Moments With Rev. Celie Apeagyei-Collins
An interview with Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins during Women of Worship (WOW) Conference at God's House International Centre, Bristol on the 5th of March 2016.
Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins is founder and president of The Rehoboth Foundation, an
organisation offering Leadership/Vision Development Consultancy, Motivational and Mentoring programmes and Training for leadership.
She is passionate about individuals and nations fulfilling their destiny through effective leadership. Rev Celia was the key guest speaker at the recently concluded Women of Worship Conference. We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions and get to know her a bit more:
We asked what led her to focus on the area of ministry that she’s in and she explained that “Ministry is born out of your burden, whatever concerns you, whatever you want to bring a solution to. When I look at my world, I see lives without intent and purpose, nations that are broken and need transformation. I understand that leadership is everything – nothing happens without leadership, nothing is changed without leadership. Indeed when God created us, He gave us dominion; and that’s leadership, that’s impact. Therefore I have a burden for developing great leaders who honour and love God and can be solutions in our society.
Also God speaks to us in different ways. For me it was a combination of the ’burning bush’ and the ‘still small voice’. So I had a strong urge to raise leaders through mentoring, teaching and training, but God had also spoken to me prophetically."
Rev Celia’s ministry is not restricted by gender or age; it includes a Young and Emerging Leaders Forum, where young people are prepared to think and act like leaders. “Leadership has very little to do with position or a title, but it’s about who brings a solution and impact a situation. It is actually people who crown you a leader when you have the effect of a leader”
She gave the example of David in the Bible saying, “David arrives on the scene with a few pebbles asking about Goliath and the people look down on him saying the equivalent of “you know nothing, you’re only a young boy, you haven’t trained at Sandhurst Military Academy like we have”, everybody was trying to find out his pedigree, where he went to school, where he qualified and so on. But, interestingly enough, as soon as he brought a solution by defeating Goliath, they changed their tune, they crowned him a leader, even comparing him to King Saul.
So I train the young people to be sensitive to the environment, the culture, their workplace, to the nation that they’re in and to be solution-oriented in their thinking.”
She added, “I mentor young people, this is very different to coaching or teaching, it’s more relational and requires an intentional personal involvement for it to work. So I relate to them on a one-to-one basis. I meet with them every month to talk to them about leadership issues – personal or societal, and in turn they talk to me about their lives, their ambitions, what God is saying to them, their problems if they have any, and so on. It follows the model of Jesus who called people to himself, not to a classroom or a conference; the place for personal, purposeful impartation of wisdom and resources for another person’s progress and development, which is mentoring, is important."
During one of the sessions, Rev Celia had taught about how it sometimes takes us
to be fed up with where we are to be get to the place where we’re going. Could it be
that she herself has come to where she is because she was ‘fed up’ at some point?.
“I was pastoring and was also the dean of a Bible College, but then it got to a place
where there was no more passion and excitement and I was asking myself ‘what next?’
There are two aspects to being fed up:
You can be fed up with a bad situation – what you tolerate in life, you can’t change.
So with everything you’re tolerating, you get to a place where there’s nowhere to turn
and you realise that if I don’t change or do something radical, this thing will destroy me.
There’s also the other side where the season to do something is over and you’re really flogging a dead horse. What once pleased you doesn’t anymore, even though it’s a good thing. I got to the place where I realised that I needed to give up what I was doing and find something that would enable me to express and explore the burdens of my heart. While what I was doing was a good thing, but the season for it had ended, and when that happens, you don’t have grace to be productive any more in that place. So that situation plus the other burdens I knew God had placed in my life moved me to the place of knowing I had to do this."
Being a single woman herself, we asked Rev Celia how she had coped in a society, especially the African Christian circles, where it’s difficult not to be part of a couple, and what she could say to encourage women who feel they are unable to cope or make it as singles.
“A healthy self-image is very important” She said, “Nobody can live in a way that is inconsistent with what they believe about themselves. My mindset is not one that says unless I’m married I won’t make it, and this paradigm feeds my activity.
The scripture says that ‘it’s not good that man be alone’, but it doesn’t say ‘it’s not good that man not be married’. Being alone means to be solitary, by yourself and without like community. Not necessarily unmarried. It just so happens that after God said it, He put a couple together for a purpose for the work. The work is also for singles; Jesus and Paul are examples of people who would have failed if it was dependent on marriage.
For those of us who are single, God has set us in churches and other networks where we interact with like community, it helps us along, allowing us not to be solitary, because two are still better than one. I have learned to appreciate the relationships around me – work colleagues, friends, and relatives.
There can still be times of loneliness even though we’re not alone, and I have learned the things that trigger loneliness for me and how to overcome it. Also the ability to get on with my life helps with that, I’m having an adventure and I’m enjoying singleness. I don’t see it as a curse, a disadvantage, or a limitation. In fact I see it as an advantage with regards to the freedom you have to get up and go. It’s a question of perspective – how you look at it. I am also trusting that when the time comes God will hook me up with the right person. In the meantime, I’m doing the work and preparing myself to be Miss Right, not looking for Mr Right. So that when I meet Mr Right, we’ll fit together.
So to the single people, there’s nowhere in the Bible that says if you’re single
you can’t make it, in fact on the contrary, In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul said he would
advise people not to get married, because when you marry you have trouble.
But the single woman has an opportunity to serve God with her time and resources.
I believe that in this time of singleness, the devil hasn’t won because I’m giving my
time and resources for the glory of God, to do what I may not have been able to do
if married now. The lenses through which you view your life determine how you
come to your decisions.
Marriage is good, but realise that you’re not a half-person, don’t put your life on hold
waiting for Mr Right. Continue with life. As you do the things that you do, God will
cause you to be found by the right person. There’s too much to do and there’s such
a sense of urgency to things that we need to move forward and not wait around.
Rev Celia’s final words of encouragement to all young women in the house, were: “There’s work to be done, it’s urgent, find out your own identity, and how God see you. Put forth your hand to do something because you’re in the kingdom for such a time as this, and you will answer for the time that you’re on the earth. God is going to ask you how you used the gifts, resources and time He gave you; we’re stewards of the things God has given us and they’re to be used to bless others. Do life with the mind-set that nothing you have belongs to you, it belongs to someone else.
So the questions to ask are: What do I have? Who needs what I have? Where are they? How do I get it to them?”
Article by Kemi & Chaneen