Reverend Felix Adejumo is the Presiding Bishop of Agape Christian Ministry Worldwide. In this interview with OJO OYEWAMIDE, he speaks on the spiritual and humanitarian services being rendered by the church in the last 30 years and other issues of interest. Excerpts:
Can you share the story of your journey into the ministry with us?
My journey into the work of the ministry started in 1978 after I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I made a commitment without knowing that I was going to serve him for the whole of my life. But that didn’t happen until 1983. I served under my pastor for about ten years. I did not leave immediately God spoke to me about the work here. God spoke to me about my need to arise and raise for him people of praise and power, a people with a possibility mentality, a people who will operate with the family mindset and a people that will praise him and all that. I decided to obey God.
It wasn’t that easy. For four years, I was still asking questions. Why me? Why do you want to send me that kind of message? Do I really have all it takes? All of these issues were there. But at the end of the day, after several revelations within the period of four years, God showed me it was going to be here, Akure, Ondo State. I was at Ibadan. Since He told me that was where he wanted me to be, I had no choice not to come. But I was working.
What church did you attend before starting your own?
His Grace Evangelical Movement, Challenge Area, Ibadan. That’s where I was before. I left in 1987. When I came here, we started in my house as a house fellowship. That was in May 1987. We started the church at Oluwatuyi quarters at one Nursery and Primary school. We started as a church on the 27th of August, 1988. We did the inauguration and gradually, we began to spread.
How have you been running the ministry in the last 30 years?
The ministry is like a child. When you give birth to a child, you nurture the child. The ministry is 30 years now and we have nurtured it for that period of time. We have 34 branches now. But we cannot say that we are through with it. Now, we have reached the age of maturity as far as the ministry is concerned. And we have seen ups and downs in the course of nurturing the work. But we thank God that grace has sustained us, not because we are better than any other. Grace made us what we are today.
You talked about ups and downs. Can you tell us some of the challenges you faced in the course of nurturing the church?
I think the greatest challenge that I felt I had in planting this work is acceptability. It was not easy when we came because to them, it was strange. They looked at us as a contemporary Pentecostal church. To now operate within a network of churches who don’t believe certain things and we have come with those things they see as strange, they resisted us. Some churches fought against us, they criticised us and they tried to even stop the work. But God did not allow it to stop.
When you are criticised for things you don’t even do, it is painful. And as young people then, if not for the grace of God, it was discouraging for us. But the grace of God kept us alive till today. That’s number one. Number two was the challenge of finance. But if actually, that was our focus, we would not be where we are today. Money wasn’t our focus when we came in here. The salvation of souls was our focus.
We also as much as possible tried to change the mindset of people about the issue of prosperity when we came. Except you programme somebody’s mind about something, there can’t be a change. So, we configured their minds through our teachings, through the word of God that it is possible to prosper, even in the midst of famine because we have been experiencing this recession for a long time in Ondo State. But God has changed the lives of people.
We also empower them. We build human capacity to be sure that they can do something extra to earn them extra money. That’s why the people are already changing and the reason we have overcome the issue of poverty. It would have been very difficult because people come around to seek for help and we still have to respond to them. They don’t have. That’s the reason why they come. They are still coming. But thank God we are not like when we were in the early years when things were bad. Now we are getting better.
You were about 30 years when you started the church. Who were the people guiding you when you started on your own at that relatively young age?
I was 34 years old when I started the church. Definitely, I have mentors. You can’t do anything in life and do it successfully without people guiding you. There is no man that is self-made. You are a product of some people’s inputs. So, I had a lot of people guiding me. Even though I had to listen to God, listen to the Holy Spirit, I still checked with those names who had gone ahead of me. Whatever I want to do, people have done it and they have succeeded.
It is always good to follow such people. The Bible even says in Hebrew Chapter 6, verse 12, “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promisesÃ¢â‚¬Â. This is what I feel, that without a mentor, you can’t actually get far in life. You can’t despise that. People have been there for me. People like Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Francis Wale Oke majorly, and other senior men of God in the nation.
How do you feel now that you are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the church’s establishment?
I give God all the glory. I give God all the credit. I am happy that the church didn’t die. I am happy we didn’t close shop. I am happy that we are still alive. And I am happy that we are making progress. But still, it is not my church. It is Jesus’ church. I am just one of the labourers that God has brought into the work. As a family, we are very glad that this is what God is doing at our own time. It is marvellous in our sight.
What’s your vision for the church in the next 10 years?
Our vision for the church in the next 10 years is one, we are seeing the church get to a pedestal of recognition worldwide, not just for fame but for impact. In other words, we want to see more impact in the lives of people worldwide. Number two, we want to see the church operate with a degree of maturity more than we have operated in the past. Number three, we want expansion in terms of God’s kingdom expanding, not buildings. We want our outreaches to produce many more children of God who have given their lives to Christ.
We want to also see many people healed. We want to see many more people delivered and free. We want to see many homes established and God upholding them. We want to see testimonies about success in people’s lives. We want to see people come around and say “see what the Lord has done. Also in the next 10 years, we are believing God that this ministry will have an impact in the polity. In fact, we are believing God that members will participate in decision making in this nation. We just pray that we will be a part of the process of taking this nation to a new level.
Why did you name the premises of the church Possibility Ground?
When we came in here, we discovered from history that this is where the masqueraders used to dress to go to town. It was a sacred place for people demonically. Number two, it is a swampy area. It is full of water. For us to be able to do what we are doing here, the same place where people feared to come and a place that is waterlogged, it wouldn’t have been any man’s doing. It is God. Also considering the economy of Ondo State, no man could have done all we have done here without the involvement of God. That’s why we called it Possibility Ground where all things are possible. And God has actually done many miracles here, many wonders in this place and we are still seeing Him doing it consistently. We have seen lives changed.
Aside the spiritual services, what are the humanitarian services rendered by the church?
The church exists to meet the needs of society. The needs are spiritual, financial and material. If you don’t minister to the man holistically, you can never save him. For instance, you dangle salvation before somebody, telling him he can be saved but he is hungry. He doesn’t have food on his table, his children cannot go to school and you’re not addressing that area. It will turn to annoyance if you cannot help him.
I have discovered that many of us in this ministry has helped a lot of people. We pay their house rent. Some are in school, we pay their school fees. We regularly give some widows money. We empower many of them. We also have an orphanage where abandoned children are taken care of and this is recognised by the state government. We minister to people in the prison. We have a prison ministry. Sometimes, we go to hospitals to pray for them and give them things.
We visit some neighbourhoods and give them food items and material things that they can put on. Even at the leprosarium, we have a lot of our materials with them. We give them money and food. Also the school for the blind, we give them food and other materials, especially during Christmas and other festivals. We have touched almost every aspect of society apart from government. We even have old people’s home that we are taking care of. We also have a hospital somewhere. Those are the things that we do.
What was your wife’s initial disposition to the establishment of the church and what has been her contribution to the work?
Naturally, anything that is of God will definitely face resistance here and there. But I thank God for my wife. She was cooperative. She believed in me. We started it together and she has been doing all her best to make sure that the work progresses. She is an important plus to my life and an important stakeholder in this work and also an important factor as far as I am concerned. She has been there always and God has kept us alive together. Our marriage is about 34 years now. We are grateful to God. My children and grandchildren too are alive.
How do you reconcile and cope with the home and church responsibilities?
It has to do with priority. I set my priorities right. I put my home first and the church last. As a matter of fact, after my God, my home is next and then the church. I cannot claim to save the world and my home is drifting to hell. What then is the proof of my calling if my family is not saved, my children are on the streets smoking Indian hemp and doing all manners of things? Physician, heal yourself! I don’t want that kind of statement from people.
I play a great role in the lives of my children to make them see God early, for them to know that it is only God that can save and that their father is not serving God for the purpose of allowing them to go to hell. At the same time, many homes are under attack. The divorce rate is so high. But I have made up my mind that my home will be an example to others. So, I have to pay the price of a father, a husband and a leader to my people. I try to prioritise what I do and give attention more to my home than to the church.
You celebrated your 64th birthday recently. If you could turn the hands of the clock back, what would you like to change?
Honestly, I cannot finger anything that I feel I want to change if I could turn the hands of the clock back. This is because where I started from, it was not because I did anything good or bad that God chose me. I didn’t bribe God. I was not even looking for God. But God saved me. I thank God that he made me go through the phases I went through, serving my master for 10 years before He called me. I don’t have a past that I am regretting. Not at all. My future is very enviable and my past has been very great and wonderful. I repeat I don’t have a past to regret.