Mission work began in Christ Apostolic Church with the founding of the church. The first set of missionaries was train workers, traders, teachers and others who propagated the gospel in the course of doing their daily businesses. They were voluntary workers. They took the message of Christ to all nooks and crannies of our country. Next was the rise of voluntary full time workers who fully depended on gifts from their church members. Some of them were products of the great 1930 revival. Many others came from subsequent revivals. These second set of missionaries were different from the first set because they had no other work. The second set of missionaries were either healed and or received their callings in revivals. They usually went with the name, evangelists. Of course, mission and evangelism are related. evangelism came from the Greek word euangelion, whereas the word mission came from the Latin word, missio. Missio happens to be the Latin word used to translated the Greek word euangelion when translating the new testament originally written in Greek. By implication, the two words were initially the same but they are used today as different though have related concepts.
The first missionary headquarters of CAC was at CAC Olugbode, Ita Baale, Ibadan, Nigeria. That was where the first president of CAC, Oba I.B. Akinyele, had his office. In a recent investigation, it was discovered that CAC Olugbode was made the missionary headquarters because that was the place from where all CAC pastors were ordained, paid their monthly salaries, and had their annual conventions. That was so because Akinyele, been an oba, did not have the time for regular travelling for meetings outside his domain. It is clear from the above that the word missionary was used at that time generally for church ministers irrespective of their areas of service. Both stipend and non-stipend workers of the church took the gospel message across what later became Nigeria and their services were effective.
The incident of recorded foreign mission work in CAC was when Evangelist J.A. Babalola claimed a divine instruction to visit the then gold coast which became Ghana in 1957. He went to the place for revival in 1936. After 34 years, J.O. Alokan, who was later ordained a pastor by proxy, started work in Sierra Leone. Other available records about missions include Pastor S.O. Akande’s visit to Cote D’Ivoire, Pastor Ayo Omideyi’s work in the United Kingdom (1970) and Elder (now pastor) Abraham Oyedeji’s work in United States of America in (1976). Most of these missionary activities were carried out by volunteer, non-stipend church planters. The practice was that some individuals gathered people who were CAC members at home to form the nucleus of a new congregation in the foreign land.
In 1998 Christ Apostolic Church organised its department of missions. It began when Pastor (Professor) A.M.A. lmevbore drew the attention of the church authorities to the need to have official sending arm for the church missionaries to complement the non-stipend missionary activities of the church. Pastor Imevbore with Pastor M.A. Adeoye sold the idea to sensitize the church to mission work in a new dimension to the church authorities. Their suggestion was accepted and some leaders with strong mission arms were invited from outside CAC to speak on the issue in a pastors’ conference. Those who addressed the conference were Miss Mariam Jesuloba among others. The conference ignited a great passion for mission in the church.
This vision gave birth to a training programme for the first set of missionaries from April to August 1998. The training took place at Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary, Opa IIe Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Pastor C.S.A. Balogun was the provost then and other trainers include Brother Samson Agboaye of Peace Foundation Missions, Ibadan, Brother Isaac Ugwu of Mafa Mission Field in Niger State and Brother I.D. Lawon of Full Stature Missions, Ibadan and Alfred Itiowe of The Old Path Revival Commission, Enugu.
This led to the setting up of CAC department of missions with Pastor (Professor) A.M.A. Imevbore appointed as the first missions director. With the establishment of this department, CAC began to officially send out missionaries to unevangelised or poorly evangelised lands. It also began to place its missionaries on stipends and control. It also set up policies to guide mission activities in the church. The department started requesting regular reports from mission fields and the representative of the department under the department’s secretary began to visit mission fields for on-the-spot assessment. Under Imevbore’s leadership, trained missionaries were sent to people groups all over the country such as Bauchi, Niger, Kwara, Kebbi, Kogi, Bayelsa, and so on. Later, three candidates were trained in Full Stature School of Missions and were sent to West African countries namely Guinea Conakry (where Pastor Cyrille Fahami is still working), Benin Republic and The Gambia.
Pastors Aluko (now of sunday school department), M.O. Olaniyi (now in Britain) and D.O. Fakolade were sent to Nigerian Evangelical Mission Institute (NEMI) in Jos to train as mission educators. They returned to teach in CAC school of missions established in Ikeji Arakeji in 2000 where the church began to train missionaries. Graduates of the mission school were sent out to fields in areas such as Baruba in Kwara State, the Chamba and the Yungur in Toungo and Song in Adamawa State respectively. Pastor G.O. Folarin (aka double double) was employed as missions secretary that same year. Pastors R.O.A. Oyetoro and J.O. Durodola were also added as mission supervisors. Sadly, CAC school of missions is no longer functioning.
In the year 2004, Pastor Michael Anu Ojo became the second director of Missions after CAC secretariat moved to its present site at Anlugbua, Bashorun, lbadan. He administered the department till 2008. Pastor David Ola Fakolade became the third director of missions in the year 2009. His tenure ended in 2014. During this period, Pastor M.O. Yusuf served as the chairman of CAC board of missions. After the tenure of Pastor Fakolade, Pastor Yusuf acted in that capacity until the appointment of the new director. The present director of missions/chairman missions board, Pastor Caxton Segun Fasuyi came on board in August 2015. With the need for effective running of the department, other members of staff were added to the department. Hitherto, only Mrs Julianah Adisa, the computer operator remained as staff of the Missions department. Therefore, Pastor R.O.A. Oyetoro who was a former missions supervisor and then a district superintendent was redeployed as missions coordinator while Pastor Seed Daniel Ibrasang, a member of the former missions board and a zonal superintendent was also brought to serve as the assistant director of missions. Similarly, Evangelist Ebenezer Adedigba was employed as personal assistant to the director of missions and Mr Bamidele Balogun as driver to the department as a bus was purchased for the department for smooth running of activities.
Presently, the missions board has 21 members on board including the chairman. There are 22 missionaries on the payroll with 19 others receiving stipends to assist them on the fields. Few others enjoying support of churches or individuals are also labouring on some fields. These missionaries are working in the following countries: Benin Republic, The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Conakry. Other nations include Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa/Swaziland, Saotome and United States of America. The mission fields within Nigeria include Igala field in Kogi State, Baruba field in Kwara state, Gwari/Gwande field in Nassarawa and Miya field in Bauchi state. Others are Jarawa field in Jos East local Government of Plateau State, Rukuba field in Plateau State, and Chamba and Yungur fields in Adamawa State.
The present leadership has made some giant strides in the aspect of missionaries’ wellbeing by placing 12 missionaries on the payroll and 19 on stipend. Senegal, Saotome and Canada fields were also opened. The department in conjunction with JABU recently trained 80 youths in different skills. Their graduation took place in March 2017 during the general council meeting. Various projects are going on in some of these fields and others are in the pipeline. It is envisaged that brighter days are still ahead as we enjoy the direction and supplies of the Lord of lords and King of kings. May God of grace continue to empower us to fulfil the task of missions which is the heartbeat of God.