different satellite stations, and in the United Kingdom this has been a tool that the Lord has used to reach these people through us.
The ministry is mindful of the leadership position of Nigeria in the continent of Africa and has begun leadership training for Church leaders in the continent. Thus far, we have been able to go to Cote D’Ivoire, Niger Republic, Liberia, Gabon, Sierra Leone and Bukina Faso.
Communion of Covenant Ministers International:
This is an avenue through which we provide covering to young and upcoming ministers. CCMI gives an opportunity for fellowship and networking amongst ministers; we also provide covering, mentoring, impartation, strengthening and releasing their God-given potentials.
We Care Kitchen:
We identify specific locations where we give free medical check-up, clothes and food once in two months while we share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with them. Like the saying goes, people do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care. When we show them the love of Jesus by meeting a physical need, they also respond by giving their lives to Christ.
We Care Ministry:
The We Care Ministry reaches out to members and non-members alike with counseling, interest free loans for small scale businesses, free medical attention and food supply for less privileged members and non members at festive periods. Members who God have blessed financially also give out scholarship to indigent students through the We Care Ministry.
As at today, many people have enjoyed either full scholarship or one time donation towards their educational advancement.
Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture:
The Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture is geared at lending a voice to topical issues that affect the nation as a whole. The Inaugural lecture was held in 2000 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on the topic: The Christian, The Constitution and Politics. Other topics for subsequent years are: Righteousness in governance (2001), “Investing in Nigerian Youth–Rescuing a wasting generation” (2002), “Consumer protection, the right of every Nigerian” (2003), Securing the Nigerian Future: Improving the Standards of Education” (2004), Building Leaders for Tomorrow: A Collective Responsibility (2005), Lawlessness and the rule of law in the Nigerian society 2006, political office and governance: for gain or service? 2007, the role of judiciary in sustenance of democracy 2008, global economic trend: the alternatives for Nigeria 2009, Nigeria @ 50: its leadership, development and the future 2010, survival of Nigerian state: political and economic implications 2011, dependence of Nigeria economy on crude oil any alternatives? 2012, overcoming the Nigerian security challenges: a panacea for national growth and development 2013, the power of your vote: a catalyst for a stable and united Nigeria 2014, the Nigerian political class and the citizens’ quest for good governance 2015, the state of the nation: redefining our values 2016, made in Nigeria products: the vehicle for sustainable development 2017, Nigeria’s unity: matters arising 2018 and justice as an instrument of enduring peace in nation building 2019
Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition:
In a bid to further motivate our youths to excellence in their academics, the Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition was born in 2004. All Senior Secondary School students across the nation are eligible to participate. The winner for the maiden edition was from Lagos, while the winner of the 2019 edition was equally from state. The competition is currently going on nationwide and we look forward to presenting the winners and their schools with their prizes at the next annual lecture. The winner of the 2005 edition being a special edition to mark the 60th birthday of the Presiding Bishop also got a scholarship for his tertiary education in addition to the cash prize for the 1st prize position.
Mike Okonkwo Football Competition:
This is a football competition to reach out to the youths in their locality and draw in as many youths as possible into their team. This will serve three purposes:
- Throughout the period of the tournament, youths in the various suburbs of Lagos, irrespective of tribe, tongue, religion or race come together in unity and one accord thereby fostering unity in the nation.
- The youths who are not members of the church are brought into the church in a bid to assure them of a bright future and a hope to look forward to.
- The tournament also provides exposure to the youths who are skilled in football but have no opportunity to play in any club. Some club managers visit the venue of the tournament and identify those who could be encouraged further in the game of football.
Empowerment for less privilege:
This is a non-profit organization which is committed to lending a helping hand to the less privileged. The activities of the Mike Okonkwo Foundation include:
- Running of vocational schools free of charge to youths in remote areas to give them the opportunity to acquire skills for survival, development and participation in community life. Currently there are two of such centers in Lagos (Agege and Mushin). Graduates of the vocational centres are also assisted where feasible to establish small scale businesses in a bid to make them responsible citizens of this great country thereby reducing the menace of “Area Boys” and other youthful delinquencies.
- Running adult literacy classes and free WAEC/JAMB/NECO preparatory classes. Proven teachers are employed to teach core subjects including Mathematics, English language, English Literature, Government and Economics to these students free of charge.
- Award of Scholarships to students in tertiary institutions throughout the beneficiary’s course of study. The Foundation has 14 students currently on her scholarship scheme.
- One-time assistance to institutions like the old people’s home, and handicapped children’s home
Donation of medical equipment to government hospitals: the first in the series was the donation of 10 wheelchairs each to 4 institutions: National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and General Hospital Lagos.
We carry out prison evangelism in all the prisons and remand homes in Lagos, not just by ministering to them spiritually, but also assisting in other areas, including legal assistance to inmates who cannot afford it. We join hands with the government to provide some basic things and assist in integrating them back into the society when they are released.
Jesus in the Community:
All our programs outlined above are some of the things we do to be the extension of Jesus in our world. Jesus said we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We take the light of the word to our world through these community centered programs and street crusades. We also reach out to HIV positive victims by giving them hope medical assistance as the Lord enables us.
The Ministry is aware of the challenges of Pastors in rural areas and as such reaches out to them on monthly basis by paying monthly allowances, giving assistance for the purchase of land for their ministries, organizing all-expense paid training programs; this is in addition to various one-time donations, and other necessities as the Lord enables us. Recently, the ministry donated 30 motorcycles to ministers in rural areas.
In addition to all these, the ministry also makes it a point of duty to make her presence felt in her immediate locality with amenities like street light which was done in Ejigbo, provision of boreholes and other programs that will be a blessing to the immediate environment where the branches are located.