Enenche, the Glory Dome and Critics: One Year After, By Festus Owete
…it’s been a success story in the last one year. For a church that started at the Abuja Centre of Arts and Culture and then moved to Abuja Sheraton Hotel before relocating to Area One, this success is just enough to give glory to God. It is a further proof of the sanctity of Enenche’s call into full time ministry some 23 years ago.
Exactly one year ago, the Glory Dome, presumably the world’s largest Church auditorium, was dedicated.
The 100,000-seater edifice is one of the facilities in the expansive The Lord’s Garden built by the Dunamis International Gospel Centre (DIGC) led by Dr. (Pastor) Paul Enenche, one of Nigeria’s foremost clergymen.
The Lord’s Garden is located on Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Way (formerly Airport Road) in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Apart from the Glory Dome, there are other structures and facilities in the Garden, whose groundbreaking was performed in September 14, 2014 by the presiding bishop of the Living Faith Church a.k.a Winners Chapel, Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo.
The facilities include Rose of Sharon Gardens (for leisure), Still Water Restaurant, Destiny Christian Academy (a Boarding and Day School), Pastors Quarters and a Water Fountain.
Work on some structures is in progress, just as more are being planned. For instance, the motor parks and some of the inner roads are getting attention, especially now that the rains are receding. Recently, Enenche hinted of a plan to construct a mega hotel someday, where Christians from any part of the world could camp to seek the face of God.
To be sure, the Glory Dome, about twice the size of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, is the major attraction in The Lord’s Garden. Information pieced from the internet indicate that it was constructed by Geometrica Incorporated, a U.S. based company. Its yellow coloured roof spans 228 metres and covers 22,148 square metres – over two hectares (five acres) without any interior column.
The Glory Dome has five major entrances, namely: Glory Gate, Praise Gate, Power Gate, Goodness Gate and Grace Gate. There are other entrances on the side of the auditorium, where offices are located. The Dome also has two long galleries and an expansive pulpit.
The edifice was dedicated four years after work on it commenced, without financial pressure on members of the church, and it is debt free. It was a period of harsh economic recession in the country. In fact, construction of the Dome reached its peak at the time Nigeria’s economy slipped into a major downturn – a period when the foreign exchange rate of the naira rose astronomically. The economy went into decline in the second quarter of 2016, barely two years after the construction began, until September 2017.
Although the exact cost of the project is not known, interestingly, as mentioned above, neither the church nor its members came under any financial pressure while the construction lasted. Never for once was offering taken twice during services towards the project. Anything anyone sowed was merely out of his or her volition, thus validating the scripture in I Chronicles 29:9. Yet, not a kobo of any politician or government official was used for the project. Enenche himself repeatedly said he never lost sleep nor had a sleepless night while the construction lasted.
The dedication of the Glory Dome, performed by Bishop Oyedepo, Enenche’s spiritual father, on Saturday November 24, 2018, attracted many from all walks of life.
Fathers of faith in attendance were the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Olasupo Ayokunle; Bishop David Abioye of Living Faith Church, Goshen, Abuja; American evangelist, Morris Cerullo; Pastor David Ibiyomie of Salvation Ministries; and Pastor Goodheart Obi Ekwueme of Horn of Revival Ministry.
Prelate of the Methodist Church, head of the Four Square Church and representative of the ECWA Church also graced the momentous occasion. The general superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor William Kumuyi, could not make it to the event but was the guest preacher at the last night of the church’s convention that was held immediately after the dedication.
The dedication turned out to be one event that brought members of the ruling and opposition parties together lately.
From the government came Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, himself a pastor with RCCG; the then speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is a member of the Living Faith Church; Governors Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Samuel Ortom of Benue and the then Nasarawa deputy governor, Silas Agara. Also at the occasion were ex-Plateau governor, Senator Jonah Jang, Senator Dino Melaye, the then speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, John Gaul Lemo, and others. Members of the diplomatic community were also at the event.
The conception and construction of the Glory Dome was somewhat akin to that of the biblical temple. 2 Samuel 7:1-2 records that David desired to build a temple for God when he observed that he was living in a beautiful palace, while the Ark of God was kept (living) in a tent.
However, God refused David the permission to build the temple because he was a soldier and had shed too much blood. Instead God, who spoke through Prophet Nathan, promised David that He would make one of his sons King, who would build the temple.
The Bible records that Solomon began to build the magnificent temple in Jerusalem in the fourth year of his reign and completed it seven years after, in accordance with the specifications given by his father, David.
Like the biblical temple, God was involved in the conception and construction of the Glory Dome, which even amazes experts in the building industry.
Hear Enenche’s account of the vision he had about a decade before: “God gave us that vision; with the vision, there must come location. That was how we began to pray and in the night I had a revelation where I was taken to a land along the Airport Road, with a landmark that showed me that land.
“We looked for land but we couldn’t find one. So we decided to buy land somewhere else, almost a thousand acres and another 700 acres in another location. We were almost starting in one of those places when the Lord reminded me that there was somewhere else he showed me and that I should still go ahead and look for the place.
“I then called one of the surveyors in our church and anointed him with oil and tasked him to go and look for the land along the airport. To the glory of God, within one week, he was back and said he had found a place. And when we got here, I said this was the place the Lord showed me. And that was how we secured this place after almost 10 years when it was first released via revelation.”
Enenche explained that in the revelation, God told him it should be close to an airport so that everyone, perhaps including foreign dignitaries and presidents, would see it from the road.
In the sermon he delivered during the dedication, Bishop Oyedepo noted that the construction of the Glory Dome was “a fulfillment of prophecy.”
The foot soldier of God stated further that, “This huge temple and other such huge temple across the nation are clear indications of God’s manifestation in the land.”
Apparently elated at the magnificence of the Glory Dome, Pastor Adeboye said the completion of the Dome was an answered prayer.
He said, “When I walked in here and I was here before, I was here when this place was yet to be roofed, I walked up and down the place and I cried to my God that He should hurry up the job. Thank God for answered prayers.
“I walked in here this morning, my heart leaped for joy. Why? Because there is a prayer that I always pray that God allows my children to be greater than I. And God is already answering my prayer.”
The two foremost clergymen also prayed for God’s glory to manifest powerfully in the Dome.
Both Jonathan and Osinbajo also expressed joy at the construction of the unique edifice.
The dedication of the auditorium did not however come without drawing flaks and disapproval from some quarters.
The cyberspace was awash with criticisms by those who suggested that since God does not live in temples built by hands, the money expended on erecting the Glory Dome should have been channeled to the building of factories and industries to provide employment for jobless Nigerians. Others felt the money could have been used to build more health and educational institutions for Nigerians.
Not even attempts to explain the vision for the project could assuage the critics who, lamentably, got a fresh opportunity to denounce the body of Christ and men of God. Is it then a case of the carnal mind not understanding the things of the spirit?
Perhaps, what the critics failed to understand is that although God does not live in temples built by hands, God is hugely interested in places where His people worship and where His name is associated with.
If not, why would God be interested in the temple Solomon built as a permanent resting place for the Ark of God, which contained the Ten Commandments?
If God wasn’t interested, He wouldn’t have allowed Solomon to go ahead with the construction of the gigantic temple, which by today’s estimation, runs into billions of naira.
In 1 Chronicle 28:3, God, who does not dwell in a human temple, had stopped David but nudged Solomon on. In 2 Samuel 7:13, God told David, who conceived the plan, that his seed “shall build a House for my name.”
In 1 King 9:7, God told Solomon that he had hallowed the temple for His name.
And when Solomon finished building the temple, I king 8:10 and 11 record that the “cloud” and “glory” of God filled the house. And then in 2 Chronicles 7:16, God declared, “For now I have chosen and sanctified this house that my name may be there forever; and my eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”
The temple was so important to the spiritual lives of Israelites that even after it was destroyed about four hundred years later, in 586 BCE, some Jews led by Prophets Ezra returned from exile to rebuild it, thus having the second temple on the same site 70 years later.
Granted that Muslims have built mosques on the temple site, what the critics do not know is that in these contemporary times, traditional Jews pray three times a day for the restoration of the temple.
Again, the critics may not know that between 5,000 and 10,000 people worked on the Glory Dome and indeed The Lord’s Garden and received and earned their living from there. This is not a feat many of our politicians who make away with public money can boast of.
Beyond all this, God has since validated the vision He gave to his servant, Enenche. The Almighty has in the last one year proved that, like the biblical temple, His eyes and heart are perpetually attached to the Glory Dome.
Mind-boggling and ear-tingling miracles and deliverances have happened in the Glory Dome in the last one year. The raw encounters with God have put a lie to the criticisms that trailed the dedication.
In the last one year, worshippers at the Glory Dome have been healed of diseases, delivered from the oppression of the devil, with the dead raised to life, the kidnapped freed, the blind receiving their sight, the deaf hearing, the lame now walking, cancer checked back to hell, debts cancelled, drug and alcohol addicts delivered and rehabilitated.
Also, madness gave way to sanity; those that stammered had their speech rectified; twisted legs, hand and tongues were straightened; protruding bones normalised; fibroids dissolved; fallopian tubes unblocked; and heart conditions healed; lumps disappeared; angelic encounters experienced; and massive salvation of souls going on at the Glory Dome.
A few examples will suffice. In one of the services on October 29, a young man said during the dedication of the Glory Dome he had asked God to give him a job before the Dome clocked one year. The man returned to testify that he was recruited into the Nigeria Army as a second lieutenant shortly.
A naval personnel, who was assisted to come as he could not walk by himself, testified in the Healing and Deliverance Service of October 22 that immediately he stepped into the Glory Dome, he had the leading to pull his shoes/sandal and as he did so, his healing began. His temperature also crashed just as he began to speak audibly. He could not do so before then.
Still there were instances where God Himself directed people from abroad to attend services at the Glory Dome and when they came they were healed of their afflictions.
For instance, in the Healing and Deliverance Service of October 29, a woman who came from Holland, testified of how God told her to come to the Glory Dome to worship. She had arrived on October 25. When she came, she was healed of breast cancer. After testifying, she rushed to the airport to catch a 2 p.m. flight back to her country.
In the Healing and Deliverance Service of November 19, a woman from Uganda testified of how she got the direction to travel to the Glory Dome. While the heated praise was on, she was healed of a heart condition.
For many, the Glory Dome was the last bus stop. Indeed, so overwhelmed was a testifier who declared one day that the Glory Dome is not just a Dome but a power house. This is truly so because there were instances where medical doctors handling hopeless cases referred patients to the Glory Dome for God’s intervention.
Again, the Glory Dome has become a tourist centre of sort. People troop in from within Nigeria and from all parts of the globe not only to worship God but to catch a glimpse of the wonderful edifice. On October 27, the wife of the deputy president of Kenya and her entourage, including the country’s ambassador to Nigeria, worshipped in the Dome during the third service.
Numerically, God is filling the Glory Dome to the amazement of gainsayers.
Aggressive evangelism commenced shortly after the dedication. A few days after the dedication, Enenche announced a 50-day aggressive evangelism, a task that was coordinated by the Evangelism Department of the Church, to populate the Kingdom of God. Members of the Department go out daily to different parts of the FCT to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, with outstanding testimonies following.
Another evangelism strategy the church embarked upon was to organise prayer sessions for different professional groups in the country. Between March and August, prayer sessions were held during Sunday services for the legal, medical, media/journalism professions; also those in the armed forces/security/para military organisations; those in hospitality profession; barbers/beauticians; fashion designers/tailors; civil servants; politicians/government officials, etc. The turnout was simply impressive.
Still, Enenche and the evangelism team have been making evangelical visits to strategic places in the federal capital. Some of the places they have taken the gospel of Jesus to include Lugbe, Efab Plaza, Banex Plaza, Gwagwa-Dei Dei, Kugbo, etc.
The church now runs three services at the Glory Dome every Sunday following the increasing number of worshippers. For the first 10 months after the dedication, only one service was held on Sundays. However, in September, the church began three services after test-running them for three weeks. The services hold at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., and 10 a.m.
Apart from the three Sunday services, the healing and deliverance service holds every Tuesday, while power communion service holds every Wednesday, and the Worship, Word and Wonder night is held on the last Friday of every month.
Since the dedication, the church has held special services that attracted people from far and near. On August 13, there was a nine-hour service and a 12-hour service on October 1. Special vigils were held on three Fridays in October. In all these services, the Glory Dome was filled to capacity.
Apart from the yearly Kingdom Power and Glory World Conference, the 2018 edition of which held immediately after the dedication, the church has also held two other conventions this year, namely the May Destiny Convention and the August cConvention. As usual, the events attracted many from within and outside the country. The 2019 edition of the Kingdom Power and Glory World Conference is kicking off this week.
It is important to mention here that the Wednesday power communion services and Sunday services still hold at the former headquarters of the Church in the Area One Garki District. This is for the benefit of those who cannot make it to the Glory Dome. Even so, buses are stationed every Sunday morning at the former headquarters to transport people who may want to worship at the Dome. Also, on service days, the church spends millions of naira to hire the buses known locally as “El Rufai” to bring worshippers from various strategic points in the federal capital to the Glory Dome. This is to ensure that members have no difficulty whatsoever coming to keep appointment with God at the Dome.
In spite of all these commitments, the welfare of members has in no way been relegated to the background. Food and other items are shared to the needy members at the end the third service on Sundays. The Church CSR is also going on unhindered. Only recently, it provided water to the Kuyizhi Community in the FCT.
In sum, it’s been a success story in the last one year. For a church that started at the Abuja Centre of Arts and Culture and then moved to Abuja Sheraton Hotel before relocating to Area One, this success is just enough to give glory to God. It is a further proof of the sanctity of Enenche’s call into full time ministry some 23 years ago.
Festus Owete, a journalist, is a member of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja.