In December 1998, a Christian-based organization providing resources, ideas and teaching for youth and children workers, the Olive Tenders, Bodija, invited our Sunday School teachers, among others, to a three-day enrichment programme titled 'Teenage Workers' Training". Dr. (Mrs.) O.O. Adewunmi was the only one who attended from All Saints' Church Sunday School. It was this training workshop that sensitized her to the need for a Teenage Church to bridge the gap between the Sunday School and the main Adult Church. The Teenage Church would be tailored to meet the needs of these "seemingly neglected" young adolescents who not only felt too big for the Sunday School but at the same time felt insufficiently mature for the Adult Church.
Prior to this time, like their peers in most other churches, our teenagers spent their time either roaming around the church or chatting away during services. Apparently, the idea of a Teenage Church had been mooted earlier on by Mr. O. A. Akinpelu, because whenever he had to prepare the Sunday School children for ministrations in the Adult Church or even for outside engagements he always had difficulties with the older children as they displayed the natural characteristics of 'teenage culture' - self- consciousness, reluctance to participate, lack of cooperation, shyness etc.
Hence, in a letter dated 4 March, 1999 addressed to the then Chairman of the Church Council, Mr. A. A. Babalola (of blessed memory), a proposal was made for the establishment of a Teenage Church to help build up the " Church of Tomorrow". A memo titled "The Need for a Teenage Church" was also attached, a portion of which stated the objectives of the Teenage Church as follows:
(i) Helping the teens lay a solid foundation for their lives, especially during adolescence when there is often a value conflict between family and friends or between the Church and the Word - Provo 11: 14, 10 & 22.
(ii) Encouraging these teenagers to be used as God's warfare tools for the future - Ps. 127:4, and
(iii) Releasing them from the bondage of fear, guilt, etc. by actively listening to them.
This concern was summarized in a poem:
They pass so quickly, the days of youth
And children change so fast
And soon they harden in the mould
And the plastic years are past
So, we shape their lives while they are young
This be our prayer, our aim.
That every child we touch shall bear
The imprint of His Name
By the time the Annual General Meeting took place in June 1999, Dr Adewunmi had taken up an appointment outside Nigeria and could, therefore, not personally present the motion for the establishment of the Teenage Church. The motion was presented all the same but the name 'Teenage Church' created some apprehension in the minds of a number of those present at the meeting. The experience of All Souls' Church Bodija in this connection did not help matters. The motion was therefore defeated on the floor of the 1999 Annual General Meeting.
However, by the next Annual General Meeting in 2000, Dr (Mrs. ) Adewunmi re-presented the motion, but this time around, for a Teenage "Ministry" instead of "Church", Following a prolonged discussion, the proposal sailed through, to the glory of God. Hence, the approval for the establishment of the Teenage Ministry in All Saints' Church, Jericho, Ibadan was granted in the year 2000. Dr Adewunmi was invited to attend the July 2000 Council Meeting to brief the Council further on the subject.
In a letter dated 15th November, 2000, the Council constituted a five - person committee whose terms of reference were:
(i) to advise the Council on the modus operandi of establishing the Teenage Ministry in the Church; and
(ii) to consider all implications, financial and otherwise and forward recommendations, as early as possible to the Church Council.
This Committee consisted of:
Dr. (Mrs.) O.O. Adewunmi - Chairman
Engr. F.O. Oluyerni - Member (past Sunday School Superintendent)
Mrs. N.N. Usoroh - Member
Mrs. J.C. Ogbogu - Member (Sunday School Teacher)
Mr. O.A. Akinpelu - Secretary (Sunday School Teacher)
Two meetings were held by the committee - the maiden one on 18th December. 2000 in the Council Chamber and the second, on Monday 8th January, 2001. Engr. F. O. Oluyemi and Mr. O. A. Akinpelu handled Finance and Establishment matters related to the Ministry, whilst Mrs. N. N. Usoroh and Mrs. J. C. Ogbogu prepared the programme for the first quarter.
Thus the Teenage Ministry took off with a total of 23 children (14 boys and 9 girls):
(1) ADETOLA Adebisi (Miss)
(2) AGBEJA Mofeyisayo (Miss)
(3) AGUN Abosede (Miss)
(4) AJAJA Ayoolabode (Master)
(5) AKINFOLARIN Olaide
(6) AKINKUGBE Olubusola (Miss)
(7) AKINYEMI Teniola (Miss)
(8) BABAJIDE Bukola (Miss)
(9) EDET Ete (Master)
(10) MEWOYEKA Yanmife (Master)
(11) OGBOGU Chike (Master)
(12) OGBONAIYA Chukwudi (Master)
(13) OMOLOLA Ogunsemowo (Miss)
(14) OLUKOYA Damola (Master)
(15) OLUYEMI Leke (Master)
(16) OLUYEMI Ifeoluwa (Master)
(17) OREKHA Tolu (Master)
(18) OWOSINA Abimbola (Master)
(19) OYELEYE Ayokunmi (Miss)
(20) OYELEYE Ayoyemi (Miss)
(21) PHILIPS Timilehin (Master)
(22) TALABI Oluwatobiloba (Miss)
(23) VAUGHAN Tomilola (Miss)
Initially, the Ministry was handled by Dr. (Mrs.) Adewunmi alone,but by the end of the first year, some other teachers joined her. They were Mr. Oladimeji Oluwole and Dr. (Mrs.) Dele Sannoh. In 2002, Mrs. Julie C. Ogbogu joined us from the Sunday School. Our meeting place was the Church Office, until it was reconstructed. Since that time, we became nomadic, holding our services either on the Church Hall verandah or, on the lawn, or under the Indian almond trees.
In the report earlier submitted by Engr. Oluyemi and Mr. O. A. Akinpelu to the Church Council on the resources needed for the establishment of the Teenage Ministry, a separate building was proposed; therefore, under the able leadership of Chief Femi Adewumi, Chairman Church Council in 2002, the Church proceeded to construct a Teenage Ministry Hall, adjacent to the Church Hall. Despite a few hitches, the hall was completed and dedicated on Whit Sunday, 8th June, 2003.
At the inception of the Ministry, we attended the Opening Assembly and even used the same Bible Study programme as the Sunday School. However, three years after being established, we were "weaned" and since then the Teenage Ministry has been on its own. As occasions demand, however, e.g. Children's Day, Palm Sunday. Harvest. Christmas etc., we still come together.
The motto of the Teenage Ministry is "KNOW JESUS AND MAKE HIM KNOWN TO OTHERS" The mission is to demonstrate God's love to members by meeting their needs (spiritual, emotional, relational or physical - Eph. 4: 12) and by healing their wounds, not by our own strength, but by total DEPENDENCE on God. The vision is to encourage our teenagers to become "blameless and pure children of God, without fault, in a crooked and depraved generation"- Phi 2: 15
LANDMARKS IN THE MINISTRY
At a special service every July, the SS2 teenagers graduate into the adult church. This enables them to integrate into the adult worship pattern during their last year in Secondary School. During this year, they are discouraged from being just bench warmers but rather encouraged to serve either as choristers, sidemen ladies, library assistants in the adult church or even as junior teachers in the Sunday School or Teenage Ministry. At every graduation, each teenager is presented with a copy of the Holy Bible and the All Saints' Church Supplementary Hymns and Choruses. Exceptional teenagers receive prizes for Best Behavior, Best in Evangelism. In 2007 Pa Ade Akomolafe's Prize for Integrity was added. This was first won by Miss Adebisi Adeogun.
The first teenage graduation service was held on Sunday 30th September 2003, during the Juvenile Harvest. Since then, the Church has made it a special service by itself, held either on the second or third Sunday in July every year. The director of Olive Tenders, Mrs. Sola Sun-Bashorun, delivered the sermon at the first graduation service. The Church Council Chairman, Chief Olufemi Adewumi, received the graduands on behalf of the congregation while the President of the Youth Fellowship, Taiwo Daramola, admitted them to the group. The first career talk was held on Saturday, 18 May, 2002 whilst the first teenage seminar was held on Saturday, 20 July, 2002.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PROGRAMMES
(i) Teenage Career Talk - 3rd or 4lh Friday in January
(ii) Teenage Bible Quiz - 3rd Friday in March
(iii) Teenage Seminar - 2nd Saturday in June
(iv) Teenage Graduation and Party - 3rd Sunday in July
(v) Long vacation excursion and retreat - 2nd, 3rd or last Friday in August
(vi) Welcome Teens Barbecue/Love Feast - 1 st or 2nd Friday in October
(vii) Easter visit to Christian Mission for the Deaf with presents - Palm Sunday
(viii) Christmas visit to Christian Mission for the Deaf - 1st Sunday in December
(ix) Christmas Carols at Your Door- 1st Saturday and Sunday in December - 2nd Saturday and Sunday in December
(x) Annual Christmas Party - 2nd Sunday in December after Mattins during which each teenager receives TEEN DAILY GUIDE and some other gift as Christmas presents.
(xi) "Come, let's get together" - during Christmas vacation, for our past teenagers who come home on vacation.
The important thing at every one of these activities is to "market" Jesus to the teenagers as well as to encourage them to make the Bible (the WORD) their life's true compass.
Teen Birthday Cake - This is presented on the last Sunday of every term for those whose birthdays came up during the term.
(i) 1st Sunday - Bible study, Birthday prayer for previous month's 'babies'
(ii) 1st Saturday - Interactive sessions on peer pressure, relationships, HIV / AIDS
(iii) 1st Saturday - Extracurricular activities e.g. baking, sewing, beading, baking, hair barbing, hair dressing etc
(iv) 2nd Sunday - Bible study/lecture
(v) 3rd Sunday -Teen Adult Service/Holy Communion in adult Church
(vi) 4th Sunday - Variety Sunday - Film show, Bible quiz, Teen prayer requests
(vii) 5th Sunday - Evangelism i.e. Visit to Christian Mission for the Deaf - We relate with the teenagers and raise funds throughout the year from donors to give to the Christian Mission for the Deaf at festive seasons.
Special Teenage Prayers Whenever we come together, we do have some special prayers
(1) Teenage prayer
May Christ be seen in me, O Lord,
Hear thou my earnest plea,
O take me, fill me, use me Lord
Till Christ be seen in me. Amen.
(2) Prayer for our elders
O Lord, we thank you for all our leaders and those in authority over us. Have mercy upon them, so we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
(3) Prayer for our nation
Grant wisdom, Lord, and strength to all Who serve our country's needs.
Forgive our sins and heal our land, Nigeria, In Jesus' name we plead. Amen.
TEEN GUIDES AND COUNSELLORS
Established in June 2003. A few members of our congregation were selected to look after the teen graduates in the adult church and if possible until later life because "plans fail for lack or counsel. but with many advisers they succeed" – Prov.15:22
Male Counsellors: Mr. O. A. Akinpelu, Chief S. B. Alade. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and Dr Dele Obileye.
Female Counsellors: Mrs. N. N. Usoroh, Dr (Mrs. ) Lola Falase. Mrs. O. Mewoyeka and Mrs. Olunuga.
PATRONS AND PATRONESSES
At our fifth graduation on Sunday 241h July, 2005, a few people who had played vital roles in the establishment of the Teenage Ministry were honored; thus late Mr. A. A. Babalola who 'midwifed' us and Chief Olufemi Adewumi who "nannied' us became our patrons. Both men had chaired the Church Council during the "teething" period of our establishment. They both believed in us totally and remained the backbone of the Ministry, never failing to advise us regularly. Our patronesses include Mrs. Janet Akinkugbe, Lady F. Akinsipe and Mrs. O. Daramola.
COMPOSITION OF THE MINISTRY
Until recently, our population used to be about 90. This was when students of Lead City High School and All Saints' College were in attendance. However, with Lead City High School establishing a Chapel, the number stands presently at about 75, made up of the Church teenagers. All Saints' College and Beechford International School students, To date, a total of 186 teenagers have graduated from the Teenage Ministry to the glory of God. Similarly, the teacher population has increased to seven senior teachers, four intermediate and two junior teachers.
Our senior teachers include:
(i) Mrs. Julie C. Ogbogu - Teenage Ministry Assistant Leader
(ii) Mrs. Adeola Thomas
(iii) Mrs. Omotayo Bademosi - Secretary
(iv) Chief (Mrs. ) Modupe Adeleke
(v) Mrs. Hannah Akinkugbe - (Financial Secretary)
(vi) Mrs. Yemi Odegbo-Olukoya
(vii) Dr (Mrs. ) Olufadekemi Adewunmi - (Teenage Ministry Leader)
The intermediate teachers are:
(i) Mr. Siji Sowonola (an undergraduate of O.A.U, Ile Ife)
(ii) Mr. Seyi Philips Esq. (an undergraduate of Lead City University, Ibadan)
(iii) Mr. Tomiwa Ajaja (an undergraduate of Babcock University Ilishan)
(iv) Mr. Segun Adio ( a banker)
The following are the junior teachers:
(i) Motayo Oseni (Miss)
(ii) Sola Akinkugbe (Master)
The junior teachers are past teen-graduates waiting for admission into higher institutions of learning. The younger teachers especially the undergraduates, are able to reach out more to the: teenagers, being closer to them in age. With this high teacher population, we can offer greater attention and monitoring. This is most crucial to them at this stage.
First and foremost, our appreciation goes to God Almighty for making this vision become a reality and then to the entire Church of All Saints' through the Church Council, for establishing the Ministry in the first place. We cannot but remember to express our thanks for the total commitment of the late Mr. A. A. Babalola and Chief O. Adewumi in "jump starting" us. We thank our revered father and Minister, Ven G. B. Daramola, for his unparalleled support, encouragement and prayers.
Our fervent prayer is that God Almighty-may empower us truly to live according to our TEENAGE PRAYER i.e.
"May Christ be seen in me, O Lord
Hear thou my earnest plea,
O take me. fill me. use me Lord
Till Christ be seen in me. Amen.