A message to Campus Fellowship Executives & Founders – (1Kings 12:27-31)

The mindset of “Let us start our own” is the sin of Jeroboam. Note that his sin was first a mindset before it became an act. Consider what Jeroboam said in 1Kings 12:27 that made him set up his own special worship centre (seemingly) for the Lord :-

If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. (KJV)

As soon as these people resume worship at The Temple of GOD in Jerusalem, they’ll start thinking of Rehoboam king of Judah as their ruler. They’ll then kill me and go back to King Rehoboam.” (MESSAGE)

The bottom line of the sin of Jeroboam is that he wanted to keep the people under him by all means and would not risk them going else where (under another man’s authority) even if it is to serve the same God of Israel where He chose to be worshiped. It would be a wonderful experience to investigate the very thought and mindset that initiated the establishment of many fellowships on campus as to check peradventure it is simply arising from the desire of one man of God to keep his church members continously under his signboard wherever they go (just like GSM companies are spreading their masts everywhere just to keep their customers within reach.  Hmmm!! As if to say, “If this people begin to attend another fellowship other than our own, they might never return under us”. This is a very subtle attack of the enemy on the oneness of the body of Christ.

If we were to sincerely analyse the origin of every campus fellowship around us, we would discover that written quietly behind the signboards of a number of these fellowships is “Let us start our own!” When the pastor of a city church suddenly realizes that he already has four of its members in University “A”, He suddenly catches a burden to start a work there. Before you know it, he calls for a special pastoral meeting during an holiday period for all the students in University “A” with the theme: “LET US START OUR OWN”. Suddenly he appoints one of them to begin to work out the modalities for starting another branch of their fellowship in that campus. More often than not, the young man who is already attending one of the existing fellowships on campus is not willing to quickly be a leader and is reluctant to leave where God has placed him but the man of God quickly rushes him with sweet prophecies and scriptures saying,” I see a leader in you, it doesnt matter how much you know, you dont need to qualify for the job, God has qualified you, Say Amen!!!”

Thats it! Left with almost no option, the guy is coerced in, the money for the facilitation is released, the venue is picked, the digital signboard and the posters for the inaugural outreach are soon arranged.  Hmmm!! Another FELLOW-SHOP  begins. Another immature (unprepared, untested, unproven) shepherd under whom many daughters are coming to be lost has been annointed. The critical difference is: A FELLOWSHIP is initiated by a deep burden for souls as placed by God with the issue of name/signboard being a secondary matter , A FELLOWSHOP is initiated by some subtle self (personal) interests mixed with religious zeal and here the name/signboard is primary. When you remove the power of unity and joint Kingdom pursuit from a FELLOWSHIP and you replace it with competition and personal establishment/name building, what you get is a FELLOWSHOP.

My concern as at this moment though is not to the churches in the city but to the numerous branch fellowships that have fragmented the body of Christ on our several campuses in Nigeria. Note that there are still a number of kingdom purpose driven and genuine fellowships that are being newly established. Establishing fellowships is not the issue here, but what is the silent motive behind each new one? Is it initiated from the subtle background of “Our own”? or “My Own”? or could it be a product of the personal ambition of one city pastor to spread his own ministerial kingdom all accross the world? I think we should check!

I paid a courtesy visit to a Polytechnic some time ago on a Wednesday afternoon and I went to the place where the school management released for all Christians to fellowship. Guess what! There are over 14 fellowships in that block, meeting classroom by classroom. if you dare to stand in between those classrooms,  you cannot but be amused. Just as the pastor in one classroom is saying, “Lets worship God in our quietness” the pastor in the next classroom is saying, “Give the Lord a big, big, big, shout!!!, Of course the pastor upstairs is already sharing his exhortation to his heavily guarded flock of 5 students and begging them not to be distracted. We thank God for the great expansion but the quiet question in my heart is “Is this really kingdom expansion?” Could it be another false expansion coming from the quiet error of Jeroboam “Let us start our own” ?

Unfortunately, these things are already plaguing our campus fellowships especially those who are birthed out of the selfish ambition of one city pastor to spread everywhere like Nebuchadnezer. When you put so much power and spiritual authority in the hands of an immature brother with no effective monitoring, you are bound to cause confusion and kick start corruption. When you see some small boy General Overseers on campus today, one would not but want to ask, “ Who made this one a ruler?”  Of course, for many, the power has already corrupted. Some have fallen in to the immorality they were meant to preach against, yet there is no effective disciplinary measures as all that the city church requires is feedback on fellowship growth and contributions made. This is not good!

Bearing spiritual responsiblity for God on campus is a very noble service and worhy of honour when it is being done with the right heart and propagated with a commensurate life. Dear reader! When you know that your life is in acute contradiction to the office you’re being called to undertake, why not rather confess than adjust your external appearance to conform to what you are not. May the Lord lead us!

Check out 1Kings12:31, 1Kings13:33: And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. (KJV)

I hereby challenge every executive electoral committee to take note. At the very roots of the misbehaviour that has plagued many campuses is an evil choice of one elctoral committee to put a faulty pillar (exco) in care of the entire fellowship structure. Some of us have appointed very commited but sexually immoral fellows as fellowship presidents of our church campus fellowships putting them as trusted overseers over the beautiful, innocent damsels of other men. We have damaged the academic achievements of some simple brothers by laying on them spiritual responsibilities they did not have the capacity to carry and combine with their academics. We have malnourished generations by subjecting them to unlearned and sometimes heretic Bible study secretaries. In short, we have made untested and uproven men captains of hundreds. Indeed we have sinned against this generation, against the Kingdom of God and this evil must stop!

I challenge every pastor trying to sponsor a new “let us start our own” fellowshop to desist from such act and put an end to the plot. Let the body of Christ be one and if God is not sending you, please don’t send yourself for him! When we thus repent, it would not be long and the kingdom of this campuses shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ!

From my heart!

Segun Coker