QUITE a lot of activities shaped the year 2019 for the London-based, youth-oriented Church that has grown to be well-known both within and outside the United Kingdom.
Starting with less than ten members over a decade ago, SPAC Nation has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.
This is not unconnected with the hard work of the committed leadership, the devotion of the membership and the seal of heaven’s approval. Results have been obvious with many lives positively transformed, a development that has reduced the population of people held by the power of darkness.
Hitherto, the city of London has battled drug cartels, gang wars, and knife crimes in recent times. 2019 was regarded as the bloodiest year of the decade. Law enforcement agencies have put in painstaking efforts to stem this tide. The desire to contribute to finding a lasting solution to these problems motivated SPAC Nation to take holistic steps towards identifying and addressing the root causes of these avoidable crimes.
These steps taken by the 39-year old Pastor Tobi Adegboyega led organisation has seen many youths align with her. Many youths who were previously involved in different crimes have found their way to the Church, surrendering various dangerous weapons.
According to PT, as Pastor Tobi Adegboyega is fondly called, ‘we set out to address the root cause of the many crimes ascribed to youths in London and discovered that many of these young ones feel they aren’t starting on the same footing with others who have better opportunities.’
‘They therefore seek ways to cover the gaps by taking to drug sales, robbery, violent gang activities and all sorts of uncharitable things.’
PT says it is a total reconditioning of the mind and reorientation that have done wonders in the lives of the teeming youths. ‘We have fed them with the word of God and helped transform their mindsets so that what they see as disadvantages can be the springboard for making meaning out of their lives. We let them know that sidestepping crime will leave them less vulnerable to untimely death and life-threatening injuries.’
Indeed, many have taken these words and admonition and have found encouragement to either return to school or start businesses. Results have followed such that those who have begun thriving are already giving back by helping others rise above varying difficulties of life.
Results that are being celebrated now are products of sacrifice, self-denial and absolute commitment by all concerned. Pastor Tobi is always quick to appreciate the inputs of every member of SPAC Nation. ‘These folks are the pillar upon which our results are built. I am an individual; nothing can be done by an individual without a team. I cannot be everywhere at the same time.’
In the spirit of initiatives that would promote its vision, SPAC Nation this year came up with the idea of Safe Houses. Young men and women taken off the streets are absorbed into secure dwellings that model atmospheres that promise entire change and meaning.
They fellowship with other people who are also resident in the house and from there surrender lives of crime in exchange for fulfiling potential. Many residents of these Safe Houses have also been encouraged to go back to school or get jobs where applicable. Things like this no doubt draw youths to a family like SPAC Nation.
That SPAC Nation does not operate like a conventional Church has drawn many youths to their services. There, no one is compelled to part with their funds as offerings. The Church instead looks for fresh ways to invest in the lives of her members, many of whom have since achieved great feats after rebellious pasts that should have led to tragic loss of lives in gang wars.
The testimony of a particular 14-year-old stands out; so serious were the circumstances surrounding his conversion. This young man was in the dilemma of choosing leaving his past and embracing the future, facing consequences even for owing his drug lord. Surprisingly, he felt like relinquishing the drugs he was to sell at the altar one day but faced the reluctance peculiar to countless unknown youths in his shoes. Plainly, his failure to show up with proceeds from drug sale would put his life at stake. Pastor Tobi did the unexpected: he gave the youngster the cash so he could turn in the drugs which were later handed over to law enforcement agents. Now, the young man has enjoyed a total shift as has a deepening passion for God.
However, it has not been all rosy for the ministry deemed as the fastest-growing church in the United Kingdom. SPAC Nation has had to deal with sustained campaign of calumny sponsored by different personalities. In fact, many unsubstantiated allegations have been proffered against the organisation. Asked to respond to these allegations, the leadership first termed the allegations as baseless.
‘These accusations are the handiwork of members who have been excommunicated for various offences – things which run contrary to the ideals of SPAC Nation. Unfortunately, the press always awaits something to feast on and latched on to the news without even bothering to balance sides.’
The Board of Trustees was confronted with an allegation that the Church forces her members to donate blood and yield the money from such exercises to the Church. In their defence, the Trustee Chair had this to say:
‘The blood of Jesus is enough for our redemption. Instead of having people donate their blood and bring the money, we contribute to their overall well-being instead, to make them useful citizens for themselves, their immediate environment, and humanity as a whole.’
When put to the Board of Trustees Chair how it was learnt that the UK Charity Commission was presently investigating the Church as a result of different alleged shady practices, he responded that the Church had never been investigated neither is it under any such at the moment, however, the Charity commission is carrying out an inquiry which in itself according to the words of the UK Charity commission ‘is not a finding of wrong-doing’ and this is what we have requested.
‘We have set standards which are compliant with the laws of the land and have nothing to hide. Many talk of being investigated as if that already equals guilt. We are fully cooperative with the Charity Commission.’
Despite bad press and campaigns of calumny being sponsored by politicians who feel the Church is partisan, SPAC Nation keeps soaring. Attendance has not dwindled and lives keep getting changed on a regular basis. The lead Pastor said the Church will not be distracted in any way:
The Church held its exclusive ‘crossover service’ in the prestigious building of the Institute of Directors in the heart of London. It was a black tie event that saw over a thousand people singing praises to God.
During the night, PT addressed the teeming elegantly dressed crowd to renew their passion for souls that are dying and perishing daily, encouraged them to renew their zeal for Evangelism and giving selflessly to this cause and this generation. The year 2020 is titled ‘The Wisdom of God.’ The church he said, was ready for the next phase of the assignment.
He also appreciated all the members, friends and associates of the ministry far and near and prayed for a most fruitful new year for everyone.