Lagos Trip 2019
Redemption Church exists to glorify God by strengthening and birthing healthy local congregations. Fundamentally, we believe that the mission of God is most on display and advanced through the local church. Therefore, as a church, we commit our time and resources to participating in church planting locally and globally. In 2016, we began supporting Femi Osunnuyi as he began to plant City Church in Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos is one of the biggest cities in the world with a population just shy of 22 million people. Since 2016, through many trials and difficulties, the church is thriving.
I had my first opportunity to visit Femi and City Church in March of
2017, and the church was just beginning to gather for Sunday services,
identify potential leaders, and make disciples. It was very good for me to be on the ground and experience for myself the hustle and bustle of Lagos, as it is like no other city that I have ever visited. I was overwhelmed with the amount of work, time, prayer, resources, and people that were needed for City Church to thrive.
Last week, Dave Goffeney (Lead Pastor of Redemption Tucson) and I, along with four leaders that comprise City Church’s management team, took another trip to Lagos. This trip proved to be beneficial for Dave, myself, and Femi.We had some key experiences with the church and with the city.
First, they took us to several museums in the city, but none was as moving as going to the Badagry Slave Port. We traveled three hours each way to arrive at this historic original slave route. We were able to see with our eyes, hear with our ears, touch with our hands, and experience with our souls the pain of the slave trade. I can’t put the experience into words. As an African-American during Black History Month, to visit this place (though painful) was powerful and deeply moving.
Second, I was given the opportunity to preach the sermon at both services on Sunday with City Church. Also, Dave and I were able to interact, eat, and meet with several leaders in the church. Growth in the church over the past two years was clearly evident, in that the church has grown numerically and moved from one service to two services. Even more importantly is the number of high level, gifted, and qualified leaders that have been established. This is no exaggeration, but everyone of the key leaders with City Church would be key leaders at any of our Redemption Congregations. I say this not to imply that Redemption is the litmus test for leaders. but only to give perspective on how much I respect City Church’s leaders. Below are a few highlights, observations, and prayer requests.
• Femi and his family are thriving.
• Femi has developed a system and plan for leadership development.
• City Church has an established a plan and ministry for pastoral care. This is NOT led and overseen by Femi, which is a sign of health.
• City Church has a plan and system of engaging and reaching non-Christians with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• The Sunday service experience has increased greatly with upgraded facilities, A/C, a music team, liturgy, etc.
• There is a clear vision for the Church that its members seem to grasp and embrace.
• There is a clear plan for growth.
• Financially, City Church is trending towards being self-sustaining.
• City Church has already begun the process of becoming self-replicating.
• Femi is an incredible leader.
• Lagos is a very difficult place. Its density, lack of infrastructure, history of corrupt leadership, etc. make it a unique place. Also, it’s a city that has first, second, and third world experiences–all within a 3-4 mile radius.
• While there are many churches in Nigeria, gospel-centered churches
are underrepresented. People are craving churches like this.
• High level leaders are clearly drawn to the vision of City Church, evidenced by three of their staff members leaving lucrative career paths in order to help lead the work Femi started in 2016.
• In some ways, ministry is not much different from America, and in other ways, we are extremely different.
• Even in a city of 22 million people, people are still lonely.
• City Church has established five healthy Gospel Communities (small groups of rich study and prayer).
• City Church currently has three Pastoral Residents.
• Pray for a new building for worship space, as they are out growing their current space.
• Pray for wisdom and godliness in leading, fruit of the Spirit, and healthy numeric growth.
• Pray for continued discipleship and gospel ministry.
Overall, Dave and I were encouraged with the direction and guidance
of the Holy Spirit leading through City Church. I am pleased that we are a
church that gets the opportunity to participate in this good work that is
happening in Nigeria. Please keep Femi and his family in your prayers.