“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” — Henry Adams
AT the tail end of every year, for some 30 years on end, usually in November, a sizable crop of eminent people sit in packed auditoriums everywhere in the world listening to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, enlightening and imparting spiritual knowledge and the principles of life to his listeners–men, women boys and girls during the BLW’s Christmas-like festival, otherwise known as IPPC (International Pastors’ and Partners’ Conference).
In all these years, his listeners are constantly amazed at the zeal with which he reaches out, the unalloyed commitment to this great calling of moulding ordinary people into greatness, the efforts he makes, and the emphasis he lays on very important points: the consistency, the highlights and, above all, the love that radiates through his eyes every time he teaches. He only makes his audience wonder the more.
The congregants are put out of their misery watching him closely. There is something exceptional about this Man of God: His desire to impart knowledge and wisdom to the saints is matchless. This accords with John Buchan’s popular dictum that “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”
That is the enviable work Rev. Chris Oyakhilome, PhD, DSC, DD which world has enjoyed for these several years. The Man of God has, over the years, helped men, women, boys and girls elicit, discover and achieve greatness, where it lay latent hitherto.
”At every point in time’, said Lagos Zonal Pastor Vale Odu-Thomas, ”Pastor Chris has always been committed to making a change in the lives of people. He wants to extend himself and all his resources including spiritual and material resources to help somebody.”
Pastor Odu-Thomas was actually talking of the millions leaders and members alike that Pastor Chris takes under his wing in his massive mentoring programmes either formally or informally. And the coaching resources are as many as they are rich: books and devotional for every age group; simulcasts; conferences; music and arts.
Every month, for instance, Pastor Chris hosts a Global Communion Service transmitted via satellite, terrestrial, and Internet Television and Radio Stations across the world.
Millions of members of the ministry as well as the larger world audience look forward to this monthly event. The first Sunday of every month usually comes loaded with prayers, prophecies, direction by reason of the Word of God.
According to a Zimbabwean church member, “This special service has great impact on all members of our ministry, the Greater Glory Ministries and Zimbabwe as a nation.”
Continuing, he said, “The brethren partook of every part of the service and were so blessed by the responses to the questions asked and answered by the man of God during the “Question and Answer” segment.”
On a formal scale, the International School of Mission (ISM),which Pastor Chris envisioned and founded, has been training and equipping ministers of the Gospel of Christ coming from all over the world. There the man of God builds in the students the realities of God’s Word, empowering them to carry the message of eternal life in Christ Jesus to their world, with great demonstrations of the miraculous power of God.
Courses of study at ISM have been specially designed to meet the ministerial needs of every minister. The programmes range from Kingdom Finance, to Soul Winning, Structuring for Growth, Introduction to Ministry, the Work of a Pastor, Church Administration, Ministry Gifts, Lay Ministry, Doctrines and many more.
Pastor Hemamali Jayalath had been pastoring a church in Sri Lanka for more than two decades before he attended an ISM conference recently. “As I continued practising what I learnt from the lectures, there’s been much more increase,” Jayalath said. “I am”, he continued,“ harvesting in abundance, which I never experienced throughout my 25 years of service. It’s a complete turnaround. I thank God for His blessings.”
The experience of the International Pastors and Partners’ Conference (IPPC) participants, year in and year out, is nothing short of others of Pastor Chris’ ministrations. Pastors and leaders all over the world converge on Lagos for a week-long programme packed with deep teaching, other-worldly exposition of God’s Word, and supernatural impartation.
Many of the participants lack words to testify of their spiritual transformation.
Good leaders, many believe, are trailblazers, making a path for others to follow. Pastor Chris has raised good leaders in virtually every sphere of life. Great leaders inspire their people to reach higher, dream bigger, and achieve greater heights.
The Man of God has not only inspired a generation to reach for the stars and touch the moon, he has inspired them to reach for the moon and seize blazing comets in digits. And this they have done across national and international divides, touching lives, healing the sick, and changing national destinies wherever they go.
Pastor Chris believes world’s movers and shakers don’t just rear up. They are mentored, and given opportunities to put their best feet forward. Back in those days, his ministers would suggest shipping in gospel music ministers for the BLW conferences and crusades. But the Man of God was said to have always insisted that ‘those guys who are seen to be big stars today were simply given an opportunity by someone to develop hence they are big and popular now”.
Years have come and gone, and he has been proven right as he parades the world best in gospel music and arts today. The most celebrated of these ministers are products of the anointing and power of the Man of God, Pastor Chris.
The call and anointing of God on him was corroborated through a prophesy by Pastor Benny Hinn that “God is about to shake the world with him [Pastor Chris).” Pastor Benny Hinn made this known during the Miracle Healing and Impartation Service which the Believers’ LoveWorld organized in Nigeria in October, 2016.
With a ministry sprawling across more than 200 countries and thriving in every one of the seven continents of the world using about 800 languages in its spiritual intercourse, Pastor Chris has been well on the path to fulfilling a divine purposelong before Hinn even prophesied it. That happened because the vision had come early on. And its clarity is unmistakable: “To take the divine presence of God to the people of the world and to demonstrate the character of the Holy Spirit”. And he has never looked back. He makes success look so simple.
According to Pastor Kayode Adesina “From the Pastor in uptown New York, USA to the Coordinator in Lusanne, Switzerland, to the Deacon in Cape Town, SA, to the partner in Mumbai, India, we took the mandate from our Man of God and made it good. Indeed, as is surmised in Psalm 68:11, “the Lord gave the Word and great was the company of them that published it”.
A lot has happened on the mission to that vision of publishing the Word in the last 30 years. So far, there are no fewer than 10 arms of the Ministry with which the Man of God is taking the immanence to the uttermost ends of the earth. And each of the channels has been a mother lode of grace and power of God’s word.
The first world-beater in BLW’s raft of outreaches is the Rhapsody of Realitiesa Christian devotional that adorns millions of homes around the world. Rhapsody of Realities is unarguably the best and widely read devotional in the world. Printed monthly, more than 250 million copies are currently being circulated across the planet 2016, bringing to about three quarter of a billion copies that have gone around the world in the last six years. The booklet is now available in over 800 languages in 242 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Syria, giving daily succour to men and women caught in war-torn zones of the world.
The impact of the devotional is the same in Asia, too. Those who heard this Word in Asia and the Arab nations, according to Pastor Karen Victor, received it gladly, and have fully identified themselves with our great ministry and message.
Apart from the Bible read in 2,932 languages around the world, the ROR is next up. It has even outstripped John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in terms of numbers. And, spiritually, too, the ROR is no less edifying. Testimonies abound.
“Sometimes you may be experiencing something and don’t know quite what it is,” said Sandra B., from Detroit, US. “[But] the daily words help me to clarify a lot if thing going on in my life. I find guidance and comfort in the Word…It is knowledgeable for my spirit…My mind…My soul and it puts my body in a state of peacefulness.”
Pastor Emeka Eze had a personal experience with the message, too. “I am the testimony of the message,” he said. “From timidity to boldness; from fear to courage and faith; from failure to success; from sickness to divine perfect health; from average to outstanding; my mind-set, life, state and estate are totally transformed.”
Beyond its message of faith and hope for the spirit, the ROR has a substance for the soul, too: patriotism. That aspect is a big charity concern alongside the devotional. In fact, the ReachOut Nigeria Campaign is now a movement, members of the church agree. “The ReachOut Nigeria Movement avails us an opportunity to declare our faith and pray for our great nation and the people,’ a zonal pastor said last October. “It affords us the opportunity to be a part of the celebration of our nation’s greatness.”
So every October 1, when Nigeria marks its independence, the BLW gives out millions of copies of RORs in a massive rally across the nation. About 30 million copies were distributed in 2015.
On the side, the Christ Embassy branches in various communities take on projects of public utility and give out other social welfare packages. About 10,000 kids, for instance, were adopted in the 2015 ReachOut.
The movement actually cuts across the entire world. Last August, the ReachOut campaign train reverberated across 24 nations and some 45 others later, courtesy of the Translators Network International. The campaign goals are lofty: two million cities to be reached; and 250 million copies to be made in 800 languages.
But the massive downpour of Pastor Chris’ messages is not cascading down through the ROR alone. More Christian books are churned out of the LoveWorld Books press all for the edification of the body of Christ awaiting the revival.
There is also the BLW media, a high-tech, vast empire of satellite and terrestrial television platforms where, round the clock, the messages of Pastor Chris spread out. The three channels include LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT, and LoveWorld Plus. Others are online platforms like Pastor Chris Online. Org, BLW News, and others.
Because the Word has to be broadcast far and wide, the ministry has pressed home the cyber revolution. Pastor Chris’ teachings now stream live to a digital and diverse audience across the world. He foresaw long ago, how swift the Word could travel on the information superhighway. “He told us that God told him that the Internet is the future for church growth, by this time we barely knew about the Internet but today that is what it is,” said Odu-Thomas.
The same message, yet it remains evergreen and unique in divining, precept upon precept, the transforming power of the Word, impacting his audience that cuts across genders, races, and boundaries. And the message has been satisfying their spiritual longing and panting.
It has been healing their bodies, too. The Healing School, the healing ministry of Pastor Chris, is an avenue that brings alive the healing works of Jesus Christ on whom his message centres. Miraculous healing has been taking place through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit. Harilala, from India, was one of the millions of recipients of God’s healing power on TV. “When you prayed, you mentioned that it doesn’t matter what you are going through just remember Nothing shall be impossible unto you,” the India noted in his testimony. “As you were praying, Pastor, I fell under the anointing and I received all my miracles. Children miracles. Financial miracles.”
Signs and wonders that characterize the ministry are definitely a product of prayers. And there is a massive prayer network the Man of God runs on the Yookos and Kingschat, BLW’s social media platforms available online and on mobile apps. More than 40 million followers around the world are in on this. “The number of followers keeps expanding by the minute,” an official statement confirmed. Pastor Chris raises prayer points at certain times of the day, and the millions of followers join in the intercession. “The testimonies are endless and enduring!”
According to Deacon Chris Akiri of LCC3, Lagos, Rev. Chris Oyakhilome is a powerful exegete of the Holy Writ, adding that ”his spiritual and moral prowess derived there from, and attested to covertly and overtly by local and international men and women of God, is simply inimitable.” According to him, ”the reverend gentleman is uniquely imbued with a philosophical bent of the mind which, coupled with copious intellectual and spiritual endowments, enables and encourages him to benefit the whole world, including the world of children, the world of the elderly and the world of the physically and materially deprived.”
As the ministry doubles down its efforts in spreading the gospel of Christ as preached by Pastor Chris, the Man of God himself has a number outreaches he uses to share the message, and impact millions at home and abroad. The InnerCity Mission for children, for instance, is a faith-based NGO cum consultancy. The Chris Oyakhilome Foundation uses that to reach out to slum kids living in the inner cities of the world. The ICM has five basic programmes Child Development, Child Care and Support, Health and Nutrition, Family Strengthening, and Inner City Mission for Children School. There are other programmes, too all designed to reach the masses of forgotten children all around the world with the love of God and bowels of mercy.
Pastor Chris’ focus on the young at heart even gets much stronger with the establishment of the Future Africa leaders Academy (FALA) in 2013. The initiative explores and expands the leadership potential in Africa and for Africa. It does that by identifying, celebrating and supporting young Africans impacting their generation positively. The whole idea is to support projects in education, youth empowerment, mentoring, and others which young Africans take on during an academic year.
Pastor Sharon Shade Adeji, 29, won the overall maiden edition of FALA in 2013. Her project on quality of education and girl children has helped thousands of secondary school students in the Alimosho area of Lagos, Nigeria. According to her, the vision Pastor Chris gave them is to meet humanity’s needs in order to bring them to Christ.
FALA has since become a crowd-puller. Over 20,000 people were physically present at the 2015 edition. The awardees were selected across the continent of Africa. Fourteen of them were chosen from 22 nominees who produced a star winner that got $25,000 to fund his project. The other 13 got $10,000 each. “We are looking at Africa tomorrow and that’s why we are seeking young people who can develop leadership,” said Pastor Chris.
That last edition was beamed live on over 500 terrestrial and cable television stations across 100 countries around the world. Many described that as unprecedented. That’s how it is with everything Pastor Chris does deep, powerful, and far-reaching.
“Pastor is a world changer,” Odu-Thomas told National Standard. “It’s like God spoke to him personally about his plan for humanity.” He believes Pastor Chris isn’t doing this so he will elevate or showcase himself. “It is something that he does as a deep sense of commitment and realization that he is a man sent from God for this purpose.”
Of course that commitment of Pastor Chris has got no match. Not many if there are. “Very few men today are declaring the message of the Holy Spirit [as Pastor Chris is doing],” Pastor Hinn said as the reason God has chosen the BLW President among the world’s 2.2 billion Christians, 37 percent protestants, according to the Pew Research Centreto move the world.
On a closer look, observers of faith-based activities around the world have noticed Africa is fast becoming the religious epicentre of the world. The critical ones among them believe standard of living, low as it is in Africa compared to the Western world, is responsible. But believers are doubly sure it is the outpouring of God’s power as promised in the latter rain.
But, anyhow, what is glaring, as The Economist wrote last Christmas, is: the centre of gravity of the world’s most popular religion is shifting towards Africa the birthplace of humanity.
The stats are staggering. The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary said in 1910 that 9 percent of the 100 million people in Africa practise Christianity. The continent now bristles with 1 billion people, and more than half of them25 times the population of Nigeria are Christian.
It is only divine, as many have said, that Pastor Chris, among the few mortals most dedicated to spreading the Word of God, and its life-changing power, be anointed to spearhead the great revival.
Sam Warton, who founded Walmart, the largest store in the world, said, “Outstanding leaders go out of their ways to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”Christ Embassy has truly raised amazing leaders across the world. Pastor Chris seems to have obeyed the words of the Great Zik who said, “Show the Light and the people will find the way”.
The year 2016 has been most exceptional as his protégés organised the biggest meetings (conferences and crusades) across Nigeria, Southern Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, United Kingdom, Europe, Americas, and Australia, among others. He has raised them and reproduced himself in them, including his success and achievement. Now, they are the Pastor Chris of their towns, villages, cities and nations. This indeed is in an unprecedented spreading.
“It is not an overstatement to say that life and ministry hold much meaning and value to us because God sent His Man to us. Church history will not be complete without a record of this movement sweeping through this earth- Believers’ Loveworld, driven by our Field Marshal,” Adesina said.
As we chorus a hearty Happy Birthday to the Prophet of our time, we make bold to re-echo the words of Sir Isaac Newton that “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulder of giants.”
Thank you, Pastor, for offering your shoulders for us all to stand on.