HOW THE LIVING FAITH CHURCH BEGAN
When the Mandate was delivered in 1981, I saw it mainly as an outreach ministry, because at that time, church planting was not considered relevant. We were more concerned about believing God for revival in the existing churches. Also, when the Mandate was delivered, church wasn’t particularly mentioned.
I then thought it was going to be an outreach ministry. My stand was that there were enough churches already, so we didn’t really need another one.
But one early morning, however, God showed me something from Luke chapter one:
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
It seemed good to me also… —Luke 1:1-3
God was telling to me, “There are many churches, yes; but I am giving you a portion of the church ministry.”
“I also…” became the marching order for our Church Ministry. That’s, “others have written it, but you have a part of it to write.” It is that part that we are here writing, which is fast becoming a global phenomenon. To God be the glory!
On May 2, 1981, at the end of a visionary encounter that lasted about eighteen hours, God opened the eyes our the Presiding Bishop of this commission – Bishop David Oyedepo and he saw a roll of afflicted, battered, beaten, tattered, deformed and all that one could ever imagine, groaning and agonizing, as a result of pains and pangs, crying as it were for rescue.
He was so moved with compassion that he began to sob profusely and asked, “Why Lord?”. In an unmistaken voice, he heard the Lord say to him, “But from the beginning it was not so”.
He questioned further, “But why Lord?” and then came the mandate that is the bedrock of this commission: “The hour has come to liberate the world from all oppressions of the devil through the preaching of the word of faith, and I am sending you to undertake this task.”
Our Mandate speaks of liberation in all facets of human existence, we focus mainly on destinies that have been afflicted, battered, beaten, tattered, deformed and subsequently in groaning and agonies, as a result of pains, pangs and crying.
This mandate was further confirmed from the epistle of Paul to the Ephesians where God Said, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked ” (Eph 6:16).
The understanding of the liberation commission is that, it will basically be an outreach operation. The Presiding Bishop could not imagine any church connection with the commission. Our understanding then was that there was no kind of church that was not in existence and that what was needed was to ignite the fire of the Holy Ghost in existing churches through itinerant preaching in churches, instead of finding new ones. However, one glorious day, in November 1982, the Lord spoke to the Presiding Bishop clearly from Luke 1:1-3 that “this mandate shall have a church base all that is in existence notwithstanding”. Today, the Living Faith Church, well known in some cities and nations as Winners’ Chapel, and has become a worldwide name.
During our Easter Faith Convention in 1987, The Presiding Bishop was on his way to the platform on April 27, 1987, when the Lord spoke to him in very clear terms, “It’s time to spread out.” He declared it to the church that same day, and to the glory of God by May 27, 1987, our branch network began in five cities and towns in northern Nigeria, namely Maiduguri, Bauchi, Mubi, Azare and Biu. Today, we are in over 300 cities and towns in Nigeria, and over 35 nations in Africa, Europe and America.
On May 4, 1994, as The Presiding Bishop was driving from a meeting held in Zaria to Kaduna, that the Lord spoke to him in very clear terms, “The harvest of Africa is now over-ripe, rush in and preserve it from decadence.” On May 8, 1994, with a giant map of Africa, we dedicated the mandate to God for execution and by January 15, 1995 the first set of missionaries left the shores of Nigeria. Today, we are in about 32 African nations and operating in 63 cities and towns in those nations. It’s clear again that whatever God speaks with His mouth, He performs with His Hand (I Kings 8:15). The foreign mission mandate gave birth to two organizations. One was the African Invasion Program (AGIP) and the World Mission Agency (WMA). It wouldn’t be until the year 2000 that God gave the Commission the prompting to expand beyond the shores of Africa in a programme called the Mission To the World (MTW). The church in London was subsequently born in the year 2001, the New York Church in 2004 and the Maryland Church in 2008. Clearly, the mission to spread this commission and its churches around the world came directly from God and that is why we have been experiencing God’s backing in a strange way.