Origin and Expansion of the Redeemed Christian Church of God: Enoch Adejare @ 70: The Story Behind the Glory
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (hereafter RCCG) has grown to become a front-liner in Nigerian Pentecostal circles even as it continues to make inroads in other cultures outside Nigeria. But the church had very humble beginnings from which it metamorphosed into a giant, multinational organization. What factors were responsible for this transformation? What has been the cost of this expansion? What groups or structures drove this expansion? A central argument in this chapter is that the expansion of the church is a response to internal and external forces presented here as local and global influences. This makes the RCCG paradigmatic of Nigerian Pentecostalism as it reflects, on a microcosmic scale, the major trends discernible in the latter. Its local roots have been traced to the Aladura revival in colonial south-western Nigeria. This was an indigenous prayer-marked movement led by individual prophets. Their activities included fervent prayers, spirit possession and public evangelism. The global dimension was manifested in the various contacts with foreign evangelists and their ministries. In the case of the RCCG, these influences were moderated, interpreted and distilled into a distinctive organizational mould by the leaders of the church, namely Josiah Akindayomi and his successor, Enoch Adejare Adeboye. This chapter is divided into four sections. The first examines the origin of the RCCG and probes its Aladura roots. The second analyses the growth of the church by classifying it into four successive phases. The next section appraises the strategies used to promote the growth of the church while the conclusion examines the impact of the RCCG on the Nigerian society.