For Senior Pastor of Water Spring Christian Center, Lotun, United Kingdom, Pastor Steven Olayinka, his foray into the ministry has not been without its fair share of challenges-from surviving a near-death robbery in Lagos to battling an ‘insurance scam’ leveled against him. In this interview with Sunday Ehigiator, the clergy-cum-philanthropist revealed how his journey as a clergyman started
When did your ministry as a clergy start?
I have been in ministry for a long time. I grew up in Nigeria and all my life have always been in the ministry.
How about your academic background?
My first degree I read banking and finance until God called me after my degree so I had to proceed to Ambrose University in Canada where I had my Master of Art in Leadership and Ministry. So after that, the ministry started in 2013 and I have served in different ministry before that time, but Water Spring Christian Center started in 2013 and up till date the lord has been helping us.
How has the ministry been faring since 2013?
Very fine, our core value is to transform life and there have been lots of testimonies up till date. People have been touched, lives have been changed and the Lord had put us in the UK where people travel all over the world to come to the ministry, that’s what we are doing right now.
How was it, transitioning into ministry?
Well, you really have no choice when God is calling you; you have no choice because I was actually doing well in the bank. I had to resign from the bank before I traveled to Canada to attend seminary. Even when I finished seminary, I wasn’t really sure, I had to come back to Nigeria after finishing my course in Canada.
I came to Nigeria thinking I wanted to start a business, so I started oil and gas business and I was doing well. I had tankers and I was supplying many filling stations and I was making money, with people working for me.
But it came to a point, God started fighting me. Everywhere I go, they will tell me you have to work for God but one thing that made the turning moment in my life was one day, a prophet called me and said ‘this is going to be the last time I will be asking you to release yourself to the ministry’.
So, two days after I was about to change my mind, and I was driving along Ilupeju at Anthony, going to Gbagada, then armed robbers came and they just stepped out from motorcycles and came close to me without asking anything. One of the guys just shot me at a very close range.
At that point, I thought I was dead, but eventually by the time I regained my conscious, I saw the bullet in the car and I saw that the bullet had been deflected just through my pocket and the bullet dropped in the car. It has never happened. Even the police at that scene followed me to church for thanksgiving. They told me they don’t know what I have done for God to have spared my life, but this has never happened. I was actually going to church to meet my pastor then Dr. Imosewa. As I got to his office, he said, without me talking to him first, ‘God told me as you were coming in, I speared you because you are an instrument’.
And that was the turning moment, at that point I had no choice to go back to my calling and then I had to pray and asked God where he wants me to lead. He then said my ministry will be in the UK. That time I was settled in Nigeria doing well, so I had to move to UK, fortunately my wife lives in the UK, so I went to the UK, and that was how we started the business.
What has been your most challenging moment so far in the ministry?
Talking of challenging moments, there have been a lots of challenging moment in my life, but there’s one particular one which happened. I recall, a particular good friend of mine who was dying and then I prayed to God bitterly and the Lord said, Stephen his time has come and I am calling him home.
So I had to call his wife and I told his wife that God said he’s calling him home; imagine how his wife will react to that and few minutes later, he gave up the ghost. That’s one of the challenges because I love the man very well.
The other challenging moment happened in 2019, which I will never forget. I saw it as an attack over my ministry and this thing started from 2015 but didn’t materialise until 2019.
Every year, I come to Nigeria for a conference and then each time when am going back, I have three luggage worth over 30kg of print items, stationeries for the church. So at that point I was going back to the UK and then I got to the International Airport, I pulled my muscle.
When I got home the following day, I went to the hospital to complained to my doctor and then my doctor gave me pain killer and then two days after that time, the thing went of. That was in 2015. A month later, I was driving and I came out of the church in the evening, because then, I was still doing IT consulting job. Each time I leave the office, I go to the church as that’s my main calling.
But then, I had to provide for my family, because the church is not paying salary. Immediately, I drove out of the church, that very day, on a very narrow street, one guy was actually putting something in the car and he didn’t watch me coming, then, he opened the door of his car and that crushed my car, right from the bonnet up to the boot.
The car was insured, and we exchanged details, then I went to the police station, which they gave me police report and then based on the pain, which I sustained on my neck and on my back due to the accident, the police advised me to go to the hospital. So I went to the hospital, and complained to my doctor, he attended to me and gave me some pain killer as well, but it wasn’t responding so he actually recommended me based on the information I gave to him, he recommended me for a physiotherapy, which went on for about three months.
However, it came to a point where my physiotherapist wanted to inject me, then I suddenly realised that I was in the deliverance ministry, why do I want to go to this whole faithless journey. So I asked him to stop. He asked me if I don’t want to take the injection, I should go for exercise and I started praying. Eventually God healed me.
As at that point, living in the UK, I have an insurance on my car and when things like that happened it’s not your fault, definitely you have to report to the insurance company and then based on the insurance standard you have to make a claim.
So I spoke to the insurance lawyer and they actually made a claim, and put the claim in. As at that time, I had to resign from my IT job and started receiving treatment, but unfortunately for me the doctor that attended to me forgot to put it on his record that he was treating me as a result of the accident.
So in 2017, the insurance company requested for my medical details and then I gave them the permission to go to the NHS so that they can obtain the details as I have nothing to hide.
However, by the time they pulled out my records, that were when I realised that the doctor forgot to put in his narration that he was treating me because of the accident and even sent me for physiotherapy.
So knowing insurance company so well, as they are also looking for faults, in order not to pay, they picked that up and thought I was making a false claim. As it looked like they were treating me for the muscle injury I had when I returned from Nigeria in previous month and that escalated into something else.
And when they realised that I am a pastor, they starting blowing things out of proportion. Knowing my reputation was being brought into the picture, I had to tell them to stop the claims.
So the insurance company stopped the claim, but even though they have stopped the claims, they will not let me be. I stopped the claims without collecting a dime from them, and they will not let me be.
They took me to Magistrate court in Newton UK, and the case was dismissed about three times, still, they will not let me be. At some point, they took me again to the High Court in London that was in 2019, and they were claiming the sum of 31,000 pounds from me; and this was a case I did not collect a dime from them.
It was a whole lot of struggle because it looks like they wanted to spoil my image. And as a pastor over there, people just don’t want to know the truth, the moment they paint a pastor as fraudulent, they take it for it. They wanted to put me in jail but weren’t able to, because the judge looking at the case, actually told me that he has seen my records and saw I was a community leader, and have never had any problem.
But at some point, my lawyer had to agree with them, when they promised to remove the case from the court, but deceived us to plead guilty in return. But unfortunately, it was a trick; it was after my lawyer made me to sign guilty, that they now proceeded.
How has life been afterwards?
Well, after then, nothing has changed about me. I have put that all behind me and I am still in the ministry doing well.
A lot has been said about the COVID-19 pandemic, especially by popular men of God, what would you have to say about it?
If you look at the world, people have shifted from the way of God. People have shifted their attention away from God. God is not happy with us. I believed that what is happening, God want to show us that he’s still God. Remember what happened to the Egyptians that God was sending some form of plagues to destroy them when they did not want the Israelites to leave the Egypt.
This is just a sign that God of the old is still the God of present, so He can still do something about that. God just wanted us to know that He’s still in control that if He wants to wipe off this whole world, it won’t cost Him anything. But when I prayed, I realised that this pandemic will go very soon. It is going to go very soon, it’s just to shake the world to know that He’s not respecting everybody; ministers, celebrities all of them they are being tested positive. He is not a respecter of anybody,
Who is Pastor Stephen outside church?
Well, I am a loving husband and a good father. The number one ministry is my family. I love them, I love my wife. I am a family man. I love my family so much. When I am not in church, I am a loving caring father to my children and husband to my wife.