“My mandate is joy,” says Pastor Jerry Eze. “God specifically said to me that I have a mandate that everyone who walks through our door must have joy.”

Pastor Jerry Eze

Pastor Jerry is so serious about joy, in 2013 he planted a church in Abuja, Nigeria called Streams of Joy International Church. Who wouldn’t want to go there? What baffles me is how he could ensure everyone experiences joy. Is he passing out iPads?

No, he’s inviting people into the Presence.

The Joyful Watchman

It all starts at night. Pastor Jerry believes God has set him up to be a watchman, someone who doesn’t sleep when others sleep. That’s why over the past 15 years, he stays up most nights to pray, commune and receive from God.

“I don’t want to miss a nighttime appointment with God. That’s my ongoing journey with him,” Eze says.

What has come from all this prayer? In just over 10 years, the church has grown to 20,000 in attendance in Abuja, 25,000 in other sites around Nigeria, and 5,000 more in 12 sites around the world. 

Secret Place

When asked what he would say to American church leaders, he quickly responded, “The most fundamental thing is to be mindful of your secret place.” He’s referring to a verse in Psalm 91.

[The one] who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)

Eze makes this very clear: “There is no public manifestation of the glory of God, no demonstration of the fullness of God, and no exemplification of the supernatural without the secret place.”

What God Cannot Do

The results of this kind of praying have been dramatic. Every day in internet ministry and church services, Streams of Joy shares testimonies of answered prayers, often miraculous, supernatural answers of healings, relationships restored, addictions broken, people receiving Christ and more. Pastor Jerry loves to say, “What God cannot do, does not exist.”

When asked about the growth of the ministry, Pastor Jerry says, “It’s because of where I’m coming from. You’ll discover a raw presence of God in the atmosphere, something you might not find in other churches” (OUTREACH Magazine, Jan/Feb 2024 “The Joyful Watchman,” pp 90-91, by Warren Bird).

People used to say that about the early Methodist meetings, too. The Presence of God was so palpable, people would awaken to their state before God and break into tears over their sins. Some would break into holy laughter because they were so filled with joy. Others would fall on their face in worship before God. It was kind of wild. 

What fueled that? A secret place. During the busiest time of his life, when the movement was exploding with growth and everybody wanted a piece of him, Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, devoted two hours a day to his secret place.

Where is your secret place, that spot where you hide out with God each day? That’s the place of true power.


In his recent book, Anatomy of a Revived Church, Thom Rainer interviewed hundreds of churches who were on a clear path toward death until, amazingly, they revived! He and his team identified the 7 most common components of these revivals.

Some were predictable, like overcoming dead traditions and making membership meaningful. But one came out of the blue.

Rainer’s most surprising finding was how each turnaround included a commitment to powerful prayer. Often it was just one person in the congregation who began to earnestly pray. Others joined the party along the way. As people prayed with faith and persistence, God showed up in fresh and sometimes miraculous ways that led to new life!

Does your church have a group that meets every week with no other agenda than to pray? If not, do you see what you are missing?   

Who are the people you can gather around you to begin praying for the breakthrough you hope to see in your life, in your family or in your church?

To witness the glory and fullness of God, to experience the supernatural in our lives, it all goes back to our secret place.

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Roger Ross

A native of Cambridge, Illinois, Roger has served as a pastor in Texas, the British Channel Island of Guernsey, and Illinois. While in Illinois, he led teams that planted two new churches and served for 10 years as the lead pastor of one of the largest United Methodist Churches in the Midwest. It was his privilege to serve as the Director of Congregational Excellence in the Missouri Conference before coming into his current role with Spiritual Leadership, Inc (SLI).

Roger now comes alongside pastors, non-profit leaders and their leadership teams as an executive coach, specializing in leadership that inspires change. As a side gig, he loves teaching evangelism and church planting as an adjunct professor at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas.

Other passions of his include SCUBA diving in warm blue water, Krispy Kremes, board games with family and friends, and traveling in different cultures. He also has a weakness for golf.

Roger is the author of three books, Meet The Goodpeople: Wesley’s 7 Ways to Share Faith, Come Back: Returning to the Life You Were Made For, and Come Back Participant Guide, all through Abingdon Press.

Now for the best part. Roger is married to Leanne Klein Ross. Leanne grew up around Bloomington, Illinois where the two of them now reside. God has blessed them with two adult children, a son-in-law, several tropical fish, and one adorable granddog.