Pa Sydney Elton was a missionary to Nigeria who later became arguably the leading apostolic voice in Nigeria in the 20th century.
He was born in England. In 1928, Pa Elton began to perceive his call to ministry after reading a book by Mary Slessor. Before he got the call to missions, there was a burning desire in his heart for the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the church.
He later joined the Apostolic Church in England where he learned about the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. God began to speak to him about his call to Nigeria. God even told him the exact place he was to go - Ilesa. He was so sure of his call that he named his dog, Ilesa before leaving England.
Answering the call
Pa Elton arrived in Nigeria, specifically Ilesa in 1937. Elton’s mission was clear to him. He was to raise leaders, preserve the gains of the revival that broke out in 1930 and set a foundation of sound doctrines for the rising Nigerian church. Pa Elton argued that the practice of blessing water encouraged many to place their faith in “holy water” rather than on the word of God.
In the late 1940s, the glory days of the healing revival began to fade out. Pa Elton complained that the focus of the church moved from the focus on God’s presence to merely managing an institution:
“I believe this is how moves of God end. The church was never meant to be just another institution. We are the body of Christ. We have not been called to build monuments but to raise movements.
Institutionalism has done so much harm to the church. I was speaking to some brethren a while back and I said, “many churches can keep going without the Holy Spirit.” Many denominations are stuck in a routine; the pastor has his sermons for 6 months arranged, the services lack the life and fire of God’s spirit, the services can be easily predicted because it is the same boring stuff every Sunday, they do not give place for God’s Spirit to manifest, so church keeps going on, but the good shepherd has left the building”.
The early church did not have all the resources we had today, but they turned the world upside down because they had God’s presence. I have seen God move among people who do not know all the doctrines and theologies but have just a hunger for God’s presence. The church does not need theologians, we need men on fire for God, men who will not rest until God’s spirit comes like a rushing mighty wind, men who will weep at the powerlessness and apathy of the church!
Pa Sydney Elton began to seek the face of God for another outpouring and God showed him a coming revival. In 1948, The Latter Rain revival started when a group of children in an orphanage began to pray for revival for their nation and around the world. This revival greatly influenced the Nigerian church and Pentecostal churches around the world.
I believe that one of Pa Sydney Elton’s greatest achievement was his work in university campuses across Nigeria. He was able to shape the next move of God by preparing young men and women in campuses. Pa Elton influenced those who shaped the ECU (Evangelical Christian Union). He lived a few kilometers from Ile Ife campus where the fellowship was located.
Under his tutelage, were young men who later became the leaders of various denominations across Nigeria. Great men of God like Ruben Ezemadu of Christian Missionary Foundation, Egbuna Offodile of Children Evangelism Ministry, Bishop Francis Wale Oke of Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Moses Aransiola of Gethsemane Prayer Ministries all trace their roots to Pa Sydney Elton.
His ministry also influenced Pentecostal fathers such as Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Apostle Ayo Babalola, Pastor Enoch Adeboye. He was clearly a man who cared greatly for legacy. His fruits can be seen all over Nigeria. After 50 years of eventful ministry, he passed away on January 13, 1987. He was buried at Ilesa. Before he died, he spoke this prophecy about Nigeria:
“Nigeria and Nigerians will be known all over the world for corruption. Your name Nigeria will stink for corruption but after a while, a new phase will come a phase of righteousness. People from the nations of the earth will hold to a Nigerian and say, we want to follow you to your nation to go and learn righteousness.”
I strongly believe that despite all the challenges we have faced as a nation, this prophetic word shall come to pass. We will overcome and Nigeria shall become a great nation.
Rume Kpadamrophe is an evangelist, writer, teacher and researcher based in Lagos, Nigeria. Rume speaks French and English and loves to travel. His desire is to see revival ignited and sustained in the nations of the world. Rume’s email address is email@example.com
Rume’s previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rume-padsmrophe.html