SPORTS & SPIRITUALITY IN THE SCOAN
An enlightening article about T.B. Joshua and his passion for sports and people.
Evangelism Through Sports at the Synagogue, Church of All Nations
Pastor T. B. Joshua, general overseer of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), has added a new dimension to his evangelical mission. He has won over the hearts and minds not only of Nigerian youths but the entire sports loving public by establishing a football academy.
“You know as a believer you must use all proper means to help the youths in this country,” he said in an interview with Lagos-based journalist, David Meshioye.
My People FC – Pastor Joshua’s Football Academy
Determined to win youths for Christ, Pastor Joshua’s “My People FC” serves as a nursery for young and talented footballers across Nigeria and beyond. The man of God has launched an appeal to youths in Nigeria and neighboring countries to join in the selection and training sessions of his academy, backing this up with a promise to reimburse whatever cost they may incur.
“It is not for any monetary gain” he said, “it is all about soul winning.”
Pastor Joshua’s soccer team shows signs of considerable promise as the budding stars of his academy are heavily sought after by renowned European clubs. Three players from his academy currently play professional football with Swedish club – Bodens BK. It has also come to public notice that Dutch team – Ajax Amsterdam has shown interest in Pastor Joshua’s boys.//
Asked about the rationale for creating this club, the pasor spoke about the need to empower the youths, saying, “The creation of ‘My People’ FC is just one way out of many to empower the youths, giving them the chance to reach the height of their careers, and also to help our national team to compliment their effort.”
Pastor Joshua’s Vision for Nigerian Sports
At the national level, T.B Joshua remains a firm supporter of Nigerian sports in all categories. His support for the national football team – Super Eagles has never been hidden. His financial assistance to Nigerian-born heavy weight wrestler Osita Offor, known popularly as Ultimate Commander, has raised his profile as a sports lover and supporter throughout Nigeria.
Both Ultimate Commander and his mentor, T.B Joshua, share the same vision for Nigeria. “When they talk about re-branding the image of Nigeria” the wrestler said, “I think that I stand out as an instrument for that. Sports remain the best place to use in turning around the image of the country.”
In June 2007, Ultimate Commander was crowned African Heavyweight Wrestling Champion in South Africa. Upon his return from South Africa, he expressed boundless thanks to the man of God. Pastor Joshua on his part, has publicly acknowledged his role in Commander’s success. “I am sure you know about Ultimate Commander” he told Meshioye, “God used me to nurture him in his dreams. He is an African Champion with a title belt to his credit.”
Pastor Joshua, the Target of Undying Criticism
Despite his immeasurable benevolence and his ability to inspire his followers, Pastor Joshua remains the object of bitter criticism. For each giant step he makes in his evangelical and humanitarian missions, the man of God gets a gigantic pushback from his critics. A new documentary titled Deception of the Age: The Rise of the Nigerian Anti-Christ is the latest attack on Pastor Joshua, depicting him as an agent of the devil.
It is difficult to tell when the row between Pastor Joshua and his critics will end, or where it will lead the miracle-hungry masses to. Emmanuel TV, the media arm of Pastor Joshua’s SCOAN has been busy warding off these criticisms, asking God to forgive Pastor Joshua’s enemies. On his part, the man of God has only a few words for his critics. “What people do not understand” he says, “they criticize ….”