The Nigerian Baptist Convention held a press conference ahead of her maiden ARISE YOUTH CONGRESS to hold SEPTEMBER 6 -9, 2023 in Lagos State.

NIGERIAN BAPTIST CONVENTIONPRESS RELEASE ON ARISE YOUTH CONGRESS – SEPTEMBER 6 -9, 2023By Rev Dr Israel Akanji, FAR, FNACM.President, Nigerian Baptist Convention on Monday, September 4, 2023.

The Press Release is addressed to the good people of our great country, Nigeria, in general and to the NIGERIAN BAPTIST CONVENTION family in particular.

The President Rev Dr Israel Akanji of the convention relay his greetings to the entire Baptist Family and well meaning Nigerians.

He believes there is no doubt that the whole world is going through an unprecedented period of change in many ways.

Various governments are switching allegiances and reconstituting their collaborations in order to be relevant in the contemporary world.

Young people are seeking ways to depart their countries, particularly in Africa, in pursuit of perceived greener pastures abroad.

In Nigeria, almost every community can count the number of young people who have departed our country due to unemployment and economic hardship. More than any time before, young people are blindly engrossed in departing their own countries in the pursuit of fake promises by many people who are out to exploit them.

These young people, upon arrival in their “dream lands”, find themselves in regrettable circumstances and wishing that they never left their home in the first place.

Our young people arrive in countries where they experience moral bankruptcy in comparison to the home from which they are coming.

The LGBTQ lifestyle, which has been foreign to our ways of life in Nigeria, is being introduced to our helpless youths abroad.

Everything we are experiencing in our world today has made it a matter of emergency for us to focus our attention on our youths.

In addition, we have come to observe the reality of the shift in Global Christianity from the Northern Hemisphere (Europe and America) to the South (Africa, Asia and Latin America).

This has put a burden in our hearts to begin to prepare our young people for global Christian response and impact.

The President in His statement said the Nigerian Baptist Convention is the second largest Baptist denomination in the world and so much is expected of us even by the Baptist World Alliance in responding to the global shift in the Christian faith. ACTION

In order to respond to the situation, details of which I have no space to provide in this brief release, our Convention decided to call for a 3-day gathering of our young people for a REVIVAL programme tagged ARISE, to hold at the Baptist International Convention Centre (BICC), Lufuwape Village, Klm. 53, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from September 6-9, 2023.

He emphasized that the gathering is to have a heart-to-heart interphase with our young people, Some of them are already looking at Christianity as a programme of the past generations.

Their global mates are fast deviating from the teaching of the Bible and advertising a similar response behaviour to our young people.

The instrumentality of technology has assisted to heighten the magnitude of the distraction to our youths, which is calling for a quick fix and redress. As parents, it is our duty to guide our children in the path of righteousness.

This is the calling of parents, according to the Bible (Prov. 22:6). We are not ready to subscribe to the campaign that children and young people should be free to choose whatever they like.

While we are not out to suppress their freedom, we believe it is our duty to show them what we know is right, from the written word of God and our own experience of God.WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “ARISE”?I When we say the word ‘ARISE’, we all know that several things are involved:It is a call to change position- “Wake up”

The person may be sleeping.

The person may be sitting

The person may be idle – or discouraged

The person may be sick or a lazy personOr a capable person dozing

It is a call to action – to some activity

It may be to work It may be to war

It may be to respond to a particular behaviorIt may be to Build

It is a statement of encouragement

You don’t tell a person to arise to nothing. When you say “arise”, it means you believe in the person – His capacity, his ability, his capability, his potentiality.

II Biblical Usage

The word is used many times to speak to God and sometimes to speak to men.Psalm 44:26 says: “Arise” or Rise up “and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.”Isaiah 60:1-4.

The nation of Israel was the one addressed here to arise and shine. This is because they had been in exile, which was explained with the metaphor of being covered with thick darkness.To arise was to stand up and be ready for their return to Zion from captivity.Mark 5:41 – Jarius’ daughter who was very sick and finally died. “He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha Koum” which means: “Little girl, I say to you get up” – Arise.

From the Biblical point of view, there are many reasons why the ‘Word’ – ‘Kumi’ must surface in our midst.


Do a symbolic handing over of our Church to the Youths – for them to own it while we are still alive and not see themselves as strangers in or to it.

To get it embedded in their hearts that our structures, institutions and ancillaries are part of our legacy to them.

We have educational institutions of great reputation from the nursery to the primary to secondary and tertiary levels. We have medical institutions from the clinic levels to general Hospitals and to a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

We have financial institutions which we expect to grow through our youths.We are reviving our agricultural programmes so that our youths can join to feed the nation in the near future.

We are expanding our skill acquisition centers to equip and empower our youths for survival and contribution to the economy of our nation.

We have the publication and printing industries where they can work and expand until they cover all parts of the country and beyond.

We have a television station where their skills are required and through which they can expand their businesses.We have vocational centers to which they are to express their interest and which must be expanded.

We want them to begin to serve as members of the committees of our structures, namely, Churches, Associations, Conferences and the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

We want them to get ready to take over our denomination’s ministries – as Pastors and Deacons of our Churches and leaders of the future.

We want to train them towards responsible leadership and institute programmes of mentoring.

We want them to ask us questions.

We want them to express their own hearts and feelings on what we are doing and what we can possibly do even better.

We want to achieve being close to them.Because the programme is exploratory, we expect to get much more from our interaction with the youths.


The recent response from our young people has been embarrassingly beyond our wildest imagination. Glory be to God! Like Rhoda of Acts 12, praying for Peter’s release from prison and when he was released, could not open the door of the prayer house to him, the response from heaven has surpassed our imagination.

For once, we decided to gather 20,000 young people to conscientize them about the future and to symbolically anoint them as the future of our Convention and global Christianity. We thought if we asked for 20,000 youths, we would have at most between 7,000 to 8,000 responses, but we have been amazed by the response so far. We already have over 18,000 young people who have officially registered and the number is still counting.

In fact, I just returned from a trip to Cote D’Ivoire Baptist Conference from where I got to know that a large group is coming also to attend.

A group of youths from Ghana and from parts of East Africa have informed us of their coming.

We have put our hands on the plow and we cannot look back now (Lk. 9:62).

We have asked God for forgiveness for our lack of faith when we were making the call. The Conference is free for the young people.

We are responsible for their feeding and accommodation. We thank members of the NBC who have responded to our call for support in the past and we wish to ask such people and others to join in additional support of this unprecedented programme. In the name of Jesus, such people will never lack.

This congress should lead us to “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God” (William Carey).

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