Timeless Impact, As Deeper Life Marks 50th Anniversary
One of the institutions that have made lasting impact on over seven billion people in the world is the church. Against cruel persecutions and deliberate efforts by animists, atheists and other religions of the world to kill the church and quench her fire, the church has continued to triumph, growing in leaps and bounds. Criticisms abound that the church has lost her taste with the world now full of evils; corruption in high and low places, immorality at its peak, with homosexuality now made legal and openly celebrated, violent crimes and religious extremists killing Christians in their hundreds, etc. Worst still, many professed Christians, even some clergymen have given up, while others have turned vitriolic critics of the Bible, pushing the narrative that the Church has outlived her existence, as evil seems to have taken over.
But when you think of how chaotic, dark and formless the earth was at the very beginning of life and how God by His word brought light, order and life to make the earth accommodating, safe and secure for mankind to live and thrive in his chosen field of endeavour, then you will come to really appreciate God for His wisdom, power and kindness towards mankind.
Imagine what would have been of Nigeria today if the Church had not been in existence before her independence, with missionaries speaking God’s word to the geographical spread called Nigeria. Imagine if a vision like the Deeper Christian Life Ministry (and later Deeper Life Christian Church) had not been in existence since the 70s what would have been of Nigeria!
As Deeper Life Christian Church marks her 50th anniversary, Nigerians and her leaders should shower praises to God for the life of the Church, especially her founder; the visionary, humble and righteous man of God, Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuji. In 1973, he dared to answer God’s call upon his life to start a Bible study group of 15 persons in the University of Lagos where he lectured in mathematics.
That little step of faith has shaken and shaped the world today, with Deeper Life Christian Church tentacles spreading over the earth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church is known for teaching sound word of God, true biblical doctrines and placing emphasis on salvation of souls, holy living and preparedness for eternity with God after death.
Nigeria has been the greatest beneficiary of the grace of God upon Pastor Kumuji, who has held a series of crusade all over the country, leading thousands to salvation in Christ Jesus.
This is why on August 13, when the church marked 50, members and thousands of people impacted by this great international gospel ambassador gathered in the Lagos headquarters of the church to celebrate God’s faithfulness.
The pilgrimage to Deeper Christian Life Ministry
In the 70s and 80s, if you were born again, despite your denomination, one way or the other, you must take a trip to Deeper Christian Life Church at Gbagada, Lagos. The Church was a pilgrimage ground for many young believers who trooped there to both catch a glimpse of the humble personality of Pastor William Kumuji and hear him teach or collect some of his numerous teaching tracts and pamphlets, which were readily available on demands free, for evangelism.
Your new found faith wouldn’t have been strengthened without gleaning from the rich spiritual resources of the Deeper Christian Life Church and Pastor William Kumuji, as his robust teachings on steps to salvation, freedom from sins, faith, holy living and miracles, became the foundation of young believers, desiring spiritual growth to maturity.
How relieved I felt the very day I was led to the premises of the Church by a brother who invited me for a regular weekly revival and miracles meeting. It felt like you were given a complete bill of health in your salvation experience, as listening to those soft but peculiar tone of Pastor Kumuji refreshed my soul.
The 50th Anniversary
Now 50 years after, the Church is waxing stronger. Sunday 13th August, 2023, the auditorium of the Deeper Life Christian Ministry headquarters in Gbagada, Lagos, was overfilled with worshippers. Excited members and guests from all walks of life gathered to show gratitude to God for the success of the vision and God’s servant driving the vision.
The week-long celebration started with a Strategy Congress of the Church of key leaders of the Church from over 120 countries were in attendance. Various musical performances from the children, youth and adult choirs of the church heralded the celebration. Popular classical praise and worship hymns, ‘To God be the Glory, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, ‘Great is thy Faithfulness and ‘Faith of our Father,’ filled the atmosphere.
Parts of the events included the unveiling of Deeper Life @ 50 logo, documentaries on how the Church started and Deeper Life Study Bible by the Bible Society of Nigeria. It is the King James Version with special study notes on holiness.
Impact on our world
In his recollection, a journalist, Chika Abanobi, who has worshipped in Deeper Life Christian Church for 44 years, recounted how he was baffled by the humble personality of Pastor Kumuji, as reflected in all the ministers raised by him.
“The humility exhibited by this ‘strange’ group of ‘religious’ homo sapiens who would serve you food and wash the plates you ate with, at one moment, and ascend the wooden pulpit stage, the next, to teach, preach and admonish you from the scriptures, was something else. It was disarming as it was intriguing.” Abanobi was recalling his first encounter with Deeper Life in one of the retreats at Owerri, 44 years ago.
At the Owerri Retreat, he said, members of the Deeper Life Christian Ministry, which was then in its embryonic stage, not only talked the talk but also walked their talk.
“In a title-crazy society like Nigeria where almost everyone, politicians, intellectuals, and pastors alike, believe in flaunting their titles and ranks like some land title deeds, except someone told you that a particular Deeper Lifer was a high-ranking public officer, a highly placed personality in some ministries somewhere, you may never know. That was the first thing that struck me as a young born again Christian learning the ropes of Christian living,” he remarked.
Dr. Francis Bola Akin-John, President of International Church Growth Ministry, Lagos, has also shared memories of the founding, growth and development of Deeper Life Christian Church. As a staunch CAC member, he was, however, motivated to attend the Monday Bible study with Pastor Kumuji because of the impact the teachings made on him.
Relieving his experience to the Church Times Nigeria, he said: “The impact was massive. In fact, many churches lost their members to Deeper Life. I remember about 250 of us left the CAC church I was attending then. Some left for Deeper Life while many of us left to start another ministry where the teachings of Deeper Life were the main doctrine. We did not see what Pastor Kumuyi was preaching as Deeper Life doctrine, we saw it more as Bible truths that needed to be preached. Many people also had to leave their churches because of persecution. They were being persecuted for practicing the Deeper Life doctrine.”
In his 50th anniversary message, “Marching Forward with Fresh Vision into the Future Destiny,” Pastor Kumuyi, reiterated the necessity for the church to march forward in propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ with courage, using the right compass.
According to the revered cleric, while members should praise God for what He had done for the church in the last 50 years, the Church must march forward with the Great Commission mandate, sanctification and submission to the will of God.
He illustrated with how Joshua demonstrated faith when he commanded the Sun and moon to stand still and with Caleb, who at 80 years of age, was ready to conquer great mountains and possess his portions of the land.
He urged the various arms of the Church to look forward towards soul winning, calling on Church leaders to be more spiritually conscious in their services. He gave instances where the choir sang and sinners got converted some years ago.