One of the numerous instructions we took away from the dedication of the new ultramodern Deeper Life Bible Church at Gbagada, Lagos, last week was that society or its institutions do not need supermen, showy billionaires and extra large resources to excel or secure an entry in the record books. All what is required are ordinary men and women driven by uncommon passion to aim for extraordinary goals. No organisation rises or transcends on the sheer labour or wealth of its so-called super-rich. No contempt of the industrious opulent and elitist class is intended. But when Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo spoke at the event as chief guest and referred to the temple as an ‘incredible edifice’ he was simply saying to the world: behold a magnificent structure sacrificially wrought by the necessitous to honour and appreciate their even more Magnificent Creator! Osinbajo said he was pleased to be part of the moment. Then he dropped this: ‘‘Today is one of my proudest moments as a Christian.’’He drew partly from the brief opening remarks of Pastor W.F. Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church who said although the world may be fantasizing, as it were, about a mega cathedral, the picture was not the outcome of mega wealth from some moneybag. The cleric said there were no such stupendous riches anywhere. He told the story of how the Church leaned on every shoulder and not on a predetermined few rich. Insisting the building isn’t exhibitionist of the worldly type, Kumuyi said: ‘’…the project is not in any way an advertisement of self or riches.
It is served to accelerate the earnest fulfillment of the Great Commission. There are no riches to advertise anyway because the resources came from all strata of membership of the church. Everyone contributed his or her mite. It was a determination to give God the very best…When you read through the scriptures you find that tabernacles were huge edifices that evoked the aura of the Almighty. When you read about the nature of the building that King Solomon built for God, it was magnificent and befitting of the Owner of the whole universe…I have no doubt that in the new auditorium, there will be the unprecedented move of the power of God.’’
The same dynamics govern macro institutions like Nigeria. A society’s abiding strength is its poor majority properly sensitized and accommodated, not its few rich falsely pampered with a top heavy wage structure and illicit contract perks. At Deeper Life Bible Church the call goes to all the genuine believers in the congregation irrespective of where you stand in the community: bring your widow’s mite to the altar for God’s work. He will transform all into the millions or billions or trillions He needs for His projects. That way He alone gets the credit at the end of the day. The brethren, thoroughly schooled in Scripture with a perfect understanding of the benefits of obedience and sacrificial giving, willingly offers their best in expectation of God’s Best. They are sufficiently kitted spiritually to understand the dialectics of giving to their Lord.
That’s how we got what we celebrated last week: the world’s fourth largest Church auditorium. Nigeria also needs to energise its vast population through massive education, mass employment, women empowerment and all-round economic and spiritual revival of the people to engender popular and inclusive participation in national development.Aren’t we going to get closer to the promised land of the abundant life and economic prosperity if we all contribute our proverbial widow’s mite to the national till instead of this current policy of a divisive agenda?
Another takeout we grabbed at the inauguration of the new Deeper Life Bible Church headquarters is that if you get it right at the leadership plane, you are certain to get it right all through the system. From Day One, Deeper Life Bible Church has been gifted with a Heavenly minded, disciplined and abstemious leader in the person of William Folorunso Kumuyi who has hoisted these non-negotiable Christian virtues as the watchword of any serious person who has forsaken sin for the Holiness demanded by a Holy God. Every speaker – Osinbajo and the clergy from within and outside Deeper Life – had the same deposition: Kumuyi’s self-abnegation as a leader along with his complete surrender to the Great Commission and the hereafter promised by Jesus Christ is now what all the members pursue. Why? It’s because he is what he preaches. There is no accoutrement of luxury and pomp around him to trigger a craving and lust for worldliness among the members or leaders.
As I once said about the General Superintendent of Deeper Life Bible Church, ‘‘There is one (enduring) lesson Pastor Kumuyi teaches Nigeria and its leaders, not from the pulpit, but from his life: A truly selfless leader will always breed selfless and dedicated followership. If the leader monetizes his position and all around him are totems of (arrogant) opulence, the citizens will, by hook or crook, seek their own totems of opulence, no matter the volumes of homilies we dish out (in the media).”
Our final carry-out from the Gbagada event: as soon as I saw Pastor Kumuyi return to the pulpit for what the organisers described as Thoughts from the General Superintendent, I braced for the revered preacher’s trademark: alliterative presentation of topics. He didn’t disappoint us as he dropped seven points: Divine Proclamation, Divine Promise, Divine Personal Possession, Defined Peculiar People, Divine Preservation, Divine Power.
Banji wrote from Ota.