Worship With Us At Any Of Our Local Assemblies!

THE ROYAL SHEPHERD

Soul winning and spiritual re-awakening of the world

The Royal Shepherd

Pastor S. O. Oladele

The Royal Shepherds is a uniformed and registered youth group like the boys’ scout, girls’ guide, boy and girls brigade or any other recognised youth paramilitary group that is capable of keeping the youth in the church where such groups functions. The differences are that the royal shepherd exclusively belongs to Christ Apostolic Church. They blend spirituality with their security services and aim at character development unlike some of the other paramilitary groups. All paramilitary groups are civilian with military minds. They are structured like military professional and they have similar training because they are trained by military bodies despite the fact that they are not listed among the Nigerian formal armed forces.

CAC Daily Devotional Guide The Living Water
CAC Sunday School Department
News and Events
CAC History

Origin Of Military And Paramilitary Groups

The old testament is full of military actions and it starts in Genesis when Lot was kidnapped by king of Elam and his allies in chapter 14. It was recorded that Abraham armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house and went in pursuit of the enemies. It was during the reign of Saul, David, and Solomon that a properly standardised army was known in Israel. In fact, by the time of David the number of the Israeli army can be counted (I Samuel 13:2; 24:2; 26:2). It was during David’s reign that a system of rotating troops with twelve groups of 24,000 men serving one month of the year was established (I Chronicles 27).

In the new testament, the roman empire had a deep effect on the Israeli nation since the entry of Pompey the Great, who brought Palestine under the roman rule in c63 BC and because of the presence as well as the supremacy of Rome, we read of an army officer in charge of one hundred soldiers. A centurion is a man of great authority (Matthew 8:5-13). Centurions are mentioned several times in the new testament and it is considered to be a class within the military structure. According to Colin Wells, a professor of classical studies, a centurion of a legion is roughly equivalent to a modern major and the most senior to a brigadier general and this can also be supported when the centurion in Matthew 8 told Jesus that he was a man under authority with soldiers under him (verse 9). Again, becoming a centurion takes the experience of minimum of sixteen years.

The only group that looks like a paramilitary group in the early church was the zealots. They are a group of Jewish activists clamouring for freedom or independence from roman rule, domination and oppression. Most times when they attempt resisting the roman policies or rule, their resistance turns out violently and led to a protest. They were actually fighting for the independence of the Jewish nation from roman rule.

Originally, all paramilitary groups originate and developed as responses to threats or to a perceived violence from social institutions. Paramilitary organisations were based on the assumption that to protect a way of life in the presence of violence, it must be met with violence, either offensively or defensively. All paramilitary groups were structured to imitate military organisations. According to Benjamin R. Beede, paramilitary is a semi-military organisations which take many forms and perform varied functions.

Origin Of The Royal Shepherd

The word royal has a Latin root regalis and it is usually associated with something seen as most excellent or something belonging to members of a monarch’s family. It is also used in the titles of organisations and societies which were established or supported by a member of such family. On the other hand, shepherd is generally used for somebody who looks after sheep and also for someone who is responsible for and guiding a group of people. In some other contexts, a shepherd can be synonymous to a Christian minister.

The history of the royal shepherd is rooted in the existing paramilitary groups especially the boys’ and girls’ brigade. The boys and girls brigade is one of the most popular paramilitaries in Nigerian churches and youths generally like to associate with various youth organisation in the name of having fun. The paramilitary groups are part of the methods of involving the youth in various activities that seem to catch their interests.

To say the fact Christ Apostolic Church does not seem to appeal to the 21st century youth. It is much easier for them to go clubbing with members of other churches which might offer them something appealing to their interest. A paramilitary group is one of such things that arouse the interest of our youth, especially when it has to do with wearing uniforms like royal ambassadors, boys’ scouts, red cross, royal rangers, and so on. Therefore, in other to remove or reduce the boredom, the royal shepherd was created.

On Wednesday, 10 May 2002, at the general executive council meeting at Ikeji Arakeji Camp, the establishment of the royal shepherd was agreed upon to serve as the youth wing of Christ Apostolic Church. The royal shepherd is considered as a group to replace the boys’ and girls’ brigade and CAC constitution opines that it replaces the old boys’ brigade. The royal shepherd was inaugurated by the general executive council of CAC, chairman by Pastor E.H.L. Olusheye. It did not commence fully until 2004. The first national director of the group was Pastor L. Oluwaniyi Asaaju (retired), deputised by Pastor J.A. Adeleke (retired). Its first national organising secretary was late Pastor A.A. Tope Adeyemo. State commissioners were appointed for all states of the federation and were directly responsible to the national organizing secretary.

Chaplaincy

The term is derived from Latin word cappellanus from medieval times. It means the custodian of sacred relics. Chaplain is described as a cleric attached to a household, society, or public institution. It is linked and applied to the person in charge of the cape of Saint Martin of Tours. He was a roman soldier who gave half of his cape to a beggar in the winter cold because he had no money. This action led him to Christ and he got baptised by Bishop Hilary. It was the remaining half of the cape of Martin of Tour. It is believed that the remaining half was a miraculous cape which was kept in a chapel under a chaplain. It was later believed that kings even carry it into battles and used it as a holy relic upon which oaths can be sworn. The cape is first attested in the royal treasury in 679 AD when it was conserved at the royal villa that was called the platinum of luzarches and later ceded to the monks in 798 AD. Chaplaincy is now used for the clergy in the service of the armed forces, hospitals, universities or someone employed to minister to a private household such as the government house or other noble families.

In Nigeria, chaplaincy comprises people from all professions for the purpose of protecting our individual, collective and cooperate interest. It is surprising, though, that despite the fact that chaplaincy is generally a Christian paramilitary group, it is published that Australia accepted removing a very significant and historic emblem from their badges. The motto, in this sign conquer, which has been in use since 1913 because the Muslim say it is offensive to them. The royal shepherds is quite different from the chaplaincy which cut across so many denominations like the boys’ and girls’ brigades. There is nothing borrowed from or owed to the chaplaincy by the royal shepherds.

Royal Rangers

The royal rangers began in 1962 and the group belongs to the Assemblies of God through Reverend Johnnie Barnes as an activity-based, small-group church ministry for young boys and young men, providing and teaching them to be Christlike in character formation and servant leadership development. Their philosophy is it is easy to mold boys than to mend men. Most of their activities have something to do with camping. They award merit to those who are able to demonstrate specific knowledge and abilities.

They are similar to the scout in so many ways and many activities are designed to develop the physical, spiritual and social lives of the young people. Like the royal ambassador, the royal shepherd is also similar to royal rangers because not just because they share the title royal, they are all concerned for the future of the youth in their churches. Like these bodies, members of the royal shepherds train some of its members in technical skills, encourage them in public services and they train the church youth for various things that can keep them safe from being idle to both their parents and the church.

Other Paramilitary Groups

In Nigeria, apart from this newly formed Royal Shepherd, there are others but few Christian paramilitary groups. Among them are the boys’ brigade, girls’ brigade, the chaplaincy and the royal ambassador. Apart from these four, there are other paramilitary groups. Again, these ones belong to other orthodox churches but the royal shepherd belongs exclusively to Christ Apostolic Church.

Boys’ And Girls’ Brigade

Brigade is from the Italian word brigata meaning to fight. It is used for describing a military unit consisting of a group of troops acting together under one commander known as brigadier. They also have other superior leaders such as brigadier general or colonel commandant. It began in the 1823 in Scotland by William A. Smith and by the 1887 the BB had spread to the British Isle and a year later to Belfast. It got to Dublin in 1890 but it was not introduced to Nigeria until 1908 by Mr. H. Wakeman. The brigade is a more flexible unit in the military as they can perform a variety of duties tailored to particular needs.  The paramilitary version of the boys’ brigade was founded in Glasgow by Sir William Alexander Smith on 4 October 1883 to develop Christian masculinity by the use of a semi-military discipline and order, gymnastics, summer camps and religious services and classes. This group have been called many names in different countries. For example, the girls’ brigade of Ireland is called Guildry of Scotland, girls’ life brigade of England, and so on. They use the teaching manuals on scout training in their programs. The British methodist version of the group describe themselves as a Christian-based organisation delivering the message in a fun, sensitive and age appropriate way and their activities include devotions, badge work, sports, games and crafts. The royal shepherd seems to believe that they are formed to replace the boys’ and girls’ brigades. Even though the brigade belong to a more orthodox background, some of the cultures of the royal shepherd are borrowed from the brigades.

Royal Ambassadors

Royal ambassadors began in 1908 in the United States of America. It is a discipleship organisation for boys in grades 1 – 6 of the Baptist missions through activities that encourage their spiritual growth. The name was picked from II Corinthians 5:20: “we are ambassadors for Christ”. It grew out of a need for southern Baptist boys to learn that they are commissioned as Christ’s ambassadors to go into the world and tell the story of Jesus Christ. It is an organisation that grew through enthusiasm for missions and the need for belonging to a group of other young Christian ambassadors. Sometime in 1883, some boys between the ages 12 and 14 began a missionary organisation in Owensboro, Kentucky. There they met regularly with their pastor to study missions and collected money to help support the less privileged until Miss Fannie Heck adopted the work and began to make definite plans for the organisation. In October 1907, a committee On mission work for boys was appointed by the WMU with Miss Heck as chairman. Their philosophy is to reach, teach and keep boys for Jesus Christ because it is easy to mold the boys than mending the men.  In May 1908, WMU adopted the recommendations of the committee and began promoting a boy’s missionary organisation. There is also a similarity between the royal ambassador and the royal shepherd because both are concerned with the future of their church youth by teaching them to be responsible members of the church.

Boys’ Scout And Girls’ Guide

The boys’ and girls’ guides are generally described as just single movement which is more of a secondary school based paramilitary but it is also religious in nature since their aims include supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development so that they may play constructive roles in society. In the American version, atheists, agnostics, and homosexuals are not allowed to join them and this firmly placed them as Christian organisations. The boys’ scout consists of the cub, boy, and rover scout respectively while the girls’ guide consists of the brownie guide, girls guide, girls’ scout and ranger guide respectively. Because of the nature of this group, their activities include camping, woodcraft, hiking, among many others. One can dogmatically say that the boys’ scout and girls’ guide are totally different form the royal shepherd because they are mostly school-based but a critical look at the motive of the group shows or agree with a Christian mindset like that of the royal shepherd.

Similarities Of All Christian Paramilitary Groups

In the first place they all belong to one particular church denomination or another and add colours to celebrations within such denomination. The method of organisational structure, strategy, and training are always similar to those who are professional military. In addition they all share the following similarities:

Mode of Dressing

They all dress smartly in uniform, belt, cap, badge, socks and so on.

Mode of Training

They are all trained by military men.

Affiliation

Like all paramilitary groups, they are not included as part of the Nigerian armed forces.

Religion

All paramilitary group possesses a kind of identity to communicate their beliefs to the outsiders but Christian ones add a little of biblical aspects to them.

Military Parade

Parade is the ceremonial march of people celebrating a festival or for ceremonial occasion. Generally, festive parades often involve colourful costumes, decorated floats and vehicles, marching bands, and other entertainment but the paramilitary group, military in nature, is in a similar way to the formation of soldiers whose movement is restricted by close order drills. Like the military drills, it is categorised by function, size, age, gender, instruments, and by the style of show they perform.

Flags

The flag of all the paramilitary groups are usually three and are arranged in the same way. The first flag is the nation flag, the second is the church flag and the third flag is personal to the group.

Badges

All paramilitary groups wear badges as emblems on their uniforms.

Differences In The Christian Paramilitary Groups

They all belong to deferent denominations. As the royal shepherd is for Christ Apostolic Church, the royal ambassador is for the Baptist and royal rangers belong to the Assemblies of God. Only the scouts and the brigades belong to more than one denominations but they both originated from the orthodox churches.

Mode of dressing

They all dress smartly in uniforms, belt, cap, badge, socks and so on but they use different colours. For example, the royal shepherd uses brown and white, the chaplaincy uses white, royal ambassadors wear blue (royal blue and navy blue) while the royal rangers have three colour guard (red, yellow, and blue) depending on the occasion.

Religion

All Christian paramilitary groups have a biblical reference. The boys’ scouts and girls’ guide even claim that their motto has biblical reference point but they belong to different denominations.

Flags

All Christian paramilitary groups in Nigeria use three flags but because they belong to different denominations, their second and the third flags are usually different from one group to another.

Badges

Their badges have different shapes and emblems.

Motto

They all have different mottos. For example, boys brigade’s motto is sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19) while for the girls’, seek, serve and follow Christ (Matthew 7:7, Luke 2:52).

Chaplaincy seems to use more than one motto. Although they use pro deo et patria (meaning God and country seem popular), they have also gone with Constantinian sign too in this sign conquer.

Royal ambassador uses II Corinthians 5:20 we are ambassadors for Christ.

For boys’ scout and girls’ guide, be prepared is their motto and it means they must always be in a state of readiness in mind and body to perform their duties.

Royal shepherds use the motto of Christ Apostolic Church one fold, one Shepherd to indicate that they are exclusively for the mission of CAC.