The Redeemed Christian Church of God is indisputably one of the most popular churches in Nigeria with its unique trademark of saturating every village, town, city and state with branches; often times, there is more than one church branch in a locality or street. RCCG was founded by Revd. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, an illiterate man who preached in Yoruba. In 1981 Enoch Adejare Adeboye the subject of this treatise was appointed the General Overseer of the church despite stiff opposition, taking over from Papa Akindayomi, [who died in 1980].
E.A Adeboye , Daddy GO to his parishioners, was born in 1942 in Ifewara, Osun State. According to him, his family was so poor that even the poor people called them poor. Despite their lack of worldly goods, Adeboye attended Ilesha Grammar School, and furthered his education in the University of Nigeria where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 1967. He went on obtain a Masters Degree in Hydrodynamics and a Doctorate in Applied Mathematics from the University of Lagos in 1969 and 1975 respectively. He also worked as a Mathematics Lecturer in the Universities of Lagos and Ilorin. Apparently, apart from an innate love for books and academia, Adeboye had earnestly desired to become the youngest Vice Chancellor in Nigeria, hence his relentless academic pursuits. As we can all attest and I dare say to the glory of God, that was not to be.
Needless to say, Adeboye committed his life fully to the Lord Jesus on his very first visit to the RCCG in 1973 inspite of its unimpressive facilities; so inspired and touched was he by the Word and the presence of God. He initially served as the sermon interpreter to Rev’d Akindayomi (from the native Yoruba dialect to the English language) and was subsequently ordained a Pastor in 1977. It was said that “Adeboye manifested a great passion for the work of the Lord, pioneering Bible Study meetings, Crusades, Revivals, Outreaches and the evangelistic programs known as the Congress.”
Even as he served, he was totally oblivious to the fact that the Founder was mentoring him for the great work he would undertake when the time was nigh. Adeboye’s appointment as the General Overseer put paid to all his academic ambitions; how easy or difficult the decision was, we can only imagine. He however, earnestly set to grow, expand and innovate; all with the aim of reaching the unreached and preaching the infallible Word. RCCG was not well known before Adeboye took charge, but it now claims branches in over a hundred countries , including almost all the nations of Africa, the US, the UK, Canada, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, India, China, Hong Kong, the Far East and even the Middle East. There are more than 14,000 branches in Nigeria. Adeboye has stated that his aim is to put a church within five minutes of every person on Earth. One of his innovations was the introduction of ‘model parishes’; branches of RCCG where the elite in the society and professionals could experience ministry in a manner to which they were accustomed without compromising in the worship of God in Spirit and in truth.
Another innovation was the Holy Ghost Service in the mid nineteen-eighties which held once a month. Initially held on the premises of the Headquarters in Lagos, space constraints required a change in location. This led to the purchase of a massive piece of uninhabited forest land located on the outskirts of Lagos, called the Redemption Camp, on which they constructed a large auditorium and began to hold the Holy Ghost Services there.
The annual 3-day Holy Ghost Congress that holds every December at the Redemption Camp is attended by millions of Nigerians, and in addition, a Special 3-day Holy Ghost Program holds in the first weekend of March yearly. At each and every one of these events, according to the EA Adeboye site, “Miracles, signs and wonders have become commonplace as the power of God moves freely to set free, heal, anoint, deliver, bless and empower”. Each of these programmes are also attended by an average of 3-6 million people. He authors the globally acclaimed daily devotional; “Open Heavens” which I can personally attest does indeed ‘open the heavens’. Adeboye has also authored and published over 40 books on diverse areas of Christian life and growth.
Adeboye’s passion for soul-winning feeds his passion for church-planting and through this, countless souls have been saved. Adeboye serves as a Spiritual Counsellor to Heads of States, Ministers, Political leaders and policy makers. He has ordained several men of God who have gone on to establish successful ministries such as Bishop David Oyedepo, the presiding prelate of The Living Faith Churches Worldwide aka winners Chapel.
To date, both in Africa and internationally, Adeboye has been conferred with several honorary degrees and national merit awards in appreciation of his contributions to humanity. In the 2009 Newsweek Elite Edition, he was listed as one of the Fifty Most Influential People in the World. In 1999, he received honorary citizenship and the key of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In 2000, he dedicated the first chapel in the Nigerian Presidential Villa, Abuja, Nigeria. In 2005, he received honorary citizenship and the keys of Dallas, Texas, and Baltimore, Maryland, both in the US. In 2008, he was awarded a National Honour (Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) by the Nigerian President. In 2009, he led the Pre-Summit Prayers at the 64th General Assembly of the United Nations, Headquarters, New York. This list is far from exhaustive.
Described as a humble man by those who have been privileged to encounter this Minister of God, Enoch Adejare Adeboye has proven once and for all time that God does not do a disservice to those who He calls into His service.
Have a God-filled time at the Holy Ghost Congress this week. May signs and wonders truly follow all that believe.