After Retirement, I Will Remain In Ministry – Rev. Levi Johnson

After Retirement, I Will Remain In Ministry – Rev. Levi Johnson

Reverend Levi Udo Johnson is the senior pastor of Assemblies of God Church, National Worship Centre, Area II, Garki, Abuja. As his retirement ceremony approaches, he spoke with MOSES OKORIE on what next after the pulpit.

Who is Reverend Levi Udo Johnson?

My name is Reverend Levi Udo Johnson. I hail from Obichukwu village in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State. I am a married man with children and a minister of the gospel with Assemblies of God Nigeria. I have served for almost four decades now in pulpit.

I have occupied various positions like Christ Ambassadors (CA) president, Men’s coordinator, Men’s president as a member, General Council Men’s secretary during Azuka Obi’s time, a sectional leader, a presbyter, presently Assistant District Superintendent of Abuja East. I am pastoring the National Worship Centre of Assemblies of God Church in Area 11, Garki, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.  I started ministry work here in the north in 1982.

Roles played as a member before the call to ministry

As a member, though in business, I gave my whole life as an itinerant evangelist; reaching the gospel everywhere, holding revival meetings while I was yet to go to bible school, opening churches in Minna, Kafin Koro, Paiko; all over these places. So to my mind and to the minds of people who knew me, I had 100 per cent commitment. Why did I say so? Because, my business did not in any way influence my worship and my service to God.

It came to the point that my business associates called me “5 o’clock”, because, once it is 5pm, in Assemblies of God, our programmes begin. I will close down my shop; I am in the church. The rain never stopped me from going; no matter how, and I was in CA. And like I said, as an itinerant evangelist, people didn’t even know I was not a full-time pastor, because I had the passion and the love of God was so much in my heart, and I loved the work. I will say, to my own estimation, and to other people who knew me that I was fully committed. I was a total sell-out.

Churches pastored

As a minister, I started my pastoring at a place called Kafin-Koro in Niger State. From Kafin-Koro I was posted to Paiko also in Niger State. From Paiko I was posted to Suleja in Niger State. From Suleja I was posted to Jabi in the Federal Capital Territory. From Jabi to Idu also in the FCT, from Idu to Madella in Niger State, from Madalla to Gwagwalada and from Gwagwalada to my present church the National Worship Centre, Garki, Abuja.

Reaction to God’s call

The call to ministry in our own days looked suicidal because you don’t know where you are going and didn’t have the understanding that money is involved, so to say, they would give you allowance. No one thought of that, but the passion in the hearts of our mates at that time was that; “oh I am now a pastor”. Even if you have four, five or six persons, with all your heart you are contented to look for more.

Our joy in those days was the growth of our church, the level of fasting that we were doing, the vigils we were doing, the level of God’s presence you have in your services, the number of people that would be healed, baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. Our joy was the reward we were getting from services, not monetary; it was not what we were receiving. Our joy was the result we were seeing, the presence of God, the spiritual capacity that clouded the ministry and people would never go home the same way they came. That was our joy in the ministry.

God’s faithfulness

Jesus said, “No one who leaves his father or mother or brethren, and follow him, that will not receive his reward”. I am a fulfilled man. I am not a fulfilled man because of financial successes, so to speak, or financial freedom. I am yet to come to that level, but I am not too hungry. The Lord called me out of nothing, because the things of the world are nothing, into His kingdom mandate. I was not married, now I am married. I had no building of mine, now I have buildings. I wasn’t expecting cars; I have cars now.

The civil war stopped our academics pursuits. All my age mates, no one can say he went to the university. All the studies I did, I did them on my own; I financed them. I never thought I would live, have the financial capability to train my children, but today, inspite of seeing all my children as graduates, studied abroad and came back to Nigeria, I am fulfilled because I am confident of the God I serve. I still have His peace, I still have the bundle of integrity He gives me, I still hates sin as I hate the devil. I don’t have any single person I hate in the world. If you offend me now, you can’t get out of my office, I will say, young man, what did you say? And it is gone; finished.

I am a fulfilled man because I am very confident that the God I have served all these years; 47 years as a member and almost 40 years as a pastor, if the Lord comes today, by His grace, He will take me away. So, I am fulfilled, and I am not hungry the way I was when He called me. I can encourage anybody God calls. If He calls you and commissions you, and you are committed, the Lord cannot put you to shame. He will do more than you ever thing or asked, because you are a total sell out of yourself.

But if you are too intelligent to do His work in your own ways, sorry, you may have money, but you would not be fulfilled. You may have cars and houses, but you would not be fulfilled. If you do it according to the legacies of Christ; loving Him and loving His people, and living in the truth and selling the truth, you will always be fulfilled. I am fulfilled because the Lord is still the king of my life.

Future plans after leaving the pulpit

By His grace, in Assemblies of God, once you are 70, no matter the anointing on you, you are compelled to retire. My retirement ceremony comes in December this year, out of Assemblies of God pulpit, but not out of ministry, because I will still do ministry. God called me out of business front; I cannot go back to business to sell television, sell fridge, sell upholstery, sell tomatoes and cement; that is an abuse. Since he called me out, I am still His.

After my retirement, I will still be in the ministry, my wife still run a care ministry that we are about to register. It is ministry to the elderly. Some of my young men in Ghana have started it, my friend in US has started as I shared the idea with them; ministry to the elderly. The elderly people are abandoned in the villages; they don’t even have time to go to church.

It is not going to be a township hulla-hulla ministry, no! It would be a grassroot ministry, reaching the elderly, that is, from 60 years up. It is also going to be with a medical mission. We will go with doctors and nurses, give the elderly physical treatment and give them spiritual treatment. We will preach to them, lead them to Christ, pray with them, and hand them over to God in a church. So, as long as there is breath in my life, we will not stop ministry until He takes us away.

Message to the church

My message to the church especially the pastors is to teach the truth, preach the truth and live by the truth. Don’t just be driven by money, money, money, power, power, power; no. Jesus died for the souls of men; every pastor should pursue the soul of men.

And to members, they should stop running from pillar to post; showing immaturity. If the church where you are worshiping is preaching the truth, don’t corrupt your mind. God is one, Jesus is one, the Holy Spirit is one, the truth is one. If your pastor is ministering on these lines, you don’t have reasons running away.

How many universities do you register at a time? You must finish one university before you take another one. Why would you go round and around? Today, you are Assemblies of God member, tomorrow you are Dunamis, another day you are Church of God, the other day you are Living Faith; what are you looking for? God or man?

No man is unlimited, only Christ is unlimited. So the members should listen. The closing of the bible says, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying’. Have a listening ear and determine to follow the Lord to the end.

Troubles may come, persecutions may come, accusation may come; do not worry. These things are there, but what shall separate you from the love of God. It says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors”.

My message to Nigerians is that they should turn their face to Jesus Christ, and if you are a believer in Christ, let Him not just be your saviour, let Him be your lord. To those Jesus is their lord, they function in the truth, but to those He is their saviour, they don’t function in the truth, they just work with Jesus’ principles; they are looking for something, “Give and it shall be given to you”, giving to receive back.

But, if Jesus is your lord, He is in your heart, you value the person of Jesus first before any other thing. You value the person of Jesus and Jesus’ principles; you will work with the two. Unbelievers work with the principles, but they don’t have the life of Christ. They give to people to receive, they do good to be paid back, but for a believer, the goodness of God is already engraved in your heart. Live the life.

It is not cumbersome to live a Christian life, because I was converted like a club freak in Port Harcourt; we go to club. If you know me, anywhere I preach in this world, I tell my testimony first. We lived in the city of Port Harcourt after the world from 1971, I went to night clubs, fill my fridge with beer, drink and smoke, and God saw the need to save my life, He brought me out of it and gave me His own life.

I was saved, and I know what I was saved from; fornication, smoking helm, smoking cigarette, from going to clubs every weekend. When people were going to church we were just sleeping to ease off what we have taken. So, if you have Christ in you, honour Him, He is the hope of glory. The kingdom of God is real; this world has a closing date. It must expire. Pursue the kingdom. God bless you.