Beginning in the 4th century, the concept of archbishop began bringing about a new era of hierarchy and demarcation in the Christian order in the church.
Paul from scripture gives us a criterion of what it takes to fit in certain positions such as being a bishop, shepherd, and deacon. In this time and age, the trajectory of the new and seemingly higher position of a bishop to archbishop has seen many men emerge in various ways from various backgrounds to put a twist to the story.
Meet Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, a man whose story teaches us that the path to being an archbishop can be an unconventional and dicey one. Wonder how he did it? Or better still, want to become one? Here are five “easy” steps to follow.
Step One: Learn In-between The Ropes
Sometimes it almost looks like to determine the greatness of a man, you must consider the degree of drama surrounding his life. Consider the lives of people such as Jesus Christ, Moses, Jacob, John Wesley, me…sorry, so as I was saying.
Archbishop Duncan William’s story was intensely dramatized right from the beginning. He was almost born a twin to Mrs. Florence Taiwo Nana Akweley Bruce, a trader, and Mr. E K Duncan-Williams, a politician.
Duncan-Williams emerged a last-minute miracle through a caesarian session after a previous twin had tried to take the lead and lost his life in the process.
His stay with his mother and growth from there would prove a challenging one. This could be attributed to the absence of a father figure in his life. He grew to become a recalcitrant young man who sought his way and was his authority. His mother could barely keep up.
The absence of his father could in a way be termed as an intentional effort. His parents were not on the best of terms and this would be vividly etched on his mind to continue the hatred for his father.
A twist in the story would happen when he found himself in a juvenile court at the age range of 14-15 years. This was where he would encounter his father he had hitherto, never met. His judgment at the court was pronounced in this fashion: he was either to be transferred to a disciplinary institute or choose to spend the rest of his time with his father. His need for space and disdain for any form of authority would lead him to choose the supposedly lesser evil, staying with his father.
That decision would turn out worse than expected. He would later come to find out upon entering his father’s house, that he was going to be staying with 37 other children. The man had been busy if you catch my drift.
It was not long before his true self and character would start to reveal themselves. His father would have none of it and dealt strictly with him. The order of events that followed would lead him to make a decision that would turn his life around for good.
Step Two: Try Education
Remember how all the stories of many of the successful people you know have one issue with school or the other? Well, this would happen to be the case of Nicholas Duncan-Williams as well. This was partly due to two major reasons; one was attributed to his negatively-aired youthful exuberance. The other was related to his inability to focus in class.
He dropped out of school mid-senior high education to “hustle.” He would later come to learn to polish his English during his ministerial training in a bible school through the reading of the Bible.
Step Three: Lose Three Fingers
Archbishop Duncan-Williams is considered the founder of the charismatic move in Ghana. He is also the founder of Action Chapel International, formerly known as Christian Action Faith Ministries as of the year 1979. A vibrant church with over 2000 branches and affiliate churches is located in three major continents; Africa, Europe, and North America. Nicknamed the apostle of strategic prayers, it comes as no surprise that his life is characterized dominantly by supernatural occurrences; an expression of the battle between light and darkness over his life.
In an interview with Kojo Yankson on Joy News, he recounts how he went to a fetish priest to seek some sort of divine help in his youth. The fetish priest consulted his gods, looked back in the face of young Nicholas, and bluntly told him, “I cannot help you. Only the man up there can help you.” After this, he was dismissed from the shrine.
His association with this orientation of fetish priests and unholy companies brought him close to dangerous edges. Explaining that he now realizes that it was demonic manipulation at the time, he tells the story of how he lost his three fingers. Hearing voices in his head one fateful day, he went into his room and locked himself.
One of the voices instructed him to light a candle and hover his hand over it. He followed the command and watched in pain as his hand began to burn. The supernatural aspect of this incidence is how he could not affect his will in taking his hand away from the fire. “I felt overpowered,” he said in the interview.
He eventually managed to let out a scream which drew people’s attention and led to his rescue. He spent 8 months at the Korle Bu Teaching hospital recovering, with only two fingers on his right hand.
And like Jacob with a dislocated hip bone, Archbishop Duncan-Williams had earned his scar to mark his wrestle between light and darkness over his life.
Step Four: Do The Undone
Being an archbishop comes with a certain level of boldness, ferociousness, and a confident spirit, it would seem. These are the things we notice in the life of the apostle of strategic prayers.
Even in the days of his youth, he always demonstrated a knack for pushing the limits. He would step into places few dared to go and do things few dreamed of. For instance, after hearing of how green the pastures are across the seas in the United States of America, he immediately decided that was his next destination.
As a young man with no money and means of making the journey, he approached his father with his daring proposal. He was met with a sneer. This would only serve to strengthen his resolve to pursue his desire.
In just a few months later, the young man had stowed away on a ship headed abroad and being deported twice already. He came back with a souvenir from one of the journeys for his father, and like a boss, told him “I told you I will travel.”
On the second attempt to travel to the US, he made a prayer that changed his life. The boat he had stowed away on docked at Israel. When he got off the boat and realized where he was, he simply lifted his head to the skies and said, “Lord, this is the land of promise, if there is anything you can do with my life, please do. I am dying.”
Being deported back to Ghana, he found himself in Takoradi. It was after all this that the Holy Spirit began to lead and direct him- after becoming born again through the efforts of some Pentecostal evangelists- to spark an unpopular wave there in the 1970s, through to the 1990s.
A new wave of Charismatic worship characterized by spontaneous worship, healing, miracles, radical preaching, and spirit-filled services.
Step Five: Become An Archbishop
On the 7th of December, 2003, the then Reverend Dr. Nicholas Duncan Williams was officially inaugurated and enthroned as an Archbishop.
Every moment of his life- both the good and the bad-had led to this big occasion. Today, when we look back at his achievements, we can count quite significant strides and feats:
- He is a personal intercessor and minister for many African Heads of State, civic and business leaders
- He has received numerous awards and honors on a global scale as an outstanding minister of the gospel and an influential individual.
- He is the first African to pray at the inauguration of a United States President (the 54th President of the United States, Donald Trump)
- He is the founder of Dominion University, located in Ghana
- He was named by New African Magazine as one of “The 100 Most Influential Africans”
- He established Compassion in Action Africa, an NGO aimed at impacting education in Africa
- He is married to Rosa Whitaker Duncan Williams with four children and five grandchildren.
So do you still want to be an archbishop through these steps?
The point here is to realize that every man forges his path to his destiny. Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams is the man today, not just because God took him up, polished him, and made him what he is today. He is equally responsible for the choices he made which have brought him this far.
Your choices today will determine will position tomorrow. I am waiting to write and teach others on steps you took to become who you are today, or will become tomorrow. How is it going to be like?