Pastor Emmanuel Arome Torkula, is the general overseer of Christ family ministry. In this interview with NATHANIEL GBAORON, MoneyCentral’s northern bureau chief in Abuja, the graduate of Agricultural Economics from the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi spoke about living together as people of different backgrounds, the much talked about Tinubu’s Muslim – Muslim presidential ticket among others. Excerpts...
Pastor, may we please know about your person?
My name is Emmanuel Arome Torkula, the ministry that I currently oversee will be twenty one years old this year, But then it started as a fellowship. So I will say I have been around here for twenty seven years plus because it started before I came and got involved. But then as Christ family ministry we are twenty one years old. I am a husband of one wife and my wife’s name is Nguevese Jenifer Torkula, I am Igala from Kogi state and my wife is Tiv from Benue state. We have three children, two boys and a girl. As a pastor I was in Gboko for a couple of years. Seven years ago we started part of the church in Abuja but I fully moved to Abuja with my family last year, but before then I have been coming and going. I am a graduate of Agricultural Economics from the University of Agriculture Makurdi.
Why did you venture into Pastoring?
Okay, it’s a calling. Interestingly this is not what I wanted to be. Growing up people have plans, I had plans too. At some point I thought I would be a medical Doctor, At some point again I thought I would be an entrepreneur and even a businessman. somehow, with my interaction with God It ended up this way because right in my secondary school days I was always involved in fellowships. God called me to serve him since 1996 and that’s what I have been doing. It’s a calling.
Can you tell us the number of souls you have won spiritually so far since this calling?
No, I don’t have the number. But I have been to different places and different meetings over the years. Sometimes I meet a lot of people they will tell me you were at so and so meeting I got saved, at that meeting I mate Jesus. But I don’t have the number.
Many people have testified that you have given them assistance here and there, that’s apart from preaching the word of God to them; How do you combine assisting people and preaching the word of God?
I will say it incorporates the total definition of our spirituality. Being spiritual doesn’t stop us from being relevant. One of the things that I have always believed is that one should look at the life of Jesus and the early disciples, they were not people who were just practicing a form of religion. They were people who were very very involved in everyday life. Christianity is very practical and it’s very relevant. The bible says we are salt and we are light. Salt is not something spooky light is something that is evident, so I have always believed that if you’re a spiritual person, your spiritual inclination would show in the light that you live because that’s who God wants us to be. That has actually been what has driven me because if God gives us eternal life he wants us to use it to help people in our everyday life.
I totally believe in a total transformation message. That Jesus came to save and to save that which was lost. For me being a Christian is not just some set of rituals that you do but is the life that you live. So that’s part of what really drives me in terms of relating with people and in terms of seeing people’s lives change. God’s desire is to see people’s lives change. When people’s lives are changed then it begins to be seen in the greater society as a whole.
What is the name of your ministry, do you have other branches apart from Abuja?
The name of the ministry is Christ family ministry while the name of the church is Christ Family Center. We are here in Abuja, we have branches in Gboko and Makurdi all in Benue state, we have a branch in Sagamu. We also have a branch in Kaduna and we have started a young branch in Lagos.
Who would you say has mentored you in this calling?
So many people have mentored me, People like bishop Isaac Idahosa, pastor Adeboye, Pastor Oyakhilome and many others that if I say I will mention them here even one page will not contain the names. I have been influenced by the teachings of so many of them that I have not mentioned here. I have spiritual fathers also, the one’s I am submitted to. Those people all in a way influenced my life in their perspectives. So different people have mentored me in different ways.
Now, where are you heading to?
Where I am heading to is I believe in Nigeria and I believe in Africa. I believe that we are a people that have a great destiny. I believe that every person has something that he/she is endowed with by God. What for me Christianity is is that when you receive Jesus Christ into your heart there is the light that God brings up, once that light is lift, the truth is if you understand the principles of the teaching of God’s word and you apply them you can be everything that God wants you to be that’s all.
One of the major things I have always said is that living transforms lives. Living a life that is not just for you but living your life to better the lives of others. So the vision for us is that partly we have worked with what they call total development programs. If you become a member of my church, you go through what is called goal track, then we pass you through school for a new life which is to learn the basics of the Christian faith. We also have what we call school of the local church which is to help you know how the church is structured by God. Then we have the school of Christ center and entrepreneurship leadership.
Where we are headed is to raise as many christ center leaders, many Christ center entrepreneurs, influencers who will permeate every strata of life with this message that brings change. Anytime we talk about entrepreneurship people think it is just about starting your own thing. No. Entrepreneurship is providing solutions so we are raising a generation which will be solution providers wherever they find themselves not just thinking about what someone can give to them but going inward and thinking of what they can give to the world.
You said you believe in Nigeria and Africa, As it is now, Nigerians believe in where they come from rather than Nigeria itself; What is your message to Nigerians in this regard?
The most important thing is that we are humans. The truth is if you were taken and dropped in America, you will only think you’re Tiv because you grew up there and you know the language. You are a human being. Is where you grow that shapes your tongue, culture and Ideology. If we begin to appreciate ourselves as first of all humans created in the image and the likeness of God it doesn’t matter where you come from we will have less issues as a people. look at dogs, a dog doesn’t say Iam a dog from here a dog from there. Personally I believe that dialect is just a question of conditioning, if anywhere I find myself I could as well imbibe the culture of that place and be attuned to what is said in that place that’s all.
We shouldn’t allow the environment to define who we are but the common ground which is first of all humanity. To me that’s my basis. I can’t imagine growing up with someone that we have done life together, then I begin to have issues with the person along the line on the basis of what someone says. Let me say something, we know how to celebrate differences outside language and all of that. We can also incorporate that into language. Variety is the nature of life. Languages should be seen as the beauty of life. Our differences should also be seen as the beauty of life. For me that’s how I perceive life.
Pastor, what do you think is the solution to the growing insecurity in the country?
I think it is just leadership. We need people who will stop dividing the country along the lines of ethnicity, faith and social class. The truth is that we will never have the same language, class or faith but there are things that we should be able to ask that defines us as a country and as a people and learn to celebrate that above the things that divide us. That’s my take. All this insecurity is masterminded because people are still pursuing their personal interests.
Do you have anything to say about the Muslim -Muslim presidential ticket by Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC?
The truth is that where we are as a country and in all fairness whether you like it or not faith still plays a key role in the leadership of this country and if you truly want peace you should factor in what matters to the people. I get the argument of getting competent people but I believe that they’re competent people in all the religions so if the same faith ticket is what will make the nation go in flames why not look inward? If there is no peace there will be no country to govern. The political actors should factor that in. If we grow we can also consider that but we are not there yet so we shouldn’t deny that fact.
Do you have any message for the Christians and Nigerians at large?
Yes, to Christians I will say don’t give up the faith. Some people say Nigerians talk alot about God but do very little in participation but I say well that’s not a fair statement to make because without God things probably would have been worse. I believe that God is keeping us. But at the same time, faith doesn’t sit down, faith is proactive and faith takes steps. So I just want to encourage us in Nigeria to live out the life of God, to be bold to act upon God’s word, to be able to do what the word of God says and to be able to work with love. Hate can never conquer love. It has never ever happened so we should continue to live with the love of God and do exactly as it is said in his words.
To Nigerians, I want to say this is not our worst, our best moment will come. To me I just want to encourage everyone not to give up but to believe in the common vision of Nigeria and I believe that vision will be evident in the coming days.
Finally pastor, do you belong to any religious organization both within and outside the country?
I won’t say that I belong to one actively but I participate when the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN, calls for meetings and when Pentecostal Fellowship Of Nigeria PFN also calls for meetings. I attend but I won’t say I am an active participant but we are together.