Adeboye And The Triumph Of Divine Call —Tayo Ogunbiyi



The debate over the link between the individual and the society will continue to be a major subject of unending intellectual discourse. In his book, ‘What is History?’ , E.H. Carr attempts to put in perspective the role of some personalities in defining and shaping events in the society. While he agrees that the society offers the platform for individuals to achieve set goals, he, nevertheless, admits that there are personalities whose vision and strength of character have significantly shaped, defined and influenced the world. Indeed, world history is replete with notable individuals who, not satisfied with what their world had to offer, imposed their preference on their world and eventually their choice became that of the world. Nelson Mandela would rather he died in prison than negotiate a soft landing with the then apartheid government in South Africa. In almost every facet of life, there is always that individual whose activity redefines the scope in his field.

It is in the light of this that one will like to situate the role of Pastor Enoch Adeboye as a leading voice in contemporary Christianity. Adeboye, a professor of mathematics, became the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in 1981. Founded in 1952 by the late Reverend Josiah Akindayomi, RCCG had only 40 parishes across the country by the time Adeboye took over the reins of leadership through a divinely ordained pact. It is a choice that has proven extremely successful as the church today has over five million members across 20,000 branches in 140 countries worldwide. And there are at least 540 branches in the UK and Ireland alone. As Adeboye clocks 70 this week, it is essential to reflect on some key lessons from the life and ministry of this widely respected clergyman.

Today, many Christian leaders claim they are called of God. Though, it might be difficult to prove the authenticity of such claim, what is, however, sure is that whatever is of God will stand. Certain values clearly distinguish those with un-mistakable divine calls from the rest of the pack. Behind Adeboye’s remarkable ministerial success is his reputation for honesty. While other pentecostal pastors have been accused of being involved in numerous shady deals or even using powers other than that of God, Adeboye remains above the fray. This is the relevance of character building in the quest for divine glory. Adeboye knew the possibility of God taking him and his ministry to the ultimate height. Hence, he made up his mind, from the outset, to build his ministry on honesty and integrity even while he was a relatively unknown preacher. To date, Adeboye remains a scriptural model of pursuing the kingdom of God with honesty of purpose and unwavering integrity. While others are busy chasing shadows, his single-mindedness in the pursuit of his divine assignment has made him successful far beyond human imagination.

His humility is one other vital factor in the accomplishment of his divine call. Adeboye is humble beyond imagination. From his modest dressing style to his general outlook on life, Adeboye is an embodiment of humility. He is never one to look down on any human being irrespective of status. He is able to understand that all his accomplishments are made possible only by the grace of God. Even in the RCCG, where he is the General Overseer, Adeboye rises up to honour any of his pastors each time any of them walks to the altar to give a sermon. It is unfortunate today that many who sit in authority in the church sometimes forget that it is God that deserves all the glory and honour for their spiritual exploits. They sometimes forget the simple principle of spiritual increase as espoused in John 3:30-31: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; he that cometh from heaven is above all.’ Indeed, this is the hallmark of the ministry of Jesus Christ who, as revealed in the scripture, washed the feet of his disciples. Adeboye believes that people with first class brains, uncommon wealth, outstanding beauty and other divine endowments should not look down on others. This is fully reflected in his lifestyle and attitude to life. He once said that it just pleases God to choose him. According to him, God could have chosen any other person. Thus, he has nothing to glory about since he is nothing more than a colt that the Lord Jesus rode on to Jerusalem. If the colt became too overwhelmed with the shout of ‘Hosanna’ and got carried away with the aura of the moment, it would be too bad when the day was over and it was tied to the stake unrecognised by anybody!

His knack for discipleship is another key factor that reinforces the divine nature of Adeboye’s call. Jesus gave his disciples all he had because he knew he wasn’t going to be physically around with them for long. So, they must be empowered for the work to continue. He even promised them that if they remained faithful to God, some of them will do greater works than he did. God has given success to Adeboye in the ministry and he is willing to raise men who will equally attain greater success in the ministry. He often prays that his entire minister should be greater than him. This marks him out from other Christian leaders who received the grace of God but are unwilling to share what they have. For instance, while other men of God are interested in showcasing their God given healing power, Adeboye will rather pray for all his pastors and encourage them to lay hands on sick people during specially held programmes at the RCCG Redemption Camp. He takes delight in seeing God work through them. Also, he encourages his disciples to discover their areas of relevance in the work of God and maximize their potentials to the fullest.

Another crucial factor worthy of mention is hard work. Adeboye believes strongly in the virtue of hard work. He wants to maximize the potential of every minute in the day. He writes, preaches, teaches, counsels, motivates, and inspires every day. He once told his congregation that he is fully booked for ministration till 2013, in some cases ministering twice in a day. His major driving force is compassion for the people. He recently disclosed that a burning desire to proffer solutions to peoples’ problems makes him to draw closer to the God who has the solutions to all problems. It is the same compassion that makes him fast endlessly in his quest for divine answers to complicated challenges confronting mankind. Other special attributes that aid Adeboye’s divine assignment include holiness, discipline, sacrificial lifestyle, focus, strong inner drive, among others.

As this man of God clocks 70 this week, it is important for us to draw vital lessons from his service to God and humanity. It is important that we understand that true wealth and prosperity comes from God who is the giver of all true gifts. All Adeboye dreamt of was to be the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos. But today, because he heeded the call of God, the ministry he oversees not only has a university but numerous primary and secondary schools across the country. Also, our leaders should imbibe the culture of selfless service to God and humanity. All men are accountable to God and will, indeed render account to Him one day. It is, therefore, important that our leaders see the call to service as a rare privilege to work for God. Similarly, we should be more truthful in our attitude to religious issues. We cannot continue to live a lie and expect the move of God. It is true that we are a religious people, but how truly godly are we? Of course, God cannot be mocked! Importantly, it is the responsibility of everyman to seek and discover God. Those that fall into the hands of fake men of God are mostly victims of their own lazy spiritual attitude. God has not made any man to act as God in anyone’s life. It is only those that know their God that fully understand this secret.

•Ogunbiyi is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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