Counting the many variants of Halleluyah in RCCG

Pastors Enoch and Folu Adeboye

 By Bisi Daniels,

“Let somebody shout a locomotive Halleluyah,” the woman shouted excitedly and broke into a vigorous dance.

Her family had been broke, unable to afford basic needs and pay their daughter’s school fees.

Confident that they were on the Lord’s side, they were confused about the cause of the poverty until a prophet they mistook for a mad man, revealed to them that they were not worshipping God in truth. He preached to them about how bitterness, envy and sin bring siege on people, while repentance brings joy and freedom.

He also prophesied that their siege would break miraculously. It sounded unbelievable!

Not long after that, the woman had gone out to hawk “pure water” (water in sachets) at a construction site. There, a wealthy Chief and female lawyer were arguing over the ownership of the piece of land.

Citing his influence in society because of his caring and benevolent nature, the Chief boastfully offered the poor woman some money. But the co-claimant to the property countered with a better offer.

Seeking to outclass the lawyer in the public glare, the man made a superior offer. In the subsequent offer and counter-offers, they transformed the life of a poor family and also blessed the whole community by removing the siege on it.

It was to the sudden miracles that the poor woman called for a shout of “locomotive halleluyah.”

To that, the congregation at the last crossover service at the Redemption Camp responded with shouts of Halleluyah tinged with laughter.

It is usually a solemn, prayerful moment when Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, says“Let somebody shout Hallelujah!”as his popular signature call to begin his sermons.

For many Christians, “Hallelujah” is considered a joyful word of praise to God rather than an injunction to praise Him.

Some well-known English versions of the Hebrew Bible translate the Hebrew “Hallelujah” as two Hebrew words, generally rendered as “Praise (ye)” + “the LORD.

According to Pastor Adeboye, praising God that way invites His presence at which the devil flees.

In some other places, people spend much prayer time trying to “bind the devil.”

A story is told of a church in the Ketu area of Lagos, where the pastor ordered doors and windows shut during his sermon to trap a demon.

Frightened, the congregation quickly obeyed but there was pandemonium as the pastor shouted the movement of the invisible demon.

He would point to his right, shouting, “he has gone to this side,” making the congregation scamper to the other side of the church, then move again when the pastor pointed to another direction the demon had appeared.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the pandemonium but they never saw the demon.

Overtime, Pastor Adeboye’s original Halleluyah call has developed many variants (well, not in the sense of epidemics) or versions from mostly the youthful pastors of the church.

So there are now shouts for “Thunderous Halleluyah, Earth-shaking Halleluyah, Loudest Halleluyah and so on.”

However, the General Overseer has stuck to the original Halleluyah variant, said calmly but to a rocking response from the congregation.

The laughter on the Crossover night was because the “locomotive halleluyah” was a line in a play acted by some senior pastors of RCCG – from Provincial Pastor level and above- and produced by the wife of the General Overseer, Pastor Mrs Folu Adeboye, who is the Convener and Visioner of the group.

The play titled “Thesiege is over” was written and directed by Mr Segun Adegbiji, a veteran playwright and dramatist, who until recently was in charge of the communications and drama department of the church.

Highly respected for her spirituality as a prayer warrior and a strong pillar of the church, whom Pastor Adeboye is quick to commend, Mummy GO, as she is popularly called, packs more on her place than what is often seen.

Mummy GO (MGO) is the RCCG Director of Teens and Children’s group that often performs in bible recitations, music and variety shows, called welcome service, during the church’s annual convention.

She is Vice President, Education of Christ the Redeemer Ministry, established to hold Congresses all over Nigeria; and Chairman of the RCCG Schools Movement, a body that regulates all RCCG secondary schools and primary schools.

Full of inspiration and creativity, she also runs several mini-ministries that care for the health, welfare of abandoned children; and operate drug rehabilitation centres; habitation of heritage homes, the Africa Mission, the national kitchen of the church and the hospitality unit, as well as the Wholistic Ministries.

Still full of energy for a woman of her age, she is seen by church members as a true helper to the General Overseer; something Pastor Adeboye often attests to.


The Crossover Sermon

Pastor Adeboye started the Crossover sermon with the story of a man, who had been told he would not live beyond the end of a particular year. The story was to let the congregation have a sense of the need and how to praise God.

He said the man asked the prophet if his death could be prayed away but the prophet insisted nothing could be done.

So, he pleaded for the opportunity to, at least, see December 31st, which was part of the year.

The prophet said that was not a problem because God had said he would not see the New Year.

Pastor Adeboye recalled that“ On December 31st,the man woke up very early in the morning and walked to the church at the National Headquarters of RCCG, Ebute Metta

“He walked the distance, avoiding anything that would cause an accident or a fight.

“Finally, he stepped into the church and said: ‘God, the death that will come and kill me in the House of God, let him try it. I will wait and see,’ and started praising God so loudly people could not understand.”

“He lived to see the New Year and many more years after.”

Pastor Adeboye warned that when the enemy notices that the siege over one’s life is over, they would try to check it out. But according to the Bible, though they will gather, they shall fail for the sake of the believer.

So, he said one does himself a lot of good by praising God, who responds in a thunderous noise that makes the enemy flee.

“Show the Almighty God that you appreciate Him; that He is great; He is wonderful; He is the greatest and there is no god like Him, and He will do more for you,” he said.

Still, on the theme of praise, he reminded the congregation about many miracles of God we don’t even thank Him for.

They include sleeping and waking; the provision of basic needs like the air we breathe and food, and even the ability to eat.

He said even though we sometimes refuse to acknowledge it or praise God, “Ebenezer” in the Bible means “Thus far You have Helped us.”

God, he preached, has helped us by providing for us over the years and we should believe that in the New Year, He would continue to provide for us.

Also that the God who has preserved us thus far, will preserve us in the New Year; protect us from our many enemies, including those we don’t see; and show us mercy.

He continued, “Lamentations 3: 22-23 says, ‘It is of the Mercy of the Lord that we are not consumed. They are new every morning. Great is thy Faithfulness’ The 365 days of 2021 have passed and you woke up every morning because of the Mercy of God!

“We should believe and praise God that if He has been faithful over the years, He will continue to be faithful if we are His children!”

Pastor Adeboye was on the subject of God’s mercy when the New Year broke.

He raised his voice to say, “Go ahead, celebrate, and rejoice because the Year 2022 is finally here!”