Redeemed Christian Church of God buys multimillion dollar property in Dallas, USA
n a move that could catapult it to the topmost grade of Christian organisations in the United States, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, North America, RCCG/NA, has acquired a multimillion dollar property- over 250 hectares of land in Texas for the construction of a Redemption Camp in the US similar to the one on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Making the disclosure to The Guardian during a visit to New York last week, the Chairman of the church's Board of Coordinators in North America, Pastor James Fadele said the property is located in Dallas, Texas.
Fadele who reports to the General Overseer of RCCG Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye added that by October this year, the first construction phase of the property would be completed and ready for use. He said the church would build an auditorium that could seat 5000 people and some offices for its headquarters in America, which would be based in Dallas.
At the last count, there are about 150 RCCG churches in the North American continent, and the pastors expect the numbers to rise to 200 by June this year in time for the RCCG annual convention to be presided over by Pastor Adeboye.
Although Pastor Fadele did not disclose the cost of the property, real estate experts say the current value of 250 hectares of land in the location ranges in the multimillion-dollar mark. Fadele said the first permanent site on the property, which would be ready in October, would cost the church about $5million.
The first site would cover about 50 hectares and when completed would be a self-generating project with leases given out to others. Fadele said it would be constructed in the best traditions of campus system, "just like the Ife campus" referring to the now Obafemi Awolowo University campus. "We want it to be the best," he said. He said an architect has already been engaged to draw up a plan, adding that Pastor Olaoye Ghandi, the church's events planner and special duties coordinator has been mandated to be in charge of the project.
Pastor Fadele narrated how Dallas was chosen as the RCCG's base in the entire North America and how the land was secured. About 15 years ago, Pastor Adeboye had picked Dallas as the place to be the headquarters of the RCCG in North America. That was when the recent Christian revival in Dallas had not crystallized as it has today. Dallas is the home of such eminent pastors like T.D. Jakes among others.
"Before the move of God in Dallas, Daddy G.O. said Dallas would be the place, he picked Dallas as the headquarters," said Fadele. He added that the first meeting of North America Pastors of the church took place in Dallas about 6 years ago.
About three years ago, according to the RCCG/NA chairman "an American told us that God spoke to him to acquire 114 hectares and that a church is coming and he should sell to that church the same price that he bought the land."
Exuding confidence that the transaction was of God, Fadele continued the interesting story: "One of our pastors, Pastor Ajibike Akinkoye, and some other church members met this man in a restaurant in Dallas. The American approached them himself and basically inquired of the church and told them of the land that God said he should handover to the church. That was about three years ago." Akinkoye, who is based in Dallas, is one of the church's coordinators in North America.
Last year the church then acquired additional 138 hectares in the area, making 252 hectares in total in Farmersville, Dallas. The land is about an hour's drive from downtown Dallas.
Fadele said the North American arm of the RCCG is following the vision of the Nigerian RCCG in all aspects, and the US Redemption Camp is no exclusion, in terms of the development of the site. "Thinking out loud, we would likely give out land in the Dallas Camp free to our church members, don't forget that it took their tithes to finance the purchase."
Fadele heads a team of 11 coordinators who together administer the RCCG churches in North America and he said the coordinators are also determined to make the RCCG/NA a shining example for all other churches to follow, and also gain the respect of the authorities in their countries too. "We want RCCG/NA to be a model for other Nigerian churches in North America, " he says.
For instance he said all RCCG churches are to be administered by a board of trustees and pastors cannot be the only signatory to a church's account. "I have been running a church for 10 years now but may have signed a check only once, when one of the 2 other signatories was not available," Fadele explained.
He said the pastor is in the position of the chief executive of a church, but there should be a treasurer and an accountant who should be dealing directly with the accounts and writing the checks for reasons of transparency and integrity. According to him "we want our hearts to be clean as Christians, and our hands too."
Part of the system that RCCG coordinators in the US are now implementing, he said, is to ensure that pastors do not deal directly with tithes and offering, or taking money to the bank. "If that is happening anywhere we shall put a stop to it." He stated that trusted church members should be appointed to be in charge of the accounts as preferred signatories.
According to the chairman of the board of coordinators, the RCCG/NA has appointed a US-based Certified Public Accountant Dele Awe as the church's auditor. Mr. Awe is expected to go around all the zones in North America and train pastors and the appropriate church members on how to handle financial matters. Part of what the auditor would do also is to encourage the churches to install the same computer software -power church- for accounting and administration.
Once that is achieved, Fadele said, "sporadic auditing" of churches could begin. Already the auditor has completed visits to 2 Zones out of the eleven that RCCG has in North America.
Pastor Fadele started off his career as a Mechanical Engineer and rose to the position of Senior Design Engineer with America's number one business company, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan with key achievements in lead positions from various innovations.
According to his official profile: "In 1991, he received his calling from God and did not hesitate despite the novelty and challenges that lie ahead in starting the first Redeemed Christian Church of God in North America. He invited brethren and together they began a fellowship, which metamorphosed into Winners' Chapel, Detroit in April 1992. "
He is happily married to Manita, (nee Soremekun) a practicing Pediatrician, with a calling in Children Ministry. They are blessed with two lovely daughters, Tolani and Dara.
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