Rev. Stephen Wengam shares leadership journey

BY: Emmanuel Bruce

Healthy churches raise up leaders, mentor them and give them opportunities to serve.

The church has always found innovative ways to affect society positively beyond imparting the word of God and raising godly people.

The Cedar Mountain Chapel is one of the churches spearheading this agenda in the country, using its leadership incubator systems to raise leaders for political offices.

Appearing on the Springboard, Your Virtual University, the Lead Pastor of the Cedar Mountain Chapel, who was recently appointed as the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Church, Rev. Stephen Yenusom Wengam, shared his leadership journey and principles.

Explaining the meaning of his name, he said ‘Yenusom’ means God’s help.

“My dad was an orphan who went through hard times. He came to Accra as a hustler and the Lord was gracious and he got a good job at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).”

“So when he married and had his first son, he thought that to show gratitude to God, and to indicate how God had been helpful, he named me Yenusom, meaning God’s help,” he stated.

He said the name had been a reflection of his life as all through his life; he had seen God’s intervention in many ways.

“I get to certain stages of my life when things get very difficult and the battle becomes tough, but some way somehow, strangely, there is an open door,” he stated.

He therefore urged parents to be very careful with the names they give to their children.

“If you look at scriptures, the fathers of our faith were very intentional. Look at Jacob, Joseph, they gave names that reflected their circumstances and names that acknowledged the goodness and mercies of God,” he noted.

Greatest leader  

Rev. Wengam pointed out that one of his favourite characters in the bible was David, because he saw him as one of the greatest leaders of all time.

He said despite the numerous challenges faced by David, he was able to surmount them all to become a great leader.

“He had to surmount serious hurdles to succeed in his leadership tenure. He was the least in his father’s house, he was forgotten when God sent Samuel to anoint a new king; they brought out his elder brothers who were in the army and better educated.”

“David also had a moral failure when he had an affair with somebody’s wife and murdered the husband of the woman.”

“But despite these hurdles, he served his generation well and was heavily endorsed by God as a man after his own heart,” he explained.

He said above everything, David handed over to a worthy successor, stating that “leadership was not successful until you have been able hand over or raise a successor who will be able to build on your foundation and continue leading the institution to achieve its goals.”

Born leader

Sharing his leadership journey, Rev. Wengam said he believed he was born a leader.

“My reason is that all through my life, from childhood, everywhere I find myself, someway, somehow, I find myself leading the group. My parents gave birth to four children. Unfortunately, we lost three of them and I am the only surviving child.

“So, they were determined to raise me to become a good person. At a very early age, people testified that I was very well behaved. So, it began from childhood, as my parents always inculcated those leadership qualities in me.”

“They probably thought they were just raising me to be a good person, but I cherished the values they imbibed in me because they were leadership qualities that has helped me over the years,” he stated.

12 points from Rev. Wengam

1.    Values; integrity, ethics, interpersonal relations and vision are my foundational values. They guide me and influence everything I do.

2.    Ministry; the prayer at my christening hinted that I would be a pastor. Growing up, I would often sneak into the church. As early as age six, I was preaching. I later became school prefect and SU president in Temasco. Rev. Amponsah, whom I lived with, regularly made me recopy his sermons for him; and that’s how I learnt homiletics.

3.    Adversity; I grew up with family stigma about losing all my three siblings. While my wife, Monica, and I waited for 14 years to have our first child, people made insinuating remarks. One person told me about refusing to allow a pastor colleague to bless his marriage because he had no child. Looking back, these adversities shaped my wife and I.

4.    Compassion; my adversities made me more compassionate and caring as a leader. My wife and I support several pastors in distress, pastors’ widows and other vulnerable people.

5.    Destiny; your tough battles are probably an indication of how high God is taking you. Instead of giving up, draw closer to someone who’s had similar experiences and learn from them.

6.    Servant leadership; servant leadership is seeking opportunity to serve others and not for accruing power. It is anchored in humility, teachability, care, flexibility and trust. Once the people lose trust in you, you’re finished. A servant leader is tough, but compassionate.

7.    Wisdom; my mentor, Rev. W. Dontoh, once admonished me to pray for wisdom rather than anointing. He used the foolish virgins to illustrate that there can be anointed fools. A powerful leader without wisdom can derail an entire organisation. Allow wise people around you to support you.

8.    Balance; the younger generation has vision, speed, technology and often higher education; but they must also build a bridge to the older generation who have wisdom and experience.

9.    Sacrifice; I publicly sacrificed our pastoral appreciation gift for five years and added our life savings to it for the church building project. Our members responded by selling properties and giving generously to help complete the church.

10.    Leadership by example; the personal culture of the leader drives the organisation. If you are not punctual, have poor human relations, and are always grabbing as a leader, you cannot produce followers who do the opposite.

11.    Communication; you can have the best of intentions, but without understanding how to communicate, you can have undesirable results.

12.    Legacy; I want to lead with compassion and empathy, especially as I try to help pastors serving in very deprived communities. I want to be remembered as a leader who focused on the church’s spiritual development as well as its structures and professionalism.