He is currently trending online with over 2,279 tweets as Twitter users show love to the extremely popular Man of God.
In honour of his birthday, Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa shares seven important things to know about one of Africa’s wealthiest pastors:
- He comes from a mixed-faith background
The famous preacher was born on September 27, 1954, to a Muslim healer father (Ibrahim) while his mother (Dorcas) attended the Holy Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church (C&S).
- His grandmother and a teacher set him on the Christian path
Several reports say that the young Oyedepo was raised by his grandmother, Racheal Adeyiola Odetundun, who was a devout Anglican. During his stay with her in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, he learnt about early morning prayers and the importance of tithing.
He later converted to Christianity on February 19, 1969, through the help of a missionary teacher named Betty Lasher.
- He studied architecture
Prior to becoming a preacher, Oyedepo studied architecture at the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin. He got to use his architectural degree when he worked briefly with the Federal Ministry of Housing in Ilorin before resigning to concentrate on missionary work.
He later received a PhD in Human Development from Honolulu University, Hawaii, US.
- His missionary work began in 1981
Oyedepo decided to become a preacher after receiving a mandate to liberate the world by preaching of the word of faith. This divine message came in an 18-hour long vision that occurred in May 1981.
The mandate made him open a church called Liberation Faith Hour Ministries in 1981. This is now known as the famous Living Faith Church World Wide (LFCWW) aka Winners’ Chapel.
He became an ordained pastor two years later, on September 17, 1983. He was inducted along with his wife, Faith Abiola Oyedepo by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Oyedepo was later ordained as Bishop five years later.
- He heads one of the biggest churches in Nigeria
Oyedepo’s church was originally located in Kaduna state. He eventually moved to Lagos state to open a new branch in September 1989. He later built and moved to the 50,000-seater Faith Tabernacle which was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest church auditorium at the time on January 24, 2008.
Bishop Oyedepo’s church has centres in various Nigerian states, 45 African nations, Dubai, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Faith Tabernacle is located in Oyedepo’s headquarters known as “Canaanland”, a 10,500-acre (4250-hectare) campus in Ota, Ogun State. The campus comprises of the church, a university, two halls of accommodation and several restaurants. It also has an overflow capable of seating over 50, 000 people.
- He is the richest pastor in Nigeria
According to the last estimate by Forbes, Bishop Oyedepo is worth $150 million (N54 billion) which makes him Nigeria’s wealthiest preacher. He is said to own at least four private jets and homes in London and the United States.
Over the years, the preacher has faced many accusations concerning the source of his wealth. He responded to the rumours in 2017 during the interview with the Education Explorer.
He said, “I feel very good. It’s an opinion. Let me tell you what my understanding of persecution is; it’s simply an opinion harshly expressed. And everybody has a right to his opinion. People who are walking in the truth are hardly bothered when things are said negatively about them because they have nothing to hide. The truth is I have never felt it, some say it’s not human, but I have not. I can’t be wasting my time trying to reply lies because I have too many things to do.”
“They are doing their work, let me be doing my work too and before they wake up in the morning, I’ve done the next one, so, it doesn’t matter. My idea of it is that, in a football match, you have only 22 people playing with thousands of spectators. And that is the way it is in the journey of life. In every field, you find just a few players and many spectators, multitudes. If we don’t know where to place opinions, they will displace us.”
- He is also an author and president of a huge organization
Bishop Oyedepo is not just a cleric, he is also an author of many bestsellers and the President of David Oyedepo Ministries International (DOMI). This organization comprises of all the Living Faith Churches Worldwide, and World Mission Agency (WMA); which is the global missionary arm of the church’s operations.
One of Nigeria’s leading tertiary institutions, Covenant University, Ota, Landmark University in Omu Aran, Crown University in Calabar, Kingdom Heritage Model School, Faith Academy in Canaanland, Ota and the Dominion Publishing House (DPH); the publishing arm of the church also fall under DOMI.
Bishop Oyedepo is married to Pastor Mrs Faith Abiola Oyedepo. They have four children (David Jr., Isaac, Love, and Joy).