A few years ago, when he arrived at a London airport for the Holy Ghost Service in the ancient city of the United Kingdom, a dozen of his pastors in Europe lined up to receive him. But that’s not the news. The real gist here is that even the Whites and Londoners who had before then dominated the Christian community, stood up to receive and salute Pastor E. A. Adeboye. The news, however,  is that a leader of the Christian community, an English pastor, asked the Redeemed Christian Church of God head pastor in London what the secret of greatness of Pastor Adeboye was. He was stunned when the Nigerian said: “I myself I don’t know the secret of his greatness. I am still studying to know more about him; even though he is my father and pastor.”

Of course, no one can actually know a man whose stunts in preaching the gospel confound people across the globe. By that very encounter and the success of the Holy Ghost Service; multiple doors were open for Pastor E. A. Adeboye London-wide.

Traditional London Christians who had lost faith and form couldn’t hesitate signing up for Pastor Adeboye’s Holy Ghost Service. That year alone, the Mayor of London who had not witnessed a million people crowd at an event, rose up to testify that there was something unusual about Pastor Adeboye. The Mayor said that throughout his political life, he had not addressed a crowd of people as huge as the gathering at the London Holy Ghost Service. Such is the larger than life size of the revered clergyman, and the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) worldwide.


It is still a puzzle how God would choose to use the weak things of the world to confound the strong. But that’s the mindset that God carries as He deals with mankind from generation to generation, establishing His government and authority on earth. Perhaps, this also explains why He, as God, chose to be born in a smelling manger to confound the rich in the palaces, who had expected Christ to be born in a royal arena; after all ‘He is the king of Jews and the Messiah.’

Now-a-days, the rich fly their pregnant wives abroad so the children can have royal stamp on them as London or American citizens. The notion is that Nigeria is not worth much to earn a first-rate citizenship. On the streets of Lagos you’ll see many people; both sexes answering the name, Tokunbo, translated to mean they were born abroad. Even at that, they Tokunbos still end up unheard, unsung, because, as the Chinese would say: ‘the hood doesn’t make the monk.’

Enoch Adejare Adeboye was born in a farm, in a sleepy community of Ifewara in Osun State in 1942 to Mr. and Mrs. Moses Adeboye.  He grew up not knowing what poverty was because he lived in it. His family was so poor that the first time his father could afford an umbrella, the entire family celebrated it.    For the first 17 years of his life, he never wore shoes. Not that he did not want to, but none was made available to him because of acute poverty.  But as he grew, glimmers of light began to beam his way, signaling the colourful future ahead.

One day, as he was returning from school, an elderly man within the community met him midway, observed him closely and said: ‘Baba Eko,’ interpreted to mean the father of Lagos. Lagos! Young Enoch smiled and strolled home, not even taking to head what he had just heard. To him it was too bogus an idea to even think of it. Several questions tumbling through his mind as a raucous wind were: “Me, Baba Eko? Eh, I don’t even think I can get to Ibadan, let alone Lagos! How can I possibly become the Baba Eko?” Today, he has surpassed all that!  The Governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ondo states, besides others, all roll on the floor for him. Besides, high profiles Obas remain his subjects. Professors and top bankers are his ushers and personal aids.  Today, Pastor Adeboye can afford anything life can give; private jets and exotic limousines you can imagine all line up for his beckons – assisting him traverse the globe preaching the Gospel of Christ.


 His educational voyage was a struggle. Through the help of God and the assistance of his mother, Mama Esther Adeboye, he was educated up to the tertiary level, graduating at the age of 25 in 1967.  He attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School, Ilesa Grammar School, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and University of Lagos. This sounds as if he had it well; not at all. He struggled through many turns but because he had realized early that a good education was the only pathway to quit a life of poverty and gloom, he persevered. He had earned an enviable position of an all time ‘A’ student from primary school to the University level. ‘What his parents lacked in material wealth, he made up in academic excellence,’ said one of his protégées.

With an in Hydrodynamics and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, the soft spoken pastor started his teaching career at Okeigbo Ifetedo Grammar School, where he taught Mathematics and later moved to the Lagos based Anglican Girls Grammar School. He later moved on to University of Ilorin and University of Lagos as a lecturer. His dream then was to become the youngest Vice Chancellor in Africa at the age of 30. All was set for him to realize that dream. He was loved by colleagues at the University of Lagos, and was especially encouraged by the dean of his faculty, who saw him as his immediate successor.


Notwithstanding, some events began to occur in his life that truncated his dream to becoming the youngest Vice Chancellor. Although he was a Christian, he never was a born again Christian, and never bothered about it. He was a nominal church person. There came a time in his life that despite his academic brilliance, he was not a happy man. His life was torn into shreds, with fear and anxiety. He was undergoing serious spiritual attacks that defied knowledge of science and mathematics in which he was a master. The attacks had become so severe that he feared he might be killed. Then a fellow decided to help him out: he took him to herbalist who prepared all kinds of concoctions for him. But all to no avail. He still lacked inner peace, joy and freedom, despite the juju concoctions. 

Several other attempts to arrive at a solution were all unsuccessful. It was at that period of despair that he saw sunrise: an uncle of his, Reverend Chris Fajemirokun, invited him to The Redeemed Christian Church of God, assuring him that the nightmare was soon going to be history, and truly it had since been consigned to the dust bin of history.

At the RCCG, he met a different setting. An illiterate, but well-schooled in the Bible, Rev. Josiah Akindayomi had delivered a sermon that Sunday morning, and asked people to surrender their lives to Christ. Without hesitation, Adeboye did, after all what brought him there was to solve his myriads of spiritual problems. It was there that he heard that if one does not change from his sinful ways, the person will end up in hell on the Day of Judgment. How would he acquire all the degrees and end up in hell? When the altar call was made, he wasted no time in giving his life to Jesus. That great choice he made on July 29th, 1973, changed his life forever. 

He left service later that noon, wondering whether that was all it took to solve a complex spiritual problem. Surprisingly, that evening he received a team of ministers from the church who had come to appreciate him for attending the service. That made an impression in his life since in his years of attending his former church he had not at any moment received such a visit by a team of clergy. It was then he made up his mind to attend the next service. Eventually, he became a member. 

The Redeemed Christian Church of God founded in 1952 by Rev Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, wore a total different atmosphere. The power of God was mightily present at each service. Pastor Adeboye then felt the strong presence of God in the congregation and began to adjust quickly to the new atmosphere. He got baptized by immersion in September 1973. As a worker in the church, he laboured to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and was good at follow up of new comers.  As he began to grow in faith, he hosted a lunch hour fellowship at the University community. He was ordained a pastor of the church on September 14, 1975 alongside four others. He later became official English language interpreter of Reverend Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, who preached in Yoruba language.

Upon the transition of Pa Akindayomi in 1980, Pastor Adeboye became the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God in 1981. Thus, quitting his University job to become a full time pastor with the RCCG at the age of 38. His decision did not go down well with many who believed that he was making a mistake. But time has since proved critics wrong.


It was not all smooth for Pastor Adeboye when he truncated his chances of breaking records as the first youngest Vice Chancellor in Africa. One of the greatest challenges he faced was opposition within the church, especially among the older folks that started with Pa Akindayomi. The older folks felt envious and many of them left in protest. Again, repositioning the church whose founder was unlettered was another challenge, but God helped weather the storms. Prominent among the decisions was to establish the Model parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, with Pastor Tunde Bakare, a lawyer, as the first Model Parish pastor at Oladipo Oluwole Avenue, Ikeja. That single decision brought rapid growth and expansion as professionals were attracted into the church. Other strides were Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries (CRM) to take care of the Christian education, evangelism and publication of training materials. He also set up Christ the Redeemer’s Friends Universal, a ministry he deployed to reach the people in the academia and top echelon of the society to bring them to Christ.



His greatest asset is his ability to be humble, both before God and man. In spite of his stupendous wealth especially through great millionaires he has raised through the platform of his programmes like the Holy Ghost Service, Christ the Redeemer’s Friends Universal and A- Day out with the GO, he is humble enough to carry his Bible. He wouldn’t prefer an aide to do it, except at critical moments of prolonged fasting that has sapped his physical strength.  Once driving through the Lagos traffic by Maryland, he spotted a lady selling bolle, roasted plantains. He asked his driver to stop so he could get some and actually came down from the car to buy them. He is that simple! This character, as exemplified by his dressing and public speaking mode, has endeared millions of followers towards him and the church. 


Despite his humility, he does not take chances; a master planner, he schedules his many programmes and ensures excellence becomes the hallmark at whatever cost. Once upon a time, he attended a ministers programme hosted by late Kenneth Hagin in US. He saw raw power at work, and desired to have the same replicated in his ministry. While every minister from Africa who attended the events went to seek financial aides for their work, he requested for tapes and other materials. He told Hagin, he wanted what he saw in his ministry to take place in Nigeria. Prayed for, that encounter changed the face of his ministry. He plunged into prolonged prayer sessions that have since progressed into the popular regular prayer walk across the large expanse of the Redemption Camp.


One of the outstanding qualities of Pastor E. A. Adeboye is willingness to take risk. Years after he adventured into creating a city out of the jungle of Ibadan Express Way, several ministers and missions have followed his extra ordinary example. When he set out to establish the international headquarters of the church in the jungle, even his closest ministers didn’t believe him. But he kept pushing, denying himself of any comfort, as there was no electricity near the area. Gradually, he kept pushing. Today, the rich struggle to get a property in the Redemption City that has witnessed giant architectural masterpieces, technology, banking instructions and colleges, including the Redeemer’s University campus. He is indeed, a man that many lack words to describe. Socially he has broken more records than any pastor before him, as many international and local organisations compete to accord him honours and laurels.  

Quest News 24

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