Beloved, let us celebrate a special day in the life of my pastor, Pastor Danjuma Tafawa-Balewa, a true man of God. On the tenth day of August, he celebrated his 60 years on the planet earth. Let me begin with the God of all beginnings, the God of Genesis who has been there from the very beginning, even before the world began. The God who knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning.
We bless and thank you Lord for the life of your servant, whom you chose to do your work. From a naval officer, you showed him his true calling. And he has since followed the path you showed him, working for you in your vineyard, winning souls and building you sanctuaries.
Eight years ago, he was posted to our church and we didn’t know what to expect. We were still mourning the shock transfer of the pastor who was there before him, wondering what this new “Mallam-pastor” had to offer. From the reports gathered from Zion Assembly, his last posting at the big RCCG church at Ajao Estate near Aswani Market in Lagos, we learnt that his flock was grieving their loss because of the wondrous things he did there. We didn’t know that their loss was our gain. We were soon to know. First, he proved himself a true servant of God, knowledgeable in the word of God which he injects with rib-cracking humour. If Pastor Danjuma Tafawa-Balewa had not been a pastor, he probably would have been a comedian. Jokes come to him naturally and instantaneously. From his self-deprecating jokes, lie deep spiritual insights that have changed lives for good. May God continue to give you more sense of humour to make us laugh our way to heaven. There is nothing as soporific as a boring sermon. With Pastor Danjuma, you cannot sleep when he is on the pulpit. When it comes to jokes, he doesn’t spare his wife. She is constantly on the receiving end, sending the whole church into a chorus of laughter, some falling from their seats. But then, you don’t laugh and forget the core message. If he had not been a pastor, Danjuma would have been a visionary architect and a disrupter. When he newly came, he kept toying with one architectural innovation after the other, changing the location of the altar according to how the spirit directs. He doesn’t hesitate to disrupt—at times to the shock and chagrin of some church members who quietly murmur. But in the end, it turns out well to everyone’s delight. Currently, he has turned our church into a magnificent auditorium, the type that is the pride of Okota and Isolo. Come to RCCG Cornerstone (My Father’s House) in Okota and see the wonders he has performed building a futuristic church, heavily air-conditioned with space-age gadgets yet to be fitted. How he was able to raise money to accomplish this gargantuan project is a miracle—an evidence of God’s Hands.
As a leader, Pastor Danjuma is a visionary with a can-do spirit. Once he sets his eyes on doing something, he puts his faith, mind, energy, everything into it. He is not just building for God, he is winning souls for God. He is a man you can write a whole book on. But I would rather other church members share their testimonies about the celebrant of today.
Pastor Chuks Okoye: “Pastor Danjuma is not just celebrating life, he is celebrating God’s faithfulness. God has done so much through him and he deserves to be celebrated. Here is a man who is serving God with everything and anything he has. There is nothing he has withheld from God. As he rightly said, he gives his life to Christ and not to any man. This is a man who came to this place and met a warehouse church and turned it into a magnificent auditorium. A masterpiece that everywhere around this environment there is no place you will see this type of thing. God has used him to do so much. This is a project he started with nothing. Just trusting God, having so much faith in God, he has done so much in this place. Not just talking about the building, he has impacted so much on the lives of so many people in this church. God has used him to transform many lives. He is somebody who doesn’t discriminate. When you meet him you will love him.”
Deacon Victor Salifu: “Pastor Danjuma at 60, there is a lot to celebrate. We want to thank God for his life. His sacrificial life is a challenge to me and he deserves to be celebrated. Through the grace of God upon his life, you can see what is happening here. It’s not by any man’s effort, it is by the grace of God. I joined this church March 2017. When I came in, the structure I met on ground and what I am seeing now is completely different. So in terms of physical structure, he has transformed this place. In terms of resource and numerical strength, I see the grace of God and you can see the turnout even today. So a lot has happened on a positive note since I came in. I don’t know what happened before I came but in the last three years, I have witnessed so much. He is a sacrificial leader. He is also a faithful leader. He is a man who leads by example. He is a man who has given himself to God.”
Elder Akin Osewa: “He is a man given to rallying people around and we particularly thank God for His anointing upon him for building projects. He has been able to turn a warehouse into a worship cathedral. For that we thank God and celebrate God in his life. He is a military leader. He doesn’t take no for an answer. And what he wants done, he wants done. Sometimes I say that he probably doesn’t know how to use carrots. The stick is up all the time and you just have to fall in line.”
Daddy Ayodele, Leader, Wisdom Group: “In the annals of Cornerstone, he is the longest-serving pastor. If the authorities can leave somebody in a place where they normally transfer them after four years or thereabout, and he has been around us for nearly nine years by September, that speaks volumes. A foundation had already been laid in this Cornerstone. He met a standard below which he could not go. He did his best to improve upon and build on the foundation made here. The land was already there, we had a wonderful auditorium before he got here, administrative block, everything was here. But when he came, he added his own flavor to the church. And of course, there has been appreciable increase in the number of worshippers, especially among the youths and elders as well. He has added value to Cornerstone. Nobody is perfect, but he tries to please his maker and those who transferred him here. I cannot say he has disappointed them. If I say too much about Pastor Danjuma, they would say he is my son. But I am speaking my mind as honestly as possible. He shouldn’t relent. As he says, he is not an employee of anybody but the employee of God. One of the things I can talk about and vouch for is that he doesn’t mess with the money of the church. Pastor Danjuma can account for every kobo that goes in here on behalf of the church. Once you have financial integrity, the rest is simple. He often says that when he is given personal money, he spends it on the work of God. Not everybody can boast of that kind of thing. He is a builder. Wherever he goes, he tries to exceed his standard.”