THE ABIDJAN MISSION, 2014
DAY ONE (9th October, 2014)
On the first day of the Success in Life Summit in Abidjan, Rev. Olatona taught LEADERSHIP: THE INTRODUCTION during the School of Leadership session.
His teaching went thus:
There is a wise saying, “Everything in life depends on or is determined by leadership.” Whether it is marriage, church or in the society, the secret to making it work is by leadership. If leadership gets better, the people will become better; if the leadership is faulty, then there will be crisis. Matt. 15: 14 – If the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into a ditch.
To improve an organisation, the leader must be improved. If the leader is ignorant or blind, the organisation will crumble. As a leader, you cannot give what you do not have. You can only lead people as far as you have gone yourself; therefore as a leader, you must see ahead. There must be vision!
About Vision & Leadership
Vision is the picture of the future; a leader must then have clear foresight. There are those who build and those who design; you cannot build if you do not have a specific picture in mind. This is the job of a leader – having a picture in mind of where you are leading your people and what you are building them to be. It is illegal to lead people nowhere.
Whatever is not growing is dying! If you do not want your organisation or church to die, you need to come up with a vision! A vision so clear that can be documented and will be the new territory you are taking your people. Habb. 2: 1-3 – when you see what someone is telling you and not just hear it, it means you have been able to transform the words into an image; and that can only be achieved when the vision is clear!
That one has a vision before does not mean one must sit down stagnantly managing it; one needs to create another one. Keep creating and pursuing. Leaders are not managers. Leaders innovate; they are concerned about the people (not the system), and are concerned about creating a new future.
The Dead Sea in Israel is called that because it only receives and not give, other rivers flow into it, but it never flows out. Many do not “flow out” to their people. If your church does not attract new members, it is like the Dead Sea, and nothing survives in the Dead Sea. New things need to emerge from a leader. As a leader, create ad venture into new things or else what is in your hands will not grow.
Brand and re-brand – same dream, different packaging. If there’s nothing new coming from you, the people under you will get tired. Re-branding makes you relevant and keeps you on top of the competition.
Leadership determines if you will fail or succeed. “The leaders that you follow will determine your destination.” No disciple can be ahead of his master, the most he can be is “like the master”.
The reason why we have leaders and spiritual fathers is because they give us the opportunity to sit on their shoulders and see ahead. If you do not have a father, you do not have feathers; and if you do not have feathers, you cannot fly. Where you are in life today is exactly where someone has led you. There is no self-made person. Make sure that the leadership or the association you are under is progressive, innovative, challenging and breaking new territory.
Rev. Olatona then brought the session to a close after giving his first definition of leadership. Leadership, he said, is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, generated by a passion, motivated by a vision, produced by a conviction and birthed by purpose.
The second session started 2 pm. This session was the Skill Acquisition session; and Rev. Olatona took the attendants on theory and practical teaching of four different types of home-use chemicals – Stain Removal (Bleach), Toilet Wash, Body Perfume and Air Freshener.
The third session commenced at 6 pm. This was the Success Night session. Rev. Olatona’s preaching was taken from Mark 5: 25-34, about the story of the woman with the issue of blood. His teaching went thus:
The Bible tells us that there was “a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years…” Her name had been forgotten, her problem had become her name. Now, the Bible lets us know that the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11); this woman had bled everyday for twelve years, meaning she was losing life each day! Nobody is supposed to lose blood for such a lengthy period and still be alive, but God had plans for her! Aside from continuously losing blood/life, she was also losing money (vs. 26); she had spent all she had on various physicians, yet she didn’t get better, she only grew worse! But then in vs. 27, the Bible tells us something wonderful happened – she heard about Jesus! We do not know for sure what she heard that helped her make up her mind to want to touch Jesus’ garment; brethren, what did you hear that made you come to church? Whatever it is, Jesus is available to meet your needs! Your problems may be so bad that people may been wondering whose sins you are paying for, just as the disciples asked Jesus in John 9: 1-3, who sinned for the blind-from-birth man to be born that way; and today, there is only one answer why you are going through such problems – the same answer that Jesus gave His disciples – it is so that the works of God may be made manifest in your life!
After the woman with the issue of blood had heard about Jesus, she said to herself… “If I may but touch His clothes, I shall be made whole!” Sometimes all it takes is to have faith, enough to speak goodness into our own lives! This woman’s heart had touched Jesus, before her hands did! Sometimes you need to “say to yourself”! Your heart needs to touch before your hands! Now, the city where this woman lived was not the same city where Jesus was, but she stretched out her faith and it seemed that every time she said those words to herself, she was drawing Jesus closer to her; since she could not leave her city, her faith was doing all the work – it was pulling Jesus closer!
If only we can stretch out our faith, God will come to us! This woman said those words long enough that it eventually brought Jesus to her city. Draw Jesus to you with your heart and words. Her words and faith were strong enough that even though Jesus was thronged by a large number of people – meaning He was being pressed tightly together, He was crammed – all that crowd couldn’t stop her! She found her way till she was able to touch Jesus’ garment, and what happened after she did? Her problem of twelve years ceased immediately! The fountain of her blood that had kept gushing for twelve years incessantly dried up!
What is and how long has your problem been? What names do people call you now? – the barren? the spouse-less? the jobless? It doesn’t matter, because Jesus is capable of putting a cessation to that nasty incessantness in your life!
After the powerful preaching, Rev. Olatona prophesied into the lives of the people and laid hands on some of them.
DAY TWO (10th October, 2014)
Rev. Olatona, during this second School of Leadership session, continued on his topic LEADERSHIP; THE FACTORS INVOLVED.
His teaching went thus:
When the leadership of a church gets it right, the people rejoice. When the right people are in authority, the nation will flourish.
From our definition of leadership, there are some factors involved that all together will make and pave way for good leadership. They include, influence, inspiration, passion, vision, conviction and purpose.
PURPOSE must be discovered, understood and captured before one can be a leader. Purpose is the reason why you are born, the reason why you are called! No one is born into this world without a purpose, whether you are born in or out of marriage. If there was no purpose for your life, you will not be here. Jer. 1:4-5. You are a person of purpose, and you must capture your purpose. However, no one can create his own purpose, because you did not create yourself. Since you cannot then create yourself, it is then of paramount importance that you go to your Creator and ask Him what the reason for your living is! If you do not know your purpose, you will abuse yourself. When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable. You cannot be an effective leader if you don’t know why God created you, because you will not be able to help others – you cannot give what you do not have! Therefore, for you to discover the reason/assignment for your life, you have to encounter God.
When you discover your purpose, it then produces your CONVICTION. Conviction is a fixed/firm belief; it is confidence in yourself and purpose – you become convinced that this is what you were born to do. A leader should firmly believe in what he is called to do, or else every wind that blows will shake or blow him away! It does not matter who has come before or will come after you, once you know what you are called to do, you must strongly believe in and be convinced about it. Leaders believe in their own conviction, their conviction becomes their life. You can never become a great leader until you discover a conviction greater than life. If you are not convinced in what you are doing, nobody will follow you.
So it begins with your purpose, and then with your confidence.
VISION gives you the picture of where you are going; this becomes your motivation. When God came to Gideon, He called him “might man of valor”. There was nothing mighty about Gideon, he was weak, he was hiding; but when God shows you your vision, He doesn’t show you your weaknesses or present state; He shows you your strengths and what He wants you to become. Vision encourages and motivates you. Joseph was motivated even when he was in Potiphar’s house and in the pit, because he knew he was still going to the palace – God had shown him that vision! If you can’t see God’s vision for you, then you are blind. A person that is blind is not the one who’s physically blind, but the one who doesn’t have a spiritual eye. Vision gives you the eyes to see your purpose. Your vision gives you hope for tomorrow and build your confidence.
Purpose with a conviction and vision will produce your PASSION. Passion is a desire that is stronger than adversity and death. Paul risked his life because he had passion for his calling and ministry. If you cannot die for what you believe, no one will die for you. Passion is a powerful/compelling emotion or feelings. It is the desire that makes an alarm clock seem very unnecessary; a person with passion doesn’t need an alarm clock to wake him; he is awake even before the alarm clock because the passion for his purpose is burning in his bones! Passion is not finding something to live for; it is finding something to die for. What are you willing to die for? If you are not ready to sacrifice anything for what you are doing, don’t expect anybody to pay the sacrifice for you. A leader doesn’t not rule for himself.
Your passion produces INSPIRATION. A true leader inspires his people; and when you inspire people they will be ready to do things for you. Life is not about what you eat or drink or wear, it is about having something to die for, something you believe in so much that you can inspire and influence other with that fever!
Nelson Mandela became a father-figure because he laid down good principles and an astounding example. He did not live in many houses or cars; he only lived for his purpose. That thing you’re doing, is it just a job or something you are ready to make sacrifices for?
Mother Theresa was a small woman and a teacher, she had passion for the poor, she moved from her comfort zone to India to feed and care for the poor.
Martin Luther King (Jnr.) is another example of a true leader, he had a dream and he lived and died for that dream. Till today, he inspires people!
Africa is not going to change until we have people who are ready to live and die for their purpose and dreams.
Inspiration is a divine influence that is either directly or indirectly exerted upon one’s soul. If you inspire people, they will submit their energy, gift, time to your dream and vision; they will desire to work without pay. If you don’t inspire, then you will manipulate – a true leader does not manipulate, control by fear, use/exploit his followers or make his people do things against their will and leave them with no choice!
How then do you inspire people? You inspire people by your own willingness to die for your dream.
The Skill Acquisition session started by 2:30 pm with theory and practical teaching on production of body cream, hair cream and insecticide. The teaching was taken by Blessing Etuk, assisted by Faith Morenikeji.
The Success Encounter Night was a prophetic night, as Rev. David Olatona prayed and prophesied into the lives of the people. He also did a little preaching on the story of Jarius; with Bible reference taken from Mark 5:22-24.
He enlightened the congregation, saying, that the problems Christians face are also the same as the ones unbelievers face. The only difference is that, as Christians, we have an edge over the unbelievers – with us being children of God, therefore our situation must not end up the way an unbeliever’s will. If the problem will swallow the unbeliever up, it must not swallow us up – because we have God!
Jarius had a daughter who was on the verge of death. He ran to Jesus and fell at His feet. The attitude you put up and the one you run to when you have a problem will determine whether you’ll win or lose. The question therefore is, who do you go to when you have a problem? Jarius had a problem; he left his problem at home and went to look for Jesus. It is what you go to look for that you will find.
Also, Jarius falling at the feet of Jesus represents that even in the midst of the chaos going on around him – his child was dying, he still worshipped Christ. Many go to God murmuring and complaining, forgetting that God has needs too! God cannot worship Himself, He needs us to worship Him; He needs us to give Him what He cannot give Himself – when we do this, He will give us also what we cannot give ourselves! When you fall at the feet of a king, it means that you are praising Him, and this will open the door to God’s blessings for you. It will bring God to where you are. Psalms 100:4. The question now is, can you still worship God in the midst of your problem?
Rev. Olatona ended this session with prayers.
DAY THREE (11th October, 2014)
Rev. Olatona started with the summary of the previous day’s teaching on leadership and the factors for effective leadership – purpose, vision, conviction, passion, inspiration and influence. Talking on destination and vision, he said God will not tell you how you will get to your destination but He will show you the end from the beginning. God didn’t tell Joseph how he would get there, but he showed him “there”.
A true leader doesn’t seek power from the devil but from God. Ill-gotten power manipulates, divine power inspires. Jesus didn’t say by their miracles we will know them, He said “by their fruits”. Do not seek power as a pastor to perform questionable miracles. Stay with God, hold on to your bible, walk by faith, live holy life, pray, fast and you will see God work in your ministry. Once you begin to manipulate, you cease to lead. “True leaders don’t use gimmicks”.
He started his teaching for the day by giving his second definition of leadership – you are a true leader when your action inspires others to think, dream, do, learn and become more. You are a true and effective leader if what you do increases the power of the people. So does your action increase your power or your people’s?
He then spoke about some characteristics that a true leader must possess —
True leaders don’t seek followers; they are too busy pursuing the purpose. People pursue you when you pursue your passion. Jesus pursued His ministry until He died, because that was what He was born to do – save His people. 1 John 3:8. Influence will produce leadership.
True leaders are willing to work alone. A true leader must not be mindful of things of the world; worrying their heads over followers. A true leader is still a leader even if he is pursuing his assignment alone, because he has found something more important than the people – the vision God has given him. Not all followers are there for true reasons; some are there for selfish reasons. Just like Jesus recognized that most of the people that were following Him were doing so because He could provide fish and bread. Not all followers are truly with you. Some are there because of what they can receive from you.
True followers follow you for what you are pursuing and are willing to make sacrifices for and with you. If you need people to validate your purpose, you are not a true leader. The question in your mind should be – have you found something you are willing to do by yourself even and especially when nobody shows up? Every vision has only one believer first; and that is YOU! Don’t be discouraged because God will never show you what is impossible.
A true leader must stay. You must develop your character so much that when people come and go, you are to stay with your dream. It is not your methods, techniques, education, anointing, skills that’s the priority in leadership; it is your character. The anointing will take you to the top but it takes character to keep you there. You cannot be sustained without your CHARACTER. Today, all over the world, the major problem is character. Preachers preach against divorce but they are divorcing; they preach faithfulness, but they abandon their children.
WHAT THEN IS CHARACTER? Character is something that is fixed, predictable… 1, 2, 3, 4… A, B, C… are called characters because they don’t change. “Character is who you are when no one is watching”.
In the body of Christ, the problem we have is that we take time to develop our outside (personal goals) but not enough time to develop our inside (personal growth). On the outside, we are winning, on the inside, we are losing. People get close to great men of God and cannot juxtapose their outside and their inside because there is character failure!
At the age of 17, amongst ten of his brothers, Joseph was the only one speaking the truth. Even after they have gotten rid of Joseph, for 22 years, none of them told their father the truth of what they did to Joseph. When they arrived in Egypt, Joseph tested them to see if they had changed and yes, they had changed because they defended Benjamin from being taken captive.
Are you taking time to develop yourself? Your greatest victory is not victory over your enemy, it is victory over yourself. If you can rule over yourself, you can rule over anything. Samson did all the things he was forbidden to do, he believed too much in his anointing, but the rules he broke made him fall. He didn’t build his character. The one-man army of God had his eyes removed; he became fun and games for his enemies because he did not build his character!
Gehaz was greedy and covetous and it put him in trouble. Discover your weakness and fight them. Like Gehaz, some ministries now have leprosy because their leaders are greedy.
God isn’t only interested in your destination; He is also interested in the process of the journey. It is on the journey that He takes time to develop your character. If you don’t allow God to work on you, it will be difficult for Him to use you. Eli’s children were taking offering before it was accounted for; because of this God took the priesthood from their family and placed a curse on them because they were tampering with the glory of God.
Is your yes, yes and your no, no? Are you truthful? Can God trust you to lead His people? Can He trust you to do it to please Him?
Rev. Olatona prayed for the pastors at the end of this session. This service was recorded by Benie TV, Abidjan and Rev. Olatona, Prophete Justice Diomande and Prophete Elisee were briefly interviewed after this session by presenters from the television station.
The Skill Acquisition session started in the afternoon with theory and practical teaching on the production of disinfectant and liquid soap.
The final Success Night started that evening at about 6 pm. Eight people testified to what God has done for them through the summit, read here.
After the testimonies were taken, there was a thanksgiving session, after which Rev. Olatona led a prayer session.
The team left Abidjan Monday evening. We thank God for a gloriously successful summit, for all the lives that were imparted and all the testimonies. We appreciate everyone of you that prayed for us, supported us and followed all our activities on Facebook. May God continue to bless each and every one of you in Jesus’ name!