The secrets of men are in their stories!
I will like to tell you a few things about this man I first met in a church service at the Kongo Conference Hotel in Zaria in 1989, he laid hands on my biological father at Charity and Faith Missions, a Church in the same Zaria 1991 when he preached on ‘Winning Without Sweat’ and I finally started studying him in 1996.
- David Oyedepo never used to like Church (even though he was born inside one) but that was over 51 years ago.
All that changed after he met Ms Betty Lasher, an American lady who led him to the Lord Jesus Christ on 19th February 1969.
- Since then, David Oyedepo has not been out of Church up to 5 times on a Sunday.
Think about it….Less than 5 times in 51 years!
- On his graduation from secondary school in 1969, his principal noted in his report that he was “Spiritually Robust”-half of those reading this were not even born.
- As early as that period he advised his teacher that he was a
‘Full Time Christian’ and a ‘Part time Student’.
- When he went to Shonga in Kwara State in 1970 and there was no single church including the Catholic Church, he established one in less than 70 days. That was his first of over ten thousand churches established today.
He built that church as a 16 year old without collecting giveaway or loan.
- When Church was full of ‘Poor Church Rats’, he never missed church.
- When he was going to decide on marrying his wife of almost 40 years, he took her into church to sign an agreement in 1976-The title of that agreement was ‘SAILING UNDER SEALED ORDERS’. Just as a priest is sworn to celibacy in Catholic parlance, he was sworn with his wife to follow Jesus over 40 years ago when there was nothing visually sweet about Christianity all over the continent.
- Many of his colleagues chose to work in the booming oil industry in places like NNPC or with the Oil Majors, the Armed Forces, the great Nigerian Universities (as at then) and other Multi-Nationals, the Federal Civil Service that was paying juicy salaries (like the Udoji Awards) while he chose to be going to church and he was mocked for it by everyone including his family members.
- His father asked him what he would be doing during one holiday season while on break from school. He said he would be preaching and his father replied ‘Ahhhhh…..That is what you will eat’. He answered ‘Amen’.
- By 1981, he received a marching order from God to the World. He was still steadfastly going to church. Oyedepo opted for a ‘Church Life’ when Church was most unattractive and almost seemed like a curse.
- He started driving Ilorin-Kaduna (487km) every Saturday in his Volkswagen beetle (sometimes with boil on his buttocks) to be in church and back to Kwara on Monday (974km in total every weekend) to be back with his family-obviously nobody either saw anything wrong with it nor was interested. He told a friend then that nobody was interested and people would only grumble when his situation changed.
Note: If you don’t want people to grumble about your success, please remain a failure.
- Even his wife came to the Church in Kaduna in 1983 once and watched him jumping up and down in Church. She asked later what time service would start and was told service had just ended…why? There were only 21 people in church.
- In 1984 when total offering in service was only N10.00 (about $10) and everything was given to one church member nobody protested and nobody was envious. How is it possible to envy a man like that?
- By 1987 he made a sacrificial offering to God and God promised him that it was too late for him not to be wealthy. Some readers were not even born when he heard this promise made…so if your challenge is his wealth, it means you have been sentenced by yourself to a life of envy and grumbling.
- All those shouting ‘Private Jet’, I found my way to the airport as a teenager and shook hands with Bishop Oyedepo and Bishop Abioye in 1996 when the first private jet came to Kaduna for the first time. It was my first time of coming near or even entering one and he brought it for a church program – What response did he get from some very senior pastors whose name I will not mention? He was called a ‘wannabe’ who was only trying to ‘feel among’.
- I was privileged to meet him again personally in January 1999 after a church service and my prayer request of 5 years finally got an answer – from God.
- As at 1998, I am aware he was giving N500,000 (when it was N77 to $1) per service as offering(not to talk of tithes). No wonder he introduced envelopes into the BODY when many were still displaying N20 as widows mite (myself inclusive).
- He was robust when he preached at one service on Sundays.
- He was not tired when he was at 2 services.
- He was energized when he was at 3 services.
- He was excited when he did 4 services.
- He was overjoyed when he preached at 5 services daily.
- He found fulfillment when he laid hands on over 40,000 from morning to night on a single Sunday (on a number of occasions).
- He moved from Iyana Ipaja to the ‘Bush’ where he still is today and while many pastors are traveling around the world to receive prophet offerings (nothing is wrong with prophet offerings for genuine prophets) he has stayed on his church assignment and rarely left Ota. He probably has been absent on Sundays from Canaanland about 5 times in 21 years.
- I personally stalked him during one of those times he had to travel out of Nigeria and he visited 7 countries in Africa (of course in the Church Jet) and preached 11 sermons between Monday morning and the next Sunday when he was already back on his beat.
- Since March 2015, he started Covenant Hour of Prayer which means in 5 years he has been going to church virtually every single day like Catholics go dedicatedly to morning mass.
- Offerings are not collected during Covenant Hour of Prayers.
- Offerings are not collected during house (satellite) fellowships.
- Offerings are not collected during weddings.
- When offerings are collected, it is only once per service except on the monthly thanksgiving Sundays.
Many churches both young and established have never done only one offering per service till today and by the way there is absolutely nothing wrong in offering more than once on Sundays to those who desire it.
- Even during the period where the doors of churches are not open, he has been on his beat plus he spends at least N25 million ($62,000) weekly on food supplies to indigent citizens and church members around him in Ota and Lagos.
You are probably bored about all his church stories which is by no means exhaustive but I will come to a close.
Now those who go clubbing as their own ‘Sunday service’ or those who sit at home to watch Telemundo or EPL or Zeeworld on Sundays or go spend time on sundry endeavours claim Bishop Oyedepo is seeking the opening of churches for offerings?
Do you realize he has lived virtually his whole life this way?
Does it make sense to you that he is now doing this for offerings?
Is it today you want to stop him?
I end with two of his favourite quotes:
- YOU DON’T KNOW MY SECRET UNTIL YOU HAVE FOUND MY HEART FOR GOD.
For I AM NOT ASHAMED of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST: for it is the POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERYONE THAT BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
- IT IS FOOLISHNESS TO BE SHAMEFUL OF WHAT IS GAINFUL!
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