The admission requirement of the African International University (AIU) in year 1999 was that married couple should come along with their spouses. My wife already was a University graduate, so she was admitted for Masters graduate study in Christian Education. I was admitted for a Masters study in Missions. We would have resumed for study in the year 1999 but we had to wait one extra year before we could proceed to Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST), now AIU. A lot of times we wondered how the expenses of living outside Nigeria, studies and raising children will be met. Yet, we travelled to Kenya in August 2000 for our two-year Theological training. God encouraged and assured us with His word that: “… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Glory to God! Year 2000 proved to be the best time for our study at NEGST. It was a sabbatical year after our sixth year in full time ministry with Scripture Union (Nigeria). We were allowed the time to travel and learn even more towards our mission.
God arranged for us a wonderful reception right from the Jomo Kenyatta airport by the school officials who came to receive us. By the time we arrived in our two- bedroom flat apartment, there were four families (students) waiting for us. They gave us all the warmth; encouragement and support we needed to be at home in a foreign land for the next few weeks.
My wife, Adenike F. Oladeji wrote her final year thesis (2002) on ‘Students’ perception of end of course faculty evaluation at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology’. She remarks, “As an international and interdenominational school, N.E.G.S.T. is in a better position to bring up leaders for African churches with little or no denominational dogmas or biases” (Oladeji 2002, 3). This remark points out some of our criteria and expectation for studying at NEGST. We wanted a place that would expose us to the study and missions without doctrinal dogmas.
As a student who was passionate about missions, I was exposed to different cultures and peoples. This is one of the biggest experiences I valued about NEGST. Moreover, NEGST has given us the opportunity to establish friendship with church leaders from diverse denominational background till today.
We were sent and sponsored by Scripture Union of Nigeria to study at NEGST. The employee rules governing further studies of staff in Scripture Union Nigeria says: extensive in-service training for staff is arranged whenever practicable after five or more years of faithful service. This was not a reward for work done but to further equip a staff worker who has already proven themselves. The goal is to enable him handle greater responsibility.
This is a similar motivation we expect all organizations–religious and secular ones to give their workers. Workers might expend all the financial benefits of this sponsorship but they will be imparted knowledge and skills for lifetime service. We noticed that a lot of christian organizations or businesses owned by Christians hardly have a mission-led leadership programs that they subscribe to in Nigeria. Maybe they have left the process of development and growth to the staff. We therefore set up Joyous Innovations Theological and Leadership Development Institute as a place to motivate workers with holistic and globally relevant training.
We understand Scripture Union’s expectations of us to be trained at AIU. We understood that the training we got would be resources for both our theological, ministerial and leadership roles in and outside the mission. The training prepared us with skills in global missions’ initiatives, skills for training and mentoring missionaries, skill in writing for publications, and servant leadership attitude. We have established an international network of teachers, trainers and resource persons like: Professor Michael O. Afolayan, a professor of education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsvill, Dr. Mrs Precious O. Afolayan, a Ph. D degree in Educational Administration University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Ray Wheeler, a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry in Administration and Leadership from Claremont School of Theology; Engineer A.A. Oladele, Entrepreneurial Unit, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State, Nigeria, Engineer Matthias Oladele, a lecturer from Federal Polytechnic, Ede and others from Scripture Union worldwide family, Global Mission Mobilization Initiative, Christian Theological Seminary, Ibadan. They will be part of our faculty of trainers for the JOYOUS INNOVATIONS THEOLOGICAL AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE. We have modeled our work after one of the world’s most renowned leadership and missions development institutions AIU. We believe that missions must be done with as much attention to our multicultural and multi-denominational world in mind. Also, leaders must be inspired to invest in training opportunities that will make their staff lifelong assets to the organization and the world.
We would be glad to speak to Christian business owners, Church leaders, and Christian missions. Book a 30 minutes free whatsapp consultation call by messaging +234 816 000 2094, or +234 813 056 5963