(Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)
A 25-year-old vision revealed by the Holy Spirit to Pastor E.A Adeboye of the Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God came to pass when his church dedicated its $15.5 million Pavilion Center on 800 acres of prairie land in Hunt County, Texas on Wednesday.
Church officials told the Dallas News that 25 years ago, their Pentecostal Holiness denomination founded in Nigeria, had no churches in the United States.
Around that time, however, on a drive back to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the Holy Spirit revealed to Adeboye, now the church's worldwide leader, that the area would become the North American headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Today, the denomination has more than 50 churches in North Texas.
Adeboye, who has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and was named one of Newsweek's 50 most powerful people in the world in 2008, according to his Twitter profile, flew in from Nigeria for the start of the church's 17th Annual North American convention at the center on their sprawling Redemption Camp site.
"Our development process is simple," Pastor Doyin Oke, chief operations officer of the church's North American headquarters told Dallas News. "Start small and go big."
The new center seats some 10,000 people and there are plans to build an additional five wings of seating within two or three years. The camp is also home to an administration building and a community center that used to be the Floyd Elementary School.
The church has even "acquired homes, including one that was expanded into a house for Adeboye, complete with a pond and guarded gate," according to the Dallas News.
Overtime, the camp is expected to boast more than 100 single- and multi-family homes, a fish farm, schools and a university.
"God himself located the church where it is," another church official, Pastor O.J. Kuye told the Dallas News.
"We are the light of the world," Pastor James Fadele, chairman of the North American church noted. "We have planted these churches to beam that light."
The Redeemed Church of God was started in Lagos Nigeria in 1952 and is estimated to have more than 5 million followers worldwide in churches located in 147 countries. Dallas-Fort Worth houses the largest concentration of its adherents in the U.S.