As a college professor, I have regularly challenged black scholars to step outside the walls of the ivory tower to engage the black community. Sometimes, the purity of our chosen profession can lead us to feel that sharing our skill set with the world dilutes the quality of our work. I do not agree. Intelligence means nothing if it is not accompanied by courage, creativity and compassion for other human beings.
The same can be said about spirituality. Jesus was not a man who stayed inside the walls of his church, selfishly enjoying the spirit of God. He did not get so obsessed with the bureaucracy and goals of the church that he forgot about the infinite power that God provides when achieving a greater good. While many pastors yell and scream from the pulpit, some have forgotten that old expression, "What would Jesus do?"
Pastor Adepoju Oyemade brings such a spirit to the people of Nigeria and they love him for doing so.
I met "Pastor Poju" during a recent trip to Nigeria. I was immediately impressed with the manner by which the pastor has utilized recent freedoms in the country to take God to the people. But he has not only taken God to the people, he has used the power of free enterprise to introduce them to a whole new world. His semi-annual event, called "The Platform," is one of the most celebrated events in the entire country. The pastor brings together 20,000 citizens of Lagos, Nigeria and teaches them the value of entrepreneurship and tools for running a successful business. His work in the community earns him respect, and it is the kind of work that should be used as an economic development model for black pastors and business owners throughout the world.
Q: Tell us about "The Platform." Where did the idea come from and what gave you the passion to pursue it?