The Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, one time acting governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Sarah Alade and Popular Gospel singer, Dunsi Oyekan amongst others have been lined up as guests for the gathering of 20,000 youths in Lagos.
The gathering tagged Arise congress is organized by the second largest Baptist denomination in the world – the Nigerian Baptist Convention for youths across the nation and beyond.
Acclaimed as the largest youth gathering, the congress is scheduled to hold between September 6 and 9, 2023 at the Baptist International Convention Centre (BICC), Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
Speaking on Monday at a press briefing heralding the congress, the President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr. I srael Akanji explained that the congress is to give the youths a sense of inclusiveness.
He explained that it is also a response of the church to the decadence amongst youth in recent times which he said needs urgent attention.
In his words, “There is no doubt that the whole world is going through an unprecedented period of change in many ways.
Various governments are switching allegiances and reconstituting their collaborations in order to be relevant in the contemporary world. Young people are seeking ways to depart their countries, particularly in Africa, in pursuit of perceived greener pastures abroad.
“Everything we are experiencing in our world today has made it a matter of emergency for us to focus our attention on our youths. Our Convention decided to call for a 3-day gathering of our young people for a REVIVAL programme tagged ARISE. The gathering is to have a heart-to-heart interphase with our young people.”
Speaking further, Akanji said, “We want the youth to know we are not dominate for ever, we are moving, they are coming. Government should also have a meeting point with the Youth, talk to the. And hear them. We are recommending this model of meeting youths to the government.”
He added that the congress will serve a s symbolic handover of the church to the youths.
While Bakare will speak on creating a new Nigeria, Alabi will take participants on Global economic empowerment as Oyekan will take the youths on soul lifting worship sessions.
Patrick White from the United States will expose youths to Global opportunities as Philip Oyewale from the United kingdom will speak on emerging champions.
Leaders from the denomination billed to speak include, the Lagos East Baptist Conference President, Rev. Dr. Matthew Awujola, Rev. Dr Chika Osai, Rev. Dr Kristilere, former member of the Nigerian Football Federation, Amos Adamu amongst others
On the level of participation received so far, Akanji said, “For once, we decided to gather 20,000 young people to conscientize them about the future and to symbolically anoint them as the future of our Convention and global Christianity. We thought if we asked for 20,000 youths, we would have at most between 7,000 to 8,000 responses, but we have been amazed by the response so far. We already have over 18,000 young people who have officially registered and the number is still counting.”
The congress will also have participants from Cote D’Ivoire Baptist, Ghana and from parts of East Africa.