In a rather funny, yet profoundly instructive story, a member of the Governing Council of the Church vowed not to call Pastor Enoch Adeboye on the phone again.
Sometime ago, Pastor David G. Kuo was an RCCG pastor in charge of Kano State from where he called Pastor Adeboye over an issue. â€œI greeted him, but he responded with â€˜Yes sirâ€™, and maintained that in everything he said.
â€œHa! Not sure he knew the person he was talking to, I reminded him, â€˜Sir, emi David lo n soro, sir.â€™(Sir, David is the person speaking). â€œBut he responded emphatically â€˜I know, Sir!â€™ and the â€˜Yes sirâ€™ continued.
â€œAah, who am I for a whole Pastor Adeboye to address that way? I was worried.
â€œTo avoid that I decided I would not call him again.â€
Under normal circumstances, a boss addressing a subordinate that way is an indication that the latter may be in some kind of trouble or is being humoured. Besides that, even without being a pastor, Kuo knew that Pastor Adeboye, noted for signs, wonders and miracles, was a revered person. That, for Kuo, was a lesson in humility.
The uncommon humility of Pastor Adeboye, which transcends the human realm, is one reason some people think he is more of a spiritual being than human.
It perhaps defies human psychology that a man who is so spiritually powerful, so widely revered, and even sought after by presidents of various countries hasnâ€™t been afflicted by the seduction of success – a phenomenon characterized by pride and disrespect for others. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who Pastor Adeboye introduced to the supernatural world, has this to say about his humility in the foreword of a book, â€œStories of Pastor E.A. Adeboyeâ€, by this writer.
â€œThe life of Daddy in itself is one big miracle! For a man born to financially-challenged parents in the remote village of Ifewara, Osun State, who had no shoes at 18 years old, who was not a Born Again Christian until the time he was a mathematics teacher at the University of Lagos, becoming the leader of a church with a strong presence in over 192 (now 198) countries, and with over 40,000 parishes in Nigeria alone, is indeed, a miracle worth knowing. For this same man to remain infectiously humble, in spite of his enormous power, influence and popularity, is also a miracle in itself.â€
Pastor Adeboye is so humble that he doesnâ€™t even want to take credit for his humility. He gives it to God who ordered the behavior after the massive success of the first Holy Ghost Congress in Lekki, Lagos in 1998.
He says: â€œSomething happened after Lekki 98; one of the biggest programmes that we ever had. The whole of Lagos was paralyzed because of this programme.
â€œPeople walked kilometres to the venue and back. Fortunately, the programme was also transmitted by radio, so that those who couldnâ€™t get there listened to it on radio. It was a fantastic programme!
â€œAfter the programme, I returned to the Redemption Camp and soon proceeded on a prayer walk to thank God: â€™God I bless Your Holy name, what a wonderful thing, etc.â€™
â€œIt was between 2a.m. and 3a.m. when He spoke. I heard him say clearly, â€˜Son, bend down.â€™
I did that quickly because, you know, I was in the jungle. You never can tell; a witch could have been flying past.
And then He said, â€˜Draw the figure of a man in the sand.â€™
â€œI drew the figure of a man: zero for the head, one line for the body and two lines for the leg and so on. You know that kind of drawing.
â€œGod said, â€˜Stand up.â€™ I did, but by then I was afraid because I knew something serious was happening.
He said, â€˜Wipe out the figure you have drawn with your leg.â€™ I wiped it out.
And He said, â€˜Son, if you ever forget who your boss is, I will wipe you out and nobody will even remember you came to the world.â€™
â€œThat was what He told me. So, I smile when I hear people say, â€˜Heâ€™s a very humble man. How can a man be so successful and so humble?â€™ You think I want to be wiped out?â€™â€
The Osinbajo Transformation
A law professor, Osinbajo believed only in the demonstration of (physical) evidence, until he lost his passport after a trip to South Africa.
It is an interesting story he narrated during the presentation of a book on Pastor Adeboye his wife, Folu, coordinated 40 authors to write.
â€œOne day, when Daddy (Pastor Adeboye is popularly called Daddy G.O) was travelling, we went to the Redemption Camp to help him with his luggage and I used the opportunity to tell him about my missing passport.
â€œHe asked what happened, and I told him. I had searched everywhere, and even gone to the then popular Oluwole market in Lagos to check if it had been taken there for sale. I was told it would cost me N400,000 to get it, but I didnâ€™t even have N40,000 to give.
â€œWhen Daddy heard my story, he said if we prayed I would get the passport back. I said to myself, â€˜how does anybody even say that?â€™
â€œBut I told him, â€˜Well, yes.â€™
â€œHe prayed, â€˜In Jesus name you will find your passport.â€™
â€œI responded, â€˜Amen,â€™ and promptly forgot about it.
â€œHowever, a few days later, under 10 days, the person who stole the passport brought it back. That was a very important lesson in my life, especially in my walk with God.
â€œDaddy was the one who was able to show me that aspect of the supernatural. For me, who believed that evidence is the demonstration of what is seen, God showed me that evidence could be something not seen.â€
These days, the supernatural aspect of Pastor Adeboyeâ€™s life is discussed much more than his physical nature.
Another surprising aspect of Pastor Adeboye is his unusual energy and staying power. He has personally attended and led all major RCCG programmes at the Redemption Camp, which in itself is a testimony of Godâ€™s special favour on Him.
In 1981, while he worried about accommodation for his family in Mushin, Lagos, God promised him a city. Today, the Redemption Camp of several residential estates and reliable socio-economic infrastructure is growing into a city. He also attends programmes in many of the 198 countries where the church has branches. He hops from one programme or country to another making people wonder if he ever has time to rest.
At 76, instead of cutting his schedule short to rest, it is getting longer. Last month, the daily prayer session at the Camp for the churchâ€™s 50-day fasting season was increased to a week. He also began ministration for the churchâ€™s monthly thanksgiving service, broadcast live in all branches. It was also the month in which he organized special prayers for the nation at the Camp.
The 50-day fasting of the Church, with his full participation, ended on March 1, but it is only the first part. The second part, of 30 additional days, starts in July.
Asked if he would reduce or stop fasting, which some people observe has become his food, he had replied: â€œThe moment I quit fasting, you can begin to expect my departure because I have resolved never to relax. As far as I am concerned, the day I cease to be relevant, I go.â€
Even during the birthday week, it was all work. Solemn Assembly, a programme for ministers of God in RCCG to hold frank discussion with him, started on Sunday night and continued from Monday, both morning and evening session, till Wednesday night. On Thursday, there was a Holy Communion Service, followed on Friday by a heavily-attended Holy Ghost Service at the New Arena.
So what happened to the birthday celebration? As usual, it was marked quietly at home, without disrupting the programmes of the church.
Last year, a video in which people had lined up to touch a chair, that had been used by Pastor Adeboye, for miracles, went viral, with some people accusing the church of ritual practices.
The reality of the situation which was misunderstood is that the anointing on the Pastor has become so powerful that coming into contact with anything he uses could invoke miracles. There are many cases of barren women who have had their wombs blessed by eating leftovers of his food, or sitting on a chair he had used.
In one of the testimonies of such miracles, after a church programme in Dublin, an official of the church there took away the chair Pastor Adeboye had used to avoid the usual rush by people to use it.
The testimony: â€œThere was a rush of women to sit on the chair I had sat on so that they could be pregnant as they had heard in many testimonies. But one man took the chair away.
â€œOne of the women was sad but she quickly remembered that I had used the pulpit. She then rushed to the pulpit and rubbed her stomach on it. That same month she became pregnant. And when she was testifying, she showed three children â€“ two boys and a girl â€“ as evidence.â€
God has continued to use Pastor Adeboye to perform several miracles across the world – healing of all manner of diseases, replacement of body organs, breakthroughs, etc. The book, â€œStories of Pastor E.A. Adeboyeâ€ contains many of such miracles.
The anointing on him has become so strong that even oil and handkerchiefs he has blessed have been used to raise the dead.
For a man who is able to communicate regularly with God, Pastor Adeboyeâ€™s sermons are usually punctuated with â€Words of Knowledgeâ€ he shares with the congregation. And everybody goes quiet with anticipation once he gives an alert, â€œDaddy (God) says…..â€
Some of the prophecies sound unbelievable but the rate of accuracy has not been faulted. In Ibadan, the woman who had feathers growing in her armpit, instead of hair, came out for deliverance and the feathers promptly disappeared.
In Lagos, as in other venues, women who had no wombs or fallopian tubes have been blessed with kids and testified the miracles with their babies. Even prophecies some people find funny are announced once the â€œWord of Knowledgeâ€ comes. One of such cases was the healing of a woman with burning sensation in her private parts. As usual, when the prophecy alert came the congregation was eager for it, but when he said God has healed a woman with burning sensation in her private part, the Arena went quiet.
Pastor Adeboye noticed that so he said, â€œWell whether you believe that or not, we will see.â€
Two services later, an elegant middle-aged lady in a flowing gown, testified from the fearsome altar that the prophecy was meant for her and she had been truly healed. A similar testimony was given by another lady months later.
The phenomenal growth of the church is also a reason why Pastor Adeboye is highly respected. It takes the blessing of God for a church that had only 40 parishes to have several thousands of them in Nigeria, with visible presence in 198 countries.
The growth of the church is a prophecy foretold, but it still pleasantly surprises some of the members who have grown with it. The choice of Pastor Adeboye to succeed the founder is said to be a key success factor.
Pastor J.H. Abiona, the 93-year-old Retired Deputy General Overseer of the church, who was appointed General Superintendent after the death of the founder, had to weather a storm generated by people who were eager to lead the church, despite Godâ€™s plan, which had been made known.
Respected for his humility, righteousness and commitment to God, Pastor Abiona is known as one of the very few people to pray for Pastor Adeboye and his wife during church programmes.
He said in a magazine of the church: â€œI thank God that we insisted on doing Godâ€™s will and today everyone can see that the successor was Godâ€™s choice.â€
Obviously, God walks and works through people who walk diligently with Him. â€œGod himself must have been happy to choose Pastor Adeboye because of his holiness and obedience to Him. â€œThere is nothing we have done as a church, including the choice of the Redemption Camp, without him following Godâ€™s direction; and I am sure that is what he does in his private life,â€ says an old member of the church, who adds, â€œHe is extremely humble, hardworking, honest, and hates laziness.â€
More Spiritual than Human?
From all that, many people find multiple reasons to believe that Pastor Adeboye is now more of a spirit than a human being. â€œLiving with that man will be a nightmare because he will know everything you do,â€ a young man in Lagos cracked recently.
Pastor Adeboye has heard what people say about his spirituality himself, and has reacted this way: â€œSomeone once said that the reason why God is using Pastor Adeboye is because of his name â€œEnochâ€™â€, referring to how God related with Enoch in the Bible. (The Bible says that Enoch lived 365 years before he was taken by God, which some Christians interpret as Enoch entering heaven alive.)
â€œHe doesnâ€™t eat. Have you ever seen him eat the pounded yam he talks so much about?â€ the person argued.
â€œWhen I heard that,â€ said Adeboye, â€œI laughed. You think I donâ€™t eat? Invite me to your house, prepare some good pounded yam; get a very good combination of okro, make sure there is plenty of bush meat and chicken and fish and turkey. You wonâ€™t have to go to any church before you see the glory of God. Right there in your dining room, a mountain will become a valley.â€
Of course, evidence of his human nature is strewn all over the place. His birthplace in Ifewara, schools he attended, etc., are still there, so are many of his friends and associates.
His son, Dare Adeboye, who doubles as his personal assistant, was told by a newspaper how people believe that everything about Pastor Adeboye is spiritual, and was asked to give an insight into the non-spiritual aspect of his life.
He said: â€œMy father likes to fish, so every single house that weâ€™ve had on the camp has a fish pond behind it. It is very relaxing. He likes to go for walks. He likes train rides; thank God the railways are being developed back in Nigeria. But any time we are outside Nigeria, he prefers to go by train to most places, because you get to see the countryside and have a different view of life than just being in the car all the time. And we watch movies, but not corrupt ones. We watch Mount Zion movies too, but not necessarily hundred per cent Christian movies all the time, because we would be caging ourselves, and would not be engaging in the reality of what other people are experiencing.â€
Pastor Adeboye can never be caught ascribing achievements of the church or his personal achievements onto himself. He says that without God he is nothing.
At the book launch last year, he said: â€œI cannot say I have any ability or wisdom. Everything has been the Lord Himself. When I was about 40 and spotted grey hairs on my head, I wondered why and God said I was carrying a burden that was not mine.
â€œGod said, â€˜I am just using you as camouflage. People need to see someone. So, I am putting you forward so that I can do the work from behind.â€™ So, everything that is happening in RCCG, nothing is of Adeboye at all; it is all about God. So, how do you say you are writing a book about somebody that is nothing; someone who has almost zero beginning, from a poor family and who passed through secondary school by Godâ€™s grace?â€
â€“â€“ â€“â€“Daniels is a writer and Journalist writes from Lagos.