Every month, an interdenominational group, comprising mostly of young professionals gather for seven hours of pure worship which is called the Holy Ghost Party. The coordinator, Femi Akioye, the Executive Officer Lugar Rico Group, a real estate, logistics and financial management group explains in this interview.
How did Throne worship begin?
The first time I had an idea about it was in 2002, I went for a personal retreat at Cannanland, to pray about another thing entirely, then I began to see visions of people Worshiping God, I told myself that on any of my birthdays that happens to be a landmark, I will celebrate by organizing one of the biggest worship concert the world has ever seen.
Then in 2007, I went to South Africa for a programme called MegaFest organized by Bishop T. D. Jakes’ church. On the last day of that programme, we went for a missionary retreat in a small village in Soweto; I saw a lot of poor people. We wanted to preach to them but they were hungry and therefore did not want to listen to the gospel. We were told not to give them money and these people said they were hungry; they could not listen to what we had to say.
Then I saw someone selling bread and drinks, so an idea came, I bought the bread and drinks and gave to the people to eat. At the end of the day, we bought every bread, drink and cooked food in the whole village and shared to the people. Then the whole village came to us to sell, we began to worship God, then they joined us, it was a three-hour Christian party, even those who were smoking weed left their weed to join in the worship.
I was 35 years then and decided to do the worship concert on my 40th birthday. Two years ago that came but unfortunately I was so broke I could not even have a party. But God had a plan; He was already giving me a better understanding of the vision. I had planned to set up a Trust Fund that would see to the financing of a monthly worship programme because I had set up some non Governmental organizations trying to help the poor in the past, but as soon as I run out of money, the NGO also collapse.
Three days after my 40th birthday, some brothers from my church visited and when we began to pray the heavens opened and for about eight hour straight we were doing this unplanned worship. The Holy Ghost said we should call another meeting like that and God said that was what He has been asking me to do. We began a seven-hour worship, third Saturday of every month.
What was the form of this programme?
We have a monthly interdenominational worship programme every third Friday. We do not ask for anything but just to worship God for whom He is. We call it, Holy Ghost party.
What do you mean by Holy Ghost Party?
What do you do when you have a party? You dance and have fun; ironically, music does not originate from man but from God. So if music is the main ingredient in making a good party, then there is no party like the party where music originated from. We call it Holy Ghost party and enjoy ourselves; the good thing is this one has no side effect. In fact, the only side effect is a positive one, you have peace and your worries are gone. So every third Friday of every month, we go clubbing, hanging out with Jesus all night, we don’t spend our money but our heart, we shower God with gratitude and he pays us.
On our first year anniversary, God said we should have Celebration worship and this year, God said every year, we should be celebrating Him. This is season two and it is a twelve-hour worship to celebrate the faithfulness of Jesus. That is why we have termed it “Jesus, the centre of it all.”
How have you been able to fund these monthly programmes since your Trust Fund is not set up yet?
We have a 12 member board and about 70 percent of the funding is from those members. But God has been faithful, we have some people who have been coming to our programmes and God has laid it on their heart to support us. We raise money within ourselves and friends and those that God has touched to be part of it.
People are getting increasingly cynical about giving for religious purposes, they see it as a way of feasting off gullible people, how do you react to this?
Yes I can relate to that, I can only talk about Throne Worship which is self sponsored. We have the tapes of the programmes which God said we should not sell. We have had instances where someone had called in saying he felt led to support the work of God, we never ask for it. In Exodus 25:1-2, God underlined the willingness in giving in the building of the tabernacle. I always say, if you cannot give willingly better use your money to buy something to eat. The offerings we receive are not up to 10 percent of the cost of the programme, the programmes we have during the day are usually accompanied by fasting and we break with real good food. In our night vigils, we serve breakfast in the mornings so you can see that we spend more. But God has been faithful.
Isn’t it a lot to ask from Lagosians 12 hours of worship, is it sustainable?
Yes it is. Our monthly programme is seven hours and people do come, we have testimonies of people saying they have been waiting for this kind of programme, people are hungry to worship God, forget about their problem, experience peace and joy. Last year, we had 12 hours praise worship and by 5:am people were not ready to go. If your worship is spirit filled, the people get blessed, they don’t complain about time when they are getting blessed.
You are asking people to just worship God in a dire economic situation instead of praying for help, will that solve their problems?
Yes, it is a surer way than praying the “give me” prayer. It is more blessed to give than receive and the only time we give to God is when we worship. When you sow you reap as guaranteed in Genesis 8:22 Peter was in the prison, the church prayed and an angel came to set Peter free. In another situation in Acts 16:25, Paul and Silas worshiped and God Himself visited the prison. The birthing scripture for Throne Worship is Revelations 4 and 5. The four living creatures and 24 Elders bow their kneels and cast their crown and worshipped. The people that are in the throne room of God are Worshiping and they carried the prayers of the saints like incense. Look at it in form of access; it is worship that grants you the easiest access to the throne of Grace. To live smart, it is better to worship God, you are giving to God and He will give you back.
Do you see Throne Worship is will become a church?
No, that is not our mandate, it is an interdenominational thing.
This celebration worship, what should people expect?
It is going to happen on November 13, 2015 at Yard 158, Oregun, it is 12 hour of pure worship, it is not negotiable. We are celebrating Jesus, who is the centre of it all. We would be celebrating His faithfulness in our lives and upon Nigeria. We will be touching heaven with our gratitude and praise.
What is wrong with the church which has been ineffective in positively influencing this country?
The church is trying but we can do better. Why is Nigeria still standing and we have not gone to war, why are we not Syria, Libya or Sudan right now? It is the prayer of the church, whether you like it or not we are still one today because of the church. I told someone that the fact that God could not find a Christian to clean up this country is an indictment on the church, but I must say that the church is doing something even though we can do better.