Preamble: Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English defines a vision as the ability to see and the power of imagination and expression of a picture or an idea seen in the mind and the wisdom in understanding the true meaning of facts.
However, spiritual visions are glimpses into the realm of the supernatural; the unveiling of secret matters of divine plan and purposes of a human vessel or a group of people e.g. the vision of Israel’s Nation or that of the Israel of God-the Christian Church as seen in Genesis 3:15; 12: 1-3; 17:19; 22:15-18; Exodus 3: 7-8; 19: 5-6; Isaiah 7: 14; Matthew 1: 21,23; Titus 2: 13-14 and I Peter 2: 8-9 is the vision of God to have His own people that will be a holy nation, a kingdom of royal priests and a special treasure for His glory and praise. This vision conceived before the foundation of the world was revealed to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1: 27-28. This vision was lost by Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3 and God revisited it and made it the substance of divine demand on the Church in the wilderness and the Christian Church both in the Old and New Testaments respectively.
Also, a vision is a motto that forms the compass to direct the thoughts and actions of an organization. It is the source of inspiration for daily activities and spirit-led decision making. It is the spiritual password that unlocks a ministry’s life, purposes, existence, destiny and destination. Also, a vision statement determines the momentum and the pace of interpretation for the reason of the vision and becomes very necessary in achieving a ministry’s goals and objectives. Divine vision is the only thing God backs and finances. Therefore, all TACSFONITES must not only know TACSFON vision but also work it out in their lives and other youths. Helen Keller said, “The greatest tragedy to befall a person is to have sight but lack vision.”
Two issues stand out clearly when a ministry like TACSFON is planning to succeed. They are one, the necessity of a good planning and second, the preparation for distractors and vision killers.
- A Good Plan: A good plan that can withstand adversities, odds and risks must includes:
- a vision statement describing where you want to be;
- a set of objectives which if achieved lead to a vision;
- a success map showing how these objectives link together;
- and an indicator describing what success will look like at each stage.
- Distractors and Vision Killers: Every ministry which wants to succeed must be wary of distractions and vision killers or aborters because their influences and effects can be devastating, heart-wrecking and demoralizing. Satan can use anybody and anything at his disposals: ministers, false brethren, sinners, false accusation, evil insinuations etc. TACSFON must prepare for these things. After all, these are necessary if we would focus and fulfill God’s mandate.
Birth: On the 25th February, 1978 at the University of Lagos, there was a day solemn assembly of students of The Apostolic Church from institutions of higher learning within the LAWNA Territory. This solemn assembly was preceded by a three-day prayer and fasting from the 20th to 22nd February, 1978. In the presence of Pastor Z.A Alabi, the 1st National General Secretary of TAC, Nigeria and a representative of LAWNA Executive Council, God confirmed the inauguration of TACSFON (The Apostolic Church Students’ Fellowship of Nigeria) through a prophetical ministration given by Elder S.A Olorunleke, an elder from ABU, Zaria who was in the entourage of Pastor Z.A Alabi.
- Progress Since 1978:
- TACSFON has expanded from LAWNA to all the fields of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria; both at the institutional and assembly levels until recently when directives from NEC of The Apostolic Church, Nigeria forced some of our Church-based fellowships to stop operating within the Church premises.
- TACSFON’s sense of globalization of the gospel brought about a robust fraternalisation with APOSA, a sister Christian Youth Fellowship of The Apostolic Church, Ghana and this has allowed vital links with youths of The Apostolic Church in Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and overseas countries.
- TACSFON National has grown from FOUR zones in 1978 (Lagos, Western, Eastern and Northern Zones) to FIVE in April, 1981 and to a total number of SEVEN on 19th August, 2003.
- As at December, 2010 TACSFON National had 20 (Twenty) sub-zones and about 180 (One Hundred and Eighty-Two) chapters or fellowship centres in all the states of Nigeria.
- Attendance of TACSFONITES in National Conferences rose from 67 at University of Ife (now OAU) in April 11-13, 1980 to about 1,500 at Police College, Akpabuyo, Calabar in August 20-26, 2012.
- Establishment of Child Evangelism Unit (CEU) and Children Churches in all fields of The Apostolic Church, Nigeria is advancement on the spiritual welfare of children in the mother Church and the creation of better conducive atmosphere for adult worship services. What TAC, Nigeria had before the advent of TACSFON was Sunday School.
- Greater participation and support of TACSFONITES in TAC’s activities, in youth witness, women and men movements’ programmes, in Church Officiating and Committee meetings and in engagement in full-time ministering.
- TACSFON fellowship centers have become training centres over the years where members and non-members of The Apostolic Church have been trained and prepared for future life and services in TAC, other Churches and ministries and in the nation.
- TACSFON chapters and zones have severally been involved in evangelism and church planting over the years: Lagos, Western and South Eastern Zones. I know individual chapters that are involved in evangelism till today; at least when I was at University of Ife in 1975-1979, we were doing it within and outside Ife and Modakeke townships.
- TACSFON fellowships serve as reformative centres to youths who have been rebellious, carnal, uncontrollable, wayward and problematic to their parents at homes and could have been worse on the campuses of institutions of higher learning or in the Nigerian societies.
- Challenges: Divine opportunity does not walk alone into lives and ministries; its companion or twin brother is adversity or danger or challenges etc. (I Cor. 16:9). Winston Churchill captured it all when he said, “The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity.” Therefore, we should face challenges squarely and battle them to winning like conquerors that we are (Rom. 8: 35-37). But wait and note Charles H. Mackintoh’s words, “A coward heart will not do for the day of battle; a doubting spirit will not stand in conflict.” (Prov. 23:17-19; 24:10). Now, let us look at our challenges.
- Lack of serious commitment from some of our National and Zonal officers. This lack of serious commitment is seen in deliberate avoidance or indifference to national and zonal meetings and the attendant ineffectiveness in their various offices; the desire to keep posts without performance and a burning passion to be served instead of serving.
- The incidence of sincere, able and knowledgeable brethren abandoning TACSFON, the place where they were groomed and prepared for profiting service after graduation and joining other ministries or hiding under the title of full-time ministry in the Church or simply compromising their standards and get carried away by the crowd syndrome in the Church.
- Spiritual illiteracy and immaturity is largely responsible for why leadership of some of the chapters is placed in the hands of spiritually immature brethren. This makes some of these leaders to err and become ‘spiritual casualties’. (Isa. 28:7, 9-10, 15-18; Hos. 4:6).
- Inability to unveil TACSFON vision to new generations or members of fellowship because of the ignorance of leaders themselves about the vision of TACSFON. Thus, some members are yet to catch the Glorious Vision which is the substance of TACSFON Vision. They carry the toga of religion and tradition of men about.
- The continuous entertainment of fears by some members of NEC,TAC, Nigeria and the recent pollution of the minds of the majority of the ministers of TAC fields all over Nigeria against TACSFON and its members. Already, the damaging effect is being felt in Maritime Zone where our brethren could not fellowship in Churches again.And who knows how many field or area administrators are planning to square it out with our fellowship centres as instructed by NEC, TAC, Nigeria?
- The influence of other Christian fellowships on campuses on TACSFON chapters and the error of these chapters copying them without recall to biblical standards; the strange spiritual contacts through the internet and through various global informational channels are gradually polluting our campus fellowship.
- Full-time or complete commitment and loyalty of alumni to their alma mata chapters render some of these alumni less committed and loyal to national and zonal bodies. In some cases, they fix some of their programmes in conflict with National and Zonal programmes.
- The satanic alters and sincerely committed agents of darkness within and outside The Apostolic Church conspiring to kill the light of TACSFON through falsehood propaganda, through blackmailing, through vilification and through physical and spiritual attacks are all around.
- Lack of understanding of TACSFONITES that doing great things for God demands great training especially in discipleship and character building. Therefore, many of the National, Zonal and Chapter leaders had little or no spiritual preparation before they found themselves leading TACSFON fellowship groups.
- And for the Northern and North-Eastern Zones, the insurgences of Boko Haram and tense religious crises have limited their chapters operations and are seriously affecting the effective supervision of these zones. We need to pray down God’s intervention quickly.
- Goal: To give undiluted Gospel News to the youths within and outside The Apostolic Church so that they can experience the dynamics of divine redemption and be built up to spiritual maturity and turned “world changers” to bring glory and praise to God and the Master, Jesus Christ. They should be able to say like late Pastor David Powell William (1882-1947), the 1st President if TAC, Great Britain, “I have seen Him, I have found Him (TAC at Seventy-the Vision, the Mission by Pastor S.S Jemigbon, page viii). Christ is the Sum and the Substance of our vision (John 12:19; Acts 13: 47-49; 17:6; 26:29; I Cor. 7:7).
- Methods of Achieving the Goal:
- Resurrection of all dead horizontal and vertical communication links between TACSFON and The Apostolic Church leadership at all levels and having the ability to sustain the linking bridge for long time (Heb. 13: 16-17; Eph. 6:1,4). Both parties must ascribe to biblical injunctions for the achievement of God’s purpose for the Church at the end-time.
- Effective organization of spiritual networking and intercessional cell groups to break the evil network of Satan and magical and occultic groups and their agenda, their falsehood, their rampaging influences and their evil alters in and outside the Church (Eph. 6: 10-18).
- Fuller and intentional personal integration of TACSFONITES into their local assemblies and their district and area administrations and their assembly, district and areas projects (Rom. 12: 3-5, 16; Heb. 4:11; 10:24-25).
- All the Fields of The Apostolic Church in Nigeria must have effective programmes and good succession policy for them to be able to build, prepare and encourage their youths. They must plan and evolve physical and spiritual welfare of the youth in all areas of life for solid sustenance of the present and future of The Apostolic Church. No sowing of time, talent and treasures in youths now, no harvest of good things from them in future. Simple.
- The only thing that can bring meaningful development in TAC, Nigeria is internal and external changes in human and managerial resources within the confines of the scriptures. Study what is happening in TAC of other nations like Great Britain, Ghana etc. and see whether there are good lessons to draw from them. Conservatism and blind defense of it is just self-killing (Jer. 33:3 mighty=inaccessible; Prov. 14: 12, 16, 19)
- There must be deliberate efforts on the part of TACSFONITES, leaders and the led to become disciplined disciples. There must be spiritual discipline in all areas. See below:
- Financial stewardship: Christ still watches how we are handling our resources: liberal, graceful beyond our power or stingingly; just as the unprofitable servant. You are a custodian of all your resources not an owner. Therefore, live by the Word and by faith and not by bread or money (Deut. 8:2-3, 18; Hab. 2:4; Mk. 12:41-44; II Cor. 8:3-5). Willingly dedicate and submit all your time, treasures and talents to God and never get too busy chasing money, position and achievements which are transient. Your ‘NO’ to lesser issues determines your capacity to say ‘YES’ to greater issues of value. Time is distilled opportunity- a sacred trust (Eccl. 9:11-12; Col. 4:5; II Tim. 6:17).
- Restrained and Disciplined Tongues: Unrestrained and undisciplined tongue can ruin a ministry and destroy many-years-built reputation. See Rehoboam utterances in I Kings 12:8-17 (Prov. 29:20). Note that a word uttered is a word become flesh in you. It can hurt and mar or build and make you. Therefore, in all unwanted provocations, vilifications and altercations from anybody and anywhere, TACSFONITES should be careful in talking. We advise that chapters refer cases to zones and zones to the national. Let us all have our lips sanctified and consecrated (Job 6:24-25; Ps. 141:3; Mal. 2: 5-7; James 3:2).
- Test of Forgiveness: A man or group doing a great project for God and who wants to be faithful and effective must prepare to take hurts, human disappointments, vilifications, abuses, deprivations, persecutions, assaults and be ready to forgive all the times. The forgiveness must be in love and with joy. Let us forgive one another and those who wrong TACSFON sincerely from the heart (Matt. 18:22, 33-35; Eph. 4: 32). No forgiveness, no rising of many Pauls.
NOTE: Christian disciples who depend on God to control their desires and wants are dependable disciples and the future of the world is in the hands of disciplined people and disciples.
- Finisher’s Staying Power: God always gives ‘finished work or project’ to disciples who have finisher’s staying power (John 17: 4-11; II Tim. 4: 4-8). Unwavering persistence is the test of a finisher .Also a finisher is trusty because he holds on to the end but he is also thoughtful. He has passion for the work or project and considers the best ways to achieving the end with various adversities, oppositions and trials around him (Luke 12:42; I Cor. 16: 8-9; II Tim. 4:6-8). Even when ugly situations stay for a long period of time, we TACSFONITES must have a staying power to pursue our vision to the end in the midst of unwarranted censure, unfounded castigation and seemingly spiritual centrifugal forces aiming to pull us away from Christ (Job 17:9; Acts 20:22-25; I Pet. 1:13; Rev. 3:11).
- Prospects: We strongly believe that this vision and goal are achievable as God’s dealings and success indices over the thirty-four years of existence have indicated and proved. This is God’s project and anything God-sponsored is never a failure. God backs His Word and our Vision which becomes our mission but His project to fulfillment. (I Kings 8: 56-58; Rom. 4:20-21; I Thes. 5: 23-24; Heb. 10:23).
With God on our side, TACSFON and TACSFONITES are winning. We have gone too far. NO GOING BACK! NEVER!! NEVER!!!