It is no longer a news that Evangelical Vineyard Outreach Ministry, EVOM World Network clocks 30 this year 2019. Lovers and friends of the ministry have been eagerly waiting to celebrate the 30th anniversary with her. In this exclusive interview with Gospel Film News publisher, Oluwafemi Dosu, president of EVOM World Network and veteran film maker, Evangelist Shola Mike Agboola unveil plans of the ministry for the 30th celebration, how the ministry started, hidden facts about the ministry among others. Excerpt:
When and how did EVOM World Network start?
Towards the end of 1988, a group of young Christians came together with a mind of preaching the gospel but, then, we did not want to employ any of the then conventional methods of reaching out vis-à-vis preaching, singing, writing tracts etc. We wanted something different. God led us to preach the gospel via drama. Our first-ever drama ministration was in December, 1988. However, the official birth date of EVOM is March 1, 1989. This is because we consider the period between December, 1988 and March, 1989 as our period of preparation.
How did you arrive at the name EVOM?
In the early days of the ministry, we were in a church to minister. While we were gathered for pre-ministration prayers and preparations, the pastor of the church met us backstage and asked for the name of the group for the purpose of introduction. That was when it occurred to us that we never had a name. We were so engrossed with the passion of preaching the gospel that we did not give a thought to an identity for the group. We just told the pastor to introduce us as Evangelical Drama Group. The name stuck for so many years but when the work began to expand, God made us to see that what we had in our hands was actually a ministry. So, the name became Evangelical Outreach Ministry. At the point of registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, we added a word to it. This is how the name Evangelical Vineyard Outreach Ministry (EVOM) came to be.
Seeing that the ministry is thirty years now, how has the journey been?
The journey has been full of Ups and Downs. We have had mountain top experiences; we have also had a lot of valley experiences. In all, God has been very faithful.
Can you share with us some of the challenges faced and how you were able to overcome them?
The major challenge we faced at the outset of the ministry was that of non-acceptance. So many churches did not really accept drama as an integral part of the Christianity. They saw drama as a mere side attraction fit only as a form of entertainment during Easter and Christmas celebrations. We wrote letters to a lot of churches seeking permission to minister. Most of them turned us down. The few that granted us permission only allowed us to minister in their children churches; they never allowed us in their mainstream services. Thanks to God, we took the open doors with both arms and ministered to the children with all seriousness. When the news of how God moved among the children reached the elders, many of the churches came on their own to invite us to minister to their adult congregations. The other challenge was that of some members who did not really catch the vision. They came with the mentality that drama was not a serious ministry. When we started, our membership, at a time, ran into around 20 – 25 members, but after a period of intense prayers, fasting and study of the word, the number went down to an average of ten (10). That was how God did a divine screening and helped us to know those who were really serious with the call. Also, insufficient fund for the work was another challenge. We had so much to do but the funds to actualize the vision was not available. By God’s grace, we no longer see this as a problem. This is not because we now have enough funds to fulfill all our ministerial visions, but we have seen that with the little we must keep running with the vision. We have also discovered that, in most cases, there is no point you get to in ministry that you have all the money you need for all the divine assignments in your hands. This is one of the reasons you need to keep depending on God. There are also many others challenges that time will not permit me to share now. In all, God has been very good to us in EVOM.
What is your unforgettable experience ministerially?
Unforgettable…. There are so many of them but it will be a tough one asking me to go down memory lane for the unforgettable experience. In any case, I always prefer to forget the past and look ahead into the future.
Sir, we noticed that EVOM doesn’t have a drama or film school even when others are birthing such to train upcoming ones, why is this so?
Quite a number of people have asked me this same question. The answer is God has not led us to start one. The truth is that there are many good drama schools being run by other drama ministries. On many occasions, I have had to recommend these other schools to those who are so interested. Many of such people usually come back testifying. I must add, however, that EVOM organizes special free drama/film seminars and workshops from time-to-time where we share practical experiences with participants to help them run with their own God-given visions.
Your movies are masterpieces. How do you receive your film messages?
Masterpiece? You said it. Honestly, I don’t know about that, all we know is that we write scripts as God leads us, we produce as He directs us and we release as He instructs us. So, ratings like masterpiece, superb, award-winning and the likes are not our pursuits at all. We are simply committed to packaging divinely inspired messages with anointing and excellence because only the best is good enough for God. We thank Him for what He has helped us to do so far.
What is the line up of programmes for the celebration of EVOM’s 30th anniversary?
First and foremost, we thank God who brought us this far. As we celebrate thirty years of the ministry, we believe we have every reason to roll out the drums and allow trumpets to blare loudly. This is not to announce ourselves but to announce to the world that our God is faithful. Actually, EVOM clocks thirty on March 1, 2019. However, the anniversary will be marked with the 2019 edition of our annual drama programme tagged Christian Drama Fiesta which comes up on April 22, 2019 (Easter Monday). By God’s grace, many Men of God are being penciled down to join us in this programme to pray for fresh grace for us for the years ahead. Different song ministers will be on the band stand to lead thousands of congregants in the praise of God Almighty. The high point of the programme will be a live drama production featuring a brand new drama by EVOM. Of course, we will cut the anniversary cake. I must add that two sisters have volunteered to donate the special anniversary cake. We thank God for everything. I use this medium to invite all our friends, lovers and well-wishers to join us at this auspicious occasion.
Your latest movie has been premiered in few places but you are not planning to release it yet, what is responsible for this?
Please permit me to correct the terminology. What we are doing are not premieres but outreaches. It is a divine instruction. We have never done this before. We usually hold outreaches with our movies after they have been released, but God expressly instructed us to go round and use this particular movie, ‘ON STRIKE’ for pre-release outreaches. We simply launched into outreaches with the movie and, since we started, God has been moving in a mighty way. It’s been very awesome, the response of the people has been very encouraging; the altar calls have been very fruitful. We have witnessed revival fires blowing across congregations. We thank God for everything,
Lagos ANCEDRAM congress is coming up next month and you are the main minister, what should people expect?
We are expecting the best from God, not necessarily because Brother Mike Agboola is ministering but because we are all gathering to lift up our faces to God. So, as people are going there with great expectations, I am equally coming with great expectations. On my part, I am preparing the much I could but we must remember the Bible says, “The horse is prepared for battle but safety is of the Lord.” For this reason, beyond my preparations, I know God is going to visit us. He is going to reveal His mind to us and He is going to set us on a higher pedestal of ministerial operations and impacts. These and more we trust God for.
What can you say about Gospel Film News?
Oh, thank God I have an opportunity to talk about Gospel Film News. You are doing a great job. This is not an attempt to flatter you. I can see that Gospel Film News is really another dimension of the drama ministry. It is like an illumination for drama ministries. I can best illustrate this with a black man who is looking for a black item in a black plastic bag inside a dark room; such a man is likely to labour in vain. However, when light shines, he will be able to locate what he needs quickly. So, I see God using Gospel Film News as a beam of light upon what we are doing as drama ministers in our different spheres of influence. I’m very happy with what you are doing and I pray God will bless His work in your hands.