Women around the world are evolving and rediscovering themselves. Gone are the days when they say a woman’s world is limited to the kitchen. Today’s women are doing more than just being a reflection of their husbands, they are carving a path for themselves. As the world progresses and women get out of poverty and achieve more freedom, they are discovering that they are more than society had previously defined them to be.
To break boundaries, women must realize their potentials and maximize them. With education, determination and self-discovery, women are more empowered and can create immense impact in the society. Intellectual, spiritual, and physical development are as important for women as they are for men today. The church already provides opportunity for the spiritual development and self-discovery of women.
However, some churches are going beyond this, they are also providing opportunity for women to enhance their capacity to actualise their dreams. One of them is The Elevation Church, a Lagos-based Christian organization which recently hosted a conference for women called ‘Made for More’.
Made for More Women’s Conference
The Made for More Women’s Conference is a two-day annual event which the church says is aimed at empowering women. The event usually holds in the month of October at Pistis Conference Centre of The Elevation Church and it is targeted at every woman, irrespective of status and age, both within and outside the church.
Speaking on the rationale behind the event, co-founder of the Elevation Church and chief host, Bolarinwa Akinlabi said the Made for More conference is an avenue to speak directly to the sense of worth in a woman to let her know that she is made for much more than the pages of the newspaper seems to suggest.
“The average young woman, before reaching the age of 20, has received so many stereotypical definitions from the family unit, extended family, billboards, magazines, etc. If you open the pages of a typical magazine, without even seeing a word, there are expectations being pushed out on the average young woman such that she thinks her worth and value is about the outward appearance. We have to speak directly to that sense of worth in a woman to let her know that she is made for much more than the pages of the newspaper seems to suggest. If you look at the billboards on the street, they seem to suggest that women are made for a certain thing. But God has giving us the instruction to speak specific words of worth into the woman. Her worth is made up of so much more than the physical attributes that want to define her. “
According to the head of Communications, Chinny Ugoji, the organizers of the programme want to raise women that are full of passion for the right things; that are not afraid to move forward with a sense of purpose, focus and ambition.
The conference started in 2016 with Pastor Nike Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre as the first guest speaker. Since then, there have been testimonials by women who have been inspired by the event to develop an idea and start something.
According to Akinlabi, one woman recently told her that she had always had an idea to start a new business and she was inspired by the first made for more conference. She launched out her business and has been growing in leaps and bounds over the years.
The second Made for More Women’s conference was in 2017 and it featured Pastor Mrs Funke Felix- Adejumo, a renowned speaker and philanthropist who is the co-founder of Agape Christian Ministries. Pastor Adejumo revealed secrets to a godly woman’s growth and success using biblical principles. A thousand women were in attendance to worship, discuss crucial issues, pray and get empowered. Over a hundred women-led and owned businesses and brands were on exhibition for Women in Business sections. Women also displayed their products, brands and cultivated business relationships.
Just wrapping up its third edition, the Made of More Women’s Conference has been on the lips of many women, who say it has made a positive impact on their lives.
One of these women, Mrs Morenikeji Rhodes Plumptre, said she made up her mind to join The Elevation Church after attending the 2017 Made for More Conference.
“I had just started visiting Elevation Mainland Church in July 2017. Deciding to become a member at the time was a big decision which I did not want to take lightly, because my personality is not a dormant one. I had been in my old church for 28 years and my husband was still there so I really needed to be sure. Early September, I started hearing about the Made for More Conference. What caught my attention was the fact that Pastor Funke Adejumo, whom I adored, was going to be there.
At the time, I still lived on the mainland, but I made up my mind that come what may I would go, so I registered. Because of the distance and lack of transportation, I could not make the Friday event so I headed off on Saturday. I did not know what to expect. I entered the Pistis Conference Centre and all I saw was a sea of women excited.
There was frank talk with Pastor Joy Isa and a few other women from different walks of life on every topic and information that so many of us would have paid a huge sum money to get. Then the worship, I did not know how broken I was till the worship started, I was so highly blessed, I wept and my environment became a blur as I worshipped my Lord from the innermost part of me, I left that day feeling 100pounds lighter. The icing on the cake was Pastor Funke Adejumo, we all laughed so much we were in tears.
The very next day, I put my name down at TEC Mainland for membership class because I knew right there and then that the Elevation Church was my new home. God worked it out for me and today my husband, daughter and I are fully settled in Pistis Conference Centre and are even church workers. Thank you Pastor Bola Akinlabi for allowing me to know that I am truly Made for More.”
A current business owner who runs “Ara Mi” a beauty retail and online store, recently said that she got the inspiration to start her business after attending the event in 2017.
Another woman, CEO of Darkskin Fabrics, a clothing outfit in Lekki, said her business started exactly October last year.
“During the 2017 Made for More conference we were asked to come out and talk to the ministers on what we want the Lord to do for us, and in my exact words: ‘I want my business to move from glory to glory, from a car shop to its walk-in store. The Minister prayed for me and exactly 7 months from last year’s event I didn’t only get a walk-in store but also great business partners that heaven sent to turn my business around.”
Girl on Fire
The third Made for More Conference was held at The Elevation Church’s Pistis centre on the 19th and 20th of October 2018, with the theme: “Girl on Fire”
Introducing the theme, chief host, Bolarinwa Akinlabi said in a video broadcast:
“A girl on fire is energized, a girl of fire has passion; she is not afraid to use her voice. She is not afraid to defend the people who cannot defend themselves, a girl on fire has a song to sing and it’s a song her world is waiting to hear her sing.”
For two days, Bolarinwa Akinlabi and over a thousand other women shared experiences, networked, and encouraged one another to be better in various aspects of their lives.
Akinlabi encouraged women to recognize God’s gifting on their lives no matter how insignificant it seemed
“Have you recognized what you have in your house, no matter how insignificant? Like the woman with the little oil, recognize your gift and you will experience miracles,” she charged the audience in one of her ministrations.
The programme featured Jumoke Adenowo; renowned Architect, Interior designer and Founder of AD Consulting as the guest speaker. Adenowo challenged the passion and drive of the woman, inspiring women to discover themselves and break beyond the limits that want to confine them. According to her, man sees a woman as mere seed, but God sees a forest.
To maximize their inner potentials, women have to submit to God.
“Obedience is doing what you’ve been told to do, submission is deliberately putting down what you have.”
There was a panel session which included business owners, specialists and professionals like Mercy Makinde, Foluso Gbadamosi, Ivie Ogbonwam (HR professional), Simisola Ajasa (Health specialist), and Joy Isa (seasoned teacher). The panel discussed how women can have it all at the “Real Talk” session.
On the first day, there was a ‘Women in Worship’ session, that featured popular gospel artists including Sola Allyson, Lily Perez, Chioma and Ella Vibes. These music ministers led the women in unrestrained and pure worship.
Speaking about the worship session, Akinlabi said; “as women there are some issues we cannot look to people to solve for us, God has to be the answer. We had a wonderful worship session where we just created an atmosphere for the woman to receive the healing and reinforcement and strength that she can only get from her maker.”
One of the vital components of the event is the Business exhibition/fair, a place where women entrepreneurs come together and network. The “Women in Business” exhibition held on Day 2 of the conference, 20th October 2018. The aim of the exhibition is to create awareness for women-led ventures to share business ideas, experiences and merchandise and network.
The side attractions include child care, and a parental clinic. At the parental clinic, which held on the last day of event, mothers sat with physiotherapists, educators, counsellors, certified autism specialists, childhood neurodevelopmental assessors and many more which will only hold on the last day of the event. The parenting clinic was created for women dealing with some challenging issues with their families. There were also experts in the child psychology business; seasoned teachers and educators who also brought women who are parents together to give them real tools to help them deal with troublesome relationships with their children
The Elevation Church
Coincidentally, The Elevation Church (TEC), which organizes the Made for More conference, has just concluded the celebration of its eight-year anniversary. The church is fast becoming a worship centre of choice for many young people in the Lekki area who are drawn by its charismatic pastor and his dynamic messages.
According to the lead pastor, Godman Akinlabi, “In the past eight years, The Elevation Church has upheld its mandate to make greatness common, and it hopes to raise even greater people who will be positive leaders steering the reins of Nigeria and restoring the country to its glory.”
The week-long series of activities for the anniversary celebrations included a special thanksgiving services at the church’s island and mainland centers on Wednesday, 10 October and Thursday 11 October 2018. The services featured popular gospel artiste, Big Bolaji amongst other acts. There was also a social media celebration to cater to its teeming youthful congregation from Monday, 8 October to Sunday, 14 October 2018.
In a statement made available to news men, Head of Communications, Chinny Ugoji explained that the church has developed a series of impactful events within the past eight years, one of which is the Made for More Women’s Conference holding this October. There is also Exponential, a conference for pastors and church leaders. It is a three-day leadership bootcamp with break-out sessions, workshops, and plenary sessions, hosting about 20 facilitators specialising in different areas/ministries e.g pastors, media, etc. The aim of the event is to resource the body of Christ. Others include “Metamorphosis”, a seminar for previously married, remarried and blended families; “Hangout”- an annual conference for Singles; “Accelerate Conference” – a mid-year event to prepare people for the rest of the year; Navigate Conference for Teenagers from 13-19 years old” and many more.
Additionally, the church has commenced plans to launch its official outreach arm, PISTIS Empowerment Foundation in January. The foundation is targeted at improving access to education, health and shelter in underserved communities. Since inception, the Elevation Church has engaged in several outreaches, community services and interventions in and around its community. Some of these programs include Elev8 200, a ministry to the less privileged; an active Prison Ministry; Back to School Initiatives; and community sanitation in areas like Aboki Village and Jakande. The Elevation Church also holds several medical outreaches across Lagos state.
Speaking about the PISTIS foundation, Godman Akinlabi said, “The Elevation Church is rising up to serve the needs of individuals beyond the confines of church. People have more than spiritual needs and they need to feel supported as well by the body of Christ. Through our empowerment foundation, we are tasking ourselves to support the economically challenged through education (formal and informal) and support for their total well-being.”
The Elevation Church was founded in 2010 by Pastors Godman and Bolarinwa Akinlabi. The church started out in a hall in the heart of Lagos Island but has grown in capacity, with various locations across Lagos. These centres include the Island Church, Pistis Conference Centre; the Lifepointe Church which is an expression for the young at heart; the Mainland expression at Pistis Hub; and a streaming centre within the greater Lekki area.
The Made for More Conference is The Elevation Church’s contribution towards women empowerment.