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Home / Church / NO BEGGING NO BORROWING: OYEDEPO’S TRANS-GENERATIONAL COVENANT WITH GOD

NO BEGGING NO BORROWING: OYEDEPO’S TRANS-GENERATIONAL COVENANT WITH GOD

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-By Daniel Breakforth

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7

God opened my eyes and I saw that indebtedness is not His agenda for me, so I entered into a covenant of ‘no borrowing’-4 October 1981. I dived into the water when He stirred it. ‘Lord, show me the secret of Kingdom Prosperity’. He opened my eyes to realize ‘it’s not a promise, it has no respect for fasting. It is a covenant, until your part is played, I am not committed’. Now I have found it, I can never be poor. My journey into Kingdom Prosperity began 22 March 1982.
David Oyedepo
24 January 2022



1. The David Oyedepo led Living Faith Church (LFC) had just dedicated a newly built 50,000 capacity auditorium, the Faith Tabernacle at the cost of about Nine hundred million Naira (N900,000,000.00) only on 18th September 1999. Despite the arrival of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to Ota a few weeks after the dedication to see for themselves and interview Bishop Oyedepo, it would take about 9 years (January 2008) before the Guiness Book of World Records acknowledged the feat of the largest church auditorium on planet earth.

Few weeks after the dedication of the Tabernacle, a consortium was set up by the Church to start up a university. Only 3 other institutions had valid private university licenses in Nigeria by then. The first, Madonna University led by Rev Fr Ede. Second, Babcock University of the Seventh Day Adventist Church while the third was the Igbinedion University owned by Chief Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin and a popular billionaire in the Benin Kingdom.

These new universities were either operating from old or incompleted facilities. It was thus very daring if not absolute madness for a church less than 20 years to attempt to start a new university from a brand new campus within a few months. This fact the verification officials from the National Universities Commission (NUC) pointed out. Not only that, one of the members of the verification team was convinced that he could give assurance to Bishop Oyedepo of getting the license subject some ‘token’ for members of the team. He approached the Bishop in his office. In a story very often repeated, Bishop Oyedepo, on realizing the reason for the return of the secretary of the team shouted at him ‘Stand up you devil! You think we are faking it here’? The Secretary stood up in fright, his leg out of his shoe, then quickly recovered to put on his shoe and rushed out of the office. On completion of the inspection, Bishop Oyedepo addressed the team without saying a word about the earlier encounter. The bridge to getting the university license the easy way had thus been effectively burnt.

2. Covenant University (CU) was not the only university licensed in January 2002; others were Benson Idahosa University (formerly Christian Faith University) and Pan Atlantic University (formerly Lagos Business School/Pan African University) however, she was determined to commence her academic program that same year. The CU was approved to take off from the old Church facilities at 28 Raji Oba, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos. Bishop Oyedepo however had other plans. In February 2002, the CU ‘Main Campus’ Project commenced.As a background, I grew up in the largest university in West Africa and so I was intrigued by the idea of a relatively young church building a full -fledged university. I visited the project site many times whenever I was on school vacation and was always amazed at the new campus infrastructure developing.



3. The project did not go on without challenges. Most importantly the need for funds. This was not unexpected for a young organization which had only just acquired a 569 acre property worth N200 million in 1997 and built the N900 million Tabernacle between 1998 and 1999, not forgetting that Faith Tabernacle was only a small part of the much bigger 12 year Canaanland Project (1998-2010) which consisted of Faith Tabernacle (Shiloh), Faith Academy (Moriah), Pastors Quarters (Ramoth) Covenant University (Hebron) and others. A renowned American proprietor of a second generation university in the USA had propounded a cost implication theory for the establishment of world class universities. According to him, $50 million was required to start up in order build a world class university in 100 years; however, to build same in 50 years required $100 million while it would take $200 million to build a world class university in 25 years. Afe Bababola, Owner of Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti, Nigeria also stated later in 2012 that N60 Billion (Naira) would be needed to start a standard university in Nigeria. Bishop Oyedepo after much research had nicknamed the upcoming Covenant University the ‘new generation Harvard’. By this theory, $200 million (N24 Billion in early 2002) was required to kickstart CU. News got out that there was need for funds and one of Nigeria’s major banks, ‘truly the first’, approached the Church leadership with a N2 Billion ($16.6 million in May 2002) proposal. This was still a far cry from the financial requirement to start a world class university but as desired as it was, the offer was rejected.

4. One of Bishop Oyedepo’s sons, Dr Paul Enenche, captured it aptly on Sunday 16 January 2022 and is reproduced verbatim:
“God’s servant, Bishop Oyedepo said, after they have been given the certificate for the opening of the University, Covenant University, while everyone was happy, he was still not happy. He held the certificate and he said; “Oh Lord, are you in this thing or we just want to open something? If you are not in it, I will tear it now” and God said, “I am the One, go ahead.”

He said, at a point, they needed about 2 billion [Naira] in the course of the construction and they brought some bank people to assist them and give them loan and he heard the voice of God said to him, (he was not going to take it anyway because he said, if God cannot build it, who can run it and then, God built it under seven months; facilities for people to come to the hostel, within 7 months and he held the certificate and he told God, now we are dedicating, what do we do?) God said, “lie down on the bare floor, at the gate of the University and hand it over” and he laid down at the bare floor.

He said, the heat from the ground entered his body as he laid down there. That was the last heat he ever felt regarding running that school – the school is moving smoothly because of hearing and asking”.

5. As far back as 1983/84 after the birth of their first son, David Jnr, Bishop Oyedepo had opted not to recourse to Church funds in managing his family no matter the difficulty. As hard as it was, it has provided a template for ministers today. There was the situation where there was no food in the house only for a church member to bring cartons of baby food (cerelac).

According to the Bishop, that was the only meal in the house for 3 days until respite came. He fed on this along with his wife. Again at the birth of his second son, Isaac, there were no funds for the naming ceremony and the suggestion by a staff member to take money from the Church purse was rejected. The naming ceremony eventually cost only Ten Naira (N10) which was used to buy snacks (Chin chin).

6. It takes practical knowledge to work with such revelation particularly in our days where it has become the norm rather than the exception to easily find recourse to borrowing as a way of solving surmounting financial challenges. The banks are having a field day today, money lenders in the class of Shylock are still relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago. One of the greatest challenges of governments, institutions and even individuals today is indebtedness and Church organizations and Church people are not left out. David Ibiyeomie said recently on 24th January 2022 –Even the government needs help, the Government of America needs help, Africa needs help…if you run to the government, they are also borrowing from abroad.

7. Isaiah 9:8 says ‘The Lord sent a word to Jacob and it hath lighteth upon Israel’. What are some elements of this revelation that has made Oyedepo succeed despite a vow not to borrow in these days of financial gloom?

TITHING
8. One of the elements of the covenant Bishop Oyedepo made was of one faithful individual and corporate tithing. According to his story from his grandmother’s illustration, the tithe is that part of your income given to God ‘which makes the remainder meaningful’. Bishop Oyedepo applied this revelation based on understanding of Abraham’s example to corporate tithing since ‘Abraham gave tithes of all’. Today, the LFC has remained a tithing Church for well over 30 years.

CONTENTMENT
9. At inception of the Power House which birthed the LFC, the young members gathered at a secondary school in Erinle, Kwara State for a time of prayers for the new ministry. They ate from plastic plates, used plastic spoons and drank from plastic cups; yet they were announcing a vision of flying aircraft, building 50,000 capacity tent and owning a world class printing press.

At that time, even Reinhard Bonnke was struggling with a 5000 capacity tent while Idahosa operated from a 2,500 capacity world headquarters ‘Faith Miracle Centre’ at Benin.

At that time the LFC held church office in a gymnasium with the founder and staff (including his wife) sharing a Tennis Table as the Office desk. If a member came for counseling, the other staff would excuse the senior pastor from the table and only return after the member had left while Church itself held in his self mini flat (self-contained) with a single toilet.

Today, young pastors who become ‘Papa’ immediately they are ordained insist on starting in 4 or 5 star hotels with air conditioners that touch your skin at 18 degrees centigrade. To them, this is the ‘spirit of excellence’.

At some point, Benson Idahosa called Bishop Oyedepo into his hotel room and asked him to take as much money as he wanted from a bag. Oyedepo declined. ‘You mean I can’t give you money’? Shouted Idahosa. No sir, retorted Oyedepo, explaining that he would rather receive impartation than money as the impartation would make him reproduce money for himself. Today, you don’t have to wait for young pastors or members to ask you.

They beg every day on social media and often with so much bitterness as if they are entitled. A minister once narrated to me how his member called on phone to say he had become broke because he gave an offering in church; consequently. he needed financial help and was asking for more than what he gave. After he had been helped, he called again for more and by the third time, the Pastor returned the ‘offering’. The young man had received thrice of what he gave as offering. Talk about cashing out.

10. At some point in the 90s at Raji Oba, phone lines were cut off in the Church Office because the staff had doubled the cost of phone for the previous month and Oyedepo humorously declared that staff had called in advance for the new month. Again, he once stopped the eating of eggs in his family due to the cost of eggs at the time-1989. We also know that at the time Faith Tabernacle was built, it cost less than 30 per cent of the cost of the Eagle Square, Abuja built by the Nigerian Government. On completion of the CU, President Obasanjo while on a tour of the CU Centre for Learning Resources (CLR) or Library had said that the Nigerian Government would have spent 10 times the amount used for CU Library and would still not get anything close to what had been built. Remember that Faith Tabernacle was built without air conditioners and it took 17 years to fix one. Today, the Ark is being built as a legacy project and according to Biodun Fatoyinbo, what is being put up has never been done anywhere before. Oyedepo often says, life is in phases, men are in sizes, live your life per time. Again, he insists, ‘you don’t grow big to manage well, you manage well to grow big’.

GIVING TO THE NEEDY
11. One of the most misconstrued ideas or opinion about the LFC is the impression that she does not attend to the poor. There has never been a bigger falsehood. This is because the Church has chosen not to display her benevolence to the public like many do these days. As far back as 2000, the Red Cross Society acclaimed LFC as the largest giver to her activities in Nigeria since the Nigerian Civil War. Back in the 90s, LFC went to Koma Hills at a time very few knew it existed. This made the United Nations Organization congratulate General Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s Head of State. At the time, Nigeria was a pariah Nation and Abacha was so pleased that he sent a personal letter thanking Oyedepo. Proverbs 19:17 says-He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

LOCAL CONTENT
12. The Nigerian government has proclaimed the initiative of local content for many years. However, it is public knowledge that many of her officials are anything but local in content. Faith Tabernacle was built solely by local contractors. It was such that Julius Berger and other construction giants came to take photographs of the project on completion. Remember that the Engineer that led the construction was awarded the Engineer of the Year. Presently, the legacy project is being undertaken by Laralek, a local Nigerian company. By this, the Church has not only shown that the best brains can be gotten from within, it has also helped to save foreign exchange, empower Nigerians and avoid unnecessary costs.

DIVINE DIRECTION

13. A firm believer in walking according to divine dictates, Oyedepo insists on not working as convenient but as commanded. According to him, the success in ministry is because we do nothing except as commanded.

THE OIL RUNS DOWN

14. Oyedepo believes that success is incomplete until it has reproduced in others. At the time of the establishment of the Church’s Bible School, he said God had told him to train other ministries. Today, he has a plethora of spiritual children from either the Bible School or through mentorship who are producing after his kind in this same covenant of ‘not begging or borrowing’ among many other things he has taught.

DR PAUL ENENCHE
15. One of the most prominent sons of Bishop Oyedepo who has followed for over 20 years and operates from the northern part of Nigeria, the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja and pastors at the 100,000 capacity Glory Dome which for now is the largest church auditorium on the earth. No time for details but the words of Enenche at the dedication of Glory Dome in November 2018 suffices: My Father in the Lord, Bishop Oyedepo told me ‘Make sure as you dedicate this building, you don’t owe one debt of one naira…We did not take one naira overdraft, we owe nobody alive or dead. This building is built debt free and when we finished we had enough money to build again; the cost of this building is in billions and the roof alone is in nine zeroes…

ISAAC OYEDEPO
16. The second biological son of David Oyedepo, another product both of mentorship as well as the Bible School has also enjoyed the benefit of spiritual sonship. At the dedication of the Winners’ Chapel International Maryland, USA in October 2021, he shared the testimony of the 2000 capacity church project. In Isaac’s words…

“We never had to stop the project on the account of money. We waited for materials to come. We didn’t wait for money. We were told by a company, ‘We are running 26 projects for other Churches. Your Church is the only one paying CASH. The others are on Net 60’: (Meaning) the money is released 60 days after the order has been placed”
– Pastor Isaac Oyedepo

If there was the impression that this was possible because he got support from his father or the headquarters in Nigeria, the Bishop said:

“WE DIDN’T SEND ANY MONEY FROM CANAANLAND FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW USA HEADQUARTERS: FAITH DOME.



DAVID IBIYEOMIE
17. One of the most prominent sons of Oyedepo who operates from the southern part of Nigeria and based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria is Pastor David Ibiyeomie. He was one of the products of the one year training designed for full time pastors in the Word of Faith Bible Institute of the LFC. He got ordained as a Pastor on completion of Bible School in 1995. While at the Bible School, he received the vision to establish and run a Church based ministry.

For an ardent observer, attending a service in person, connecting live online or monitoring Ibiyeomie’s messages a few times will expose the fact that he is indeed a son of Oyedepo. Known for his generosity and bold proclamation of the prosperity message, Ibiyeomie follows the doctrine of no begging, no borrowing unashamedly.

18. If none of his various ministry projects are convincing enough, ‘Hand of God’ Cathedral should be. Pastor David Ibiyeomie led Salvation Ministries is currently building a 120,000 capacity auditorium. The project is almost completed without borrowing. The only reason the project has delayed despite starting over 10 years ago was due to the previous government that tried to stop the construction. According to a banker (names withheld) worshipping in the Church, ‘I have been to this site (Cathedral). I was working in one of the banks when they did the foundation and flooring. It cost over 45 billion naira ($9 million). Not to talk about the pillars, the electrical engineering and wiring, the roofing, air conditioning, the rotating pulpit, etc which are also in billions or naira…. My bank applied to give him a loan then, he vehemently refused…According to Pastor Dum Mene Ntobah of Salvation Ministries, ‘the Cathedral project is a testimony, they told ‘Papa’ (Ibiyeomie) that the carcass alone would cost 56 Billion Naira ($11.1 million). As at then, I am not sure 50 per cent of the States in Nigeria can handle such project but today we can see its glory.

CONCLUSION
19. The scriptures do not condemn borrowing, however it points out the negative implications severally. God’s Kingdom through prosperity must be spread abroad at this time and this presupposes that the spread will not come from lack and borrowing but contentment and plenty. God has chosen to prosper the end time Church for this purpose and to be part of this army that will shake the world, it is required that we are not servants but masters of wealth in the Kingdom. The borrower is a servant.

20. At a time loan taking by individuals and organizations have become a norm, it is necessary to show that scripturally and practically, this is a possibility and in fact the way God prefers. A common logic is that businesses require loans to expand and examples abound. However, Jesus did not opt for a loan when he was asked to pay tax. Instead, he sent Peter to get the money through divine supplies.

It is noteworthy that Jesus and Moses, the most prominent personalities in both the old and new testaments were faced with the issue of borrowing and none of them consented.

21. Today by the word in line with scriptures received by Oyedepo, the LFC has future projections of tens of thousands of new church buildings in billions of naira (millions of dollars). It is noteworthy that this is not as a result of access to foreign funds as the Church base in Nigeria operates purely from local funds while funds outside the Country are domesticated in the Nations for expansion of the ministry in these nations. Also, the Shiloh sacrifice which is the largest income base is presently used for local churches.

Remember that the Church pays salaries of over 35,000 staff while also building the Ark, its latest project and many others. Yet all these are done without taking any loan. Bishop Oyedepo captures it aptly by saying-It is only in this Church you do 10 things at a time…without borrowing. He has gone further to place a strict warning, more like a curse in the Mandate which serves as the LFC’s constitution or operational manual as it is called on anyone after his departure who tries to secure a loan for the Church or the Commission as a whole. This is one of Oyedepo’s legacies.

22. God, speaking to Israel once declared…My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently and not in dark speeches….Numbers 12:7-8…Moses must have revealed one of the things God spoke to him ‘mouth to mouth’ when he declared to Israel…

“For the Lord thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, BUT THOU SHALT NOT BORROW; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee”.
Deuteronomy 15:6

Daniel Breakforth writes.

#BishopDavidOyedepo
#PastorPaulEnenche
#PastorDavidIbiyeomie
#PastorIsaacOyedepo
#PastorDavidOyedepoJr
#Tithes
#borrowing
#bankloans
#MoreThanAConqueror

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