Why we are raising successful business people, Apostle Abam speaks
Apostle Israel Abam is the Senior Pastor of Guiding Light Assembly, Abuja and Convener, Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, YEF, in this interview with our Correspondent, JONAH OBA, speaks on the need for the church to raise successful Christian business people. Excerpts.
Why is the church involved in building new business men and leaders?
We realized that people need to express themselves and many young people have tremendous business ideas but don’t know how to create meaning out of it. Apart from the issue of capital, you can have all the money and still fail in business, if you don’t have the proper understanding of the dynamics of business. It is important that you must be mentored by people that are experienced particularly in our unique Nigerian environment.
So, as a church, we felt that is an avenue where we can make a difference, we bring people who have excelled in this system and get them connected to young people who have ideas who would mould them till they achieve success. Let us bear in mind that networking and access are great things if you want to be a successful business man. We just felt, we can use our position as a church to make these available for young people, that’s why we are doing this.
Earlier on, the church was silent as regards business, but today there is much clamor, is there a deviation from the gospel?
There is no shift or deviation do not forget that, today, a lot of us running the churches as pastors are educated, exposed, knowledgeable and some of us are professionals. We are professionals of high standards and we understand that a business is key in the sustenance of the people, at the family and society levels and even the church.
In the interest of the church, we ensure that people who have the ability to do business do it well and with honesty.
There is no shift in the gospel, it is still the same gospel but different expressions.
Sir, for how long have you been running the Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, YEF?
Actually, we have been on this for a long time, with many failed starts. There was a time we put money together and gave out free loans; people came and collected our money and disappeared without any investment. We did it again the second time, they came, took our money and they left. But this time, we have put structures and systems in place which will prevent future occurrence and gradually building people up.
This is so because as regards money and capital we discovered that some individuals are already fully established and all they need it the training on how to invest their money, while others are financially handicapped.
For those who lack funds we see whatever financial help we can render, and after they return the capital it is recycled for the use of others successfully.
Some of the mentors at the forum are not regular churches, how are you able to connect them to the church?
These are all church folks, everyone, you saw there are members of the Guiding Light Assembly and they are business people. They are not the religious type of people and they are not pastors. They are powerful Christians, who know their God, doing business. They are able to flow because they are living as Christians in their everyday life.
Beyond the provision of network and access for young people, in the next three to four years, what you intend to see?
This is not a project that permits you are to stay for a long time; it is a transition point for many people. As one group goes, another group will come, we are hoping that in the next three to four years, a lot of successful business people will come from this forum.
You are doing this in business, what is the church doing about political leadership?
You know, until we get the business sector right, we would be releasing Christians into politics which has the tendency to corrupt them and no change will come.
For example a man like Dangote who is successful in business gets into politics, he will naturally not steal our money, so we need successful Christian business people, who can flourish in business. The church also has a platform for pushing people into government and politics.
So, when they get in there, they are already doing well in their own business. They would be able to demonstrate Christlikeness in their political endeavors and create the change we require.
Today, we have Christians in politics that are as corrupt as the non-Christians and a lot of Nigerians are tired of this trend we do not want that any more. So successful business people, who are Christians will go into politics and change the system for us, this is our desire.