BISHOP OYEDEPO ONCE CAME TO OUR SMALL CUBICLE CHURCH AND WAS SWEATING. NEXT THING HE BLESSED US (WITH MONEY) AND WE WERE ABLE TO BUY LAND FOR OUR CHURCH
-PASTOR YEMI DAVIDS SHARES THE SECRETS OF HIS JOURNEY IN MINISTRY AND LESSONS HE HAS LEARNT
At the Kingdom Wealth Conference themed ‘THE SECRET OF OUR JOURNEY’
Day 2, Morning Session.
Can we lift our hands and give God the praise for His goodness to us. Thank You Lord for this Conference and for what You are doing in the Body of Christ all over the world; in Africa, in Nigeria. Thank You Lord for Calvary Bible Church and Your precious servant, Pastor Olumide and his precious wife, Pastor Adenike. Thank You for the grace and for every leader and every minister here, on-site and online participating and partaking of what the Holy Spirit is doing at this time. We give You praise for we will never leave here the same way.
Lord You know the very answers in the hearts of everyone here today. So as You flow, let there be divine answers; let there be directions, let there be healing for that discouraged leader, let there be fresh fire, let there be the rising of giants in Jesus mighty name.
Praise the Lord.
Can we put our hands together for the Lord and let’s appreciate Pastor Olumide for his heart of leadership. Thank You so much Sir.
I’m appreciative of the fact that you understand how generations move and you are willing to embrace the various generations and encourage us. We love you Sir and we appreciate you. Thank you so much Sir.
SECRETS OF THE JOURNEY:
I started a fellowship in Obafemi Awolowo University 25 years ago, Living Word Fellowship. It wasn’t easy to do that as a young man. While I was pastoring that fellowship before I left Ife, God spoke to me about starting a church in Lagos in my final year.
So we started preparations, some of the members of the Fellowship that reside in Lagos were called upon and some of them agreed, about seven of them. So we started praying, we prayed and fasted for one and half years.
The Holy Spirit gave me the strategy of each person having a portfolio, so each person had a particular direction to pray about and to plan about. So somebody was praying and fasting for administration, another person was praying for church growth.
Somebody else was praying for the junior church; different areas and they had a file they developed apart from the prayer and the fasting, they had a fasting day that they picked and they kept praying and praying.
We usually have our meetings once in a month on Saturdays where we pray together and then individuals come out to do presentation on what you believe you are seeing as regard that area you are praying about and I scored them.
I have the files in my office till now and I smile whenever I go through them because many of the things we prayed about then are manifesting now.
I remember somebody was praying for workers and one of the focus we had was praying for Joseph-like workers, not just workers. They are called servants of rest. We realize that Joseph gave his master rest, even while he was a slave in Potiphar’s house, the master had rest. In prison, the master had rest and when he became a prime minister of Egypt, he gave Pharaoh rest. So we said, “Lord send us workers that will give us rest” and when we evaluate our years of ministry, God had blessed us with that. So that became the foundation or the startup of Global Impact Church.
It was in my second year that the Holy Spirit led me to write Doctor David Oyedepo a letter, asking for his hand in mentorship and I remember that I was arguing with God as a young boy on campus because their church was almost 50,000 people then and I was a campus boy. So my thinking was, it can never work and I said to God in my room, “this man will never have time for me. His books and his CDs are okay”. God said yes but I have something bigger in terms of relationship for your life.
So I wrote a letter and I wrote everything I said to God in that letter. I said in that letter; “I said to God that you will not have time for me but God said He has a deeper and higher plan for that relationship” and I told him what we were doing in Ife Campus Fellowship.
In my fourth year, I got a reply. I got the reply via the fellowship box and I was so excited. It was a letter of invitation to meet with him in Lagos. Unfortunately, the time the letter came, the date had passed because of the June 12 crisis then. I was almost in tears that this is destiny.
So I wrote another letter and sent to Lagos that I just got this letter and another letter was sent to meet him on July 10, 1998. So I came in from Ife with a bag of rice and some pineapples because scripture says don’t meet a prophet empty-handed. So I came and I shared with him my vision and he said it will speak louder later and I brought a letter for him to also sign; a commitment for him. I said since you have agreed, can you sign Sir, he said I should sign first. So I signed and he signed and that’s how we started.
When I went to serve, l left Ife and went to Makurdi, Benue state. When I was posted to Makurdi, I approached him and said, can I serve in their church to learn? And he said yes. He spoke to the Pastor there, that they should allow me serve in the church so that I can learn and I was posted to a school to teach geography.
So I went to the school, a village in Makurdi and I begged them to reject me so I can face the Church and the school said, “Mr Akinyemi, we cannot reject you. We need you in this school”. I was to teach SSS 1 – SSS 3 Geography and the school was not big, the entire school was like about 57 students but they needed education.
So I will teach geography from Monday to Wednesday and then go to the Winners Chapel in Makurdi and thankfully, I was appointed as a youth pastor of the Church. So I will be doing pastoring between Thursday and Sunday, Sunday night or Monday morning, I will take a trip back to the village and teach.
That was the flow for the whole year but that whole year was very significant. It was during that year that we were also praying and fasting. Some of our folks were serving in other states of the Country, some were in Lagos and then we meet together once in a month to pray together. It was during that year that a lot of things were fine-tuned for me and the startup of the Church.
Before I left campus, I also met Reverend Sam Adeyemi. I wrote a book and I sent a script to him and he liked the book and I requested to meet him. When I was dedicating the book on campus, Reverend Sam Adeyemi came, prayed over the book and also ministered in the fellowship.
Those two relationships became the foundation of my mentorship and learnings. When the church started, I was leaving in Pipeline with a friend and the Lord had said to me on campus that the Church will be in Surulere but I was scared because of the finances.
I felt it was too much. I was staying with my friend in Pipeline and we started looking for venue in Egbeda, just searching and we were searching for weeks and it was a struggle.
I asked the Lord, “what is the problem?” “The Lord said in all my discussions with you before you left school, did I ever mention Egbeda to you?” I said no.
I said Surulere.
So I called one of our leaders in Surulere, God is saying Surulere, God will help us. Go out and search and under two – three days, they got a place called Favourite, it’s an eatery at 74, Bode Thomas and it was like about N10,000 per hour and we were doing two hours on Sundays. We started Mid-week Services and it was good.
We started growing from seven members to 150 people and we were there for nine months and then we moved over to Alhaji Masha, no 147, Alhaji Masha. It was not easy getting that place, we were to pay N900,000 so we’re able to get N700,000 and I told Reverend Sam that God has been good to us, we have N700,000. He asked how much is it, I said N900,000. He said come and see me and Daystar wrote N200,000 to balance it up.
So we moved into that place, around this time of that year. So we were enjoying ourselves, unknown to us the roof had serious problems.
When rain started around March and April, we were in a service and water started coming in, it was very embarrassing.
The roof problem was very discouraging, it got to a time I thought God did not send me to ministry. Many times on Sundays, we had to evacuate water for like 2-3 hours before service starts.
Now we are better in faith in terms of rainfall but then I didn’t have much faith in terms of weather – catching the weather. Now we do that a lot because rain can’t be falling every Sunday, it will spoil market for the Gospel. You are praying for growth and you don’t pray about the weather, you are wasting your time. So many times, we have used intercession to restructure the weather plan.
We were repairing the roof and it got to a point that even the carpenters repairing the roof got tired of it.
They felt it was a spiritual problem and the guys were so discouraged.
We needed to repair the roof before Sunday and our technical team went to the Aguda market to call the Carpenters and the first thing they asked was, where are we going?
And they said that Church. They said they are not going and they came back and said most of the Carpenters refused to come.
I went to Bishop Oyedepo and told him about the roof problem. The way I packaged my presentation was for him to give us money so we that we can get a new roof but after I did everything, he was quiet for some few seconds and he said, there’s a wisdom out of every problem.
So he called their top engineer to follow us. The man came and thankfully when he came, he checked the roof and he saw where the problem was and he asked some other engineers to come and it was repaired.
Since then, we experienced growth and we were doing two services. There was a time we were doing a service and I read in a book that says, when a church is 80 per cent full, you should multiply services.
So we multiplied the service by two but the two of them were not working. I asked the Lord, this is what the book says and He said to me, “you started the second service prematurely, revert back. Ha, revert. We don’t do this in Africa, we have moved forward. Reversing doesn’t mean you are backward; it is to clear way for you to make progress. So that helps my heart.
“I’ve announced that we are doing two services, how do I tell them that it is one now? I need Your wisdom Lord”.
He said, tell them that you are going to do combined services. I said after that? He said don’t worry, after that I will tell you what to say. So we did the first combined service and before we finished the service, He said tell them that there is such grace in this combined service and I feel that we should continue like this for a while and then we kept combining and combining and when the time was due, we broke into two services and then into three services.
At that time, in that cubicle, Bishop Oyedepo came to that Church, he was sweating because there was no AC, there were more people down stairs than the upstairs. He came there and he blessed us and from there we got a property at Animashaun.
We moved in there and started construction and under seven months, we were able to move in, although there was no roof at that time. We moved in around our 5th year anniversary and we were growing from there with five services in the place and two mid-week Services.
We were looking for property and we saw the National Theatre, we had a discussion with them and we moved into the National Theatre. We had great time there; three services at the National Theatre but we were spending money, 1.2 million per Sunday service because the crowd was much. And I said Lord, we can’t continue like this.
He said yes and God said something to me that time, He said, I would have loved you to be doing only one service there, not every Sunday. So can you go back to your former venue? I said that place cannot take us. He said go back and I will give you a place that will be better than National Theatre. So it was one of the hardest parts of my journey.
We got another property around Yaba, five plots, so we paid some money in advance and then God said to me, that place is to small for the next phase of the Church and I said but we have paid. Okay, I will go and talk to the owner.
The owner said they can’t return the money except they find another buyer. So I ran back to God and said, Lord, find a buyer and in another three weeks, the buyers showed up and they called and said somebody had come and our money was returned in Lagos. To God be the glory but the agent did not return his own money.
So we collected back the money and started searching and that was when our lawyer took us to where we are presently, called the Good land.
We met with the owners and this woman was an Alhaja and she was very responsive to us but we didn’t have all the money they were asking for.
So I asked God, what do we do? He said, tell her that there’s so much land trouble in Lagos, we will give you some money if after three months nobody disturbs us, we will top it again and she said okay, there is no problem with the land.
So we gave her some money and we started working on the land. During the three months, what God did was to help us have a deeper relationship with her and we kept topping the money until we finally paid the money.
Ladies and gentlemen, the money we were spending was very stretching.
There was a time armed robbers came to the place, about fifty of them in the night in a bus to look for where we keep the offerings.
It was in the morning we saw the security man tied up and beaten. At that time, we were just growing so they believe we have money. They checked everywhere, the only place they didn’t check was where the money was. It was amazing.
We started from one service, two services and then we were growing, government came with all kinds of stuff. You will learn a lot as you grow and then recently we brought in a structure before the pandemic and we were trusting God to set it up, the great Dome. It was not easy because of government regulations with incoming containers. We were bringing in 20 containers. The foundation alone was 60 million for the Dome and they said from Apapa alone, to get it from Apapa to Ogudu, when I saw the figure, they said it is better to take it to Port Harcourt because of the various things happening with the government at that time. So we had to trust God and then moved it to Port Harcourt and then from Port Harcourt to Lagos and it arrived early this year. Before we could set it up, there was no money so last year, I was praying Lord, what do we do? The Lord said I should go to Isaiah 54:1-3. You don’t sing when you are fruitful, you sing your way to fruitfulness.
So we did 21 days of praise in December, one hour per day. Sometimes I will be dancing at home and I will be saying, Lord are You sure this thing is the right thing to do? You know when you have a need, your thinking will be to fire prayer. After the 21 days of praise, one of our leaders called me one night and he said God asked him to give us a money for the building project. Will you be at home on Monday morning?
I said yes. So he came in on Monday morning by 8:30 a.m with a lot of money and it was tens of thousands of dollars.
He went to the bank and brought the cash and that was the turning point in December and then under four months, the great Dome came up and that was a major testimony.