Magazine article New African

Kumuyi: Tomorrow Belongs to Africa; "When We Talk about Accountability, It's Equally Important to Emphasise That a Leader, like Every Other Human Being, Has a Soft Spot ... We Have to Encourage One Another-From Leaders to the Subordinates. Generally, I Prefer 'What Do I Do? How Do I Start Contributing to African Development?' We Don't Have to Criticise All the Time."

Magazine article New African

Kumuyi: Tomorrow Belongs to Africa; "When We Talk about Accountability, It's Equally Important to Emphasise That a Leader, like Every Other Human Being, Has a Soft Spot ... We Have to Encourage One Another-From Leaders to the Subordinates. Generally, I Prefer 'What Do I Do? How Do I Start Contributing to African Development?' We Don't Have to Criticise All the Time."

Article excerpt

Dr William Folorunso Kumuyi, the general superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry Worldwide (DCLM), is a Nigerian preacher renowned for his uncommon interest in the pulpit at an early age. A holder of a first class honours degree in mathematics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Dr Kumuyi's academic excellence took him to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) as a mathematics lecturer on completion of his postgraduate studies in the early 1970s. "But God," he says, "had a different assignment for me."

When he converted his official flat at UNILAG into a mini preaching ground, neighbours and the university authorities did not take kindly to it. At the time, he had a "Bible Study" group of 15 people. By 1983, when he resigned his teaching post, the "Bible Study" group had grown into a fully-fledged church of 3,500 people, called the Deeper Life Bible Church (DLBC). The rest is now history!

Today, in the city of Lagos alone, the church has over 120,000 members (and close to one million throughout Nigeria). The worldwide headquarters of the church is at Gbagada, Lagos, where a new structure to hold 30,000 people is being constructed. In the mid-80s, Peter Wagner, the American theologian and professor of "Church Growth", in his research, ranked the Deeper Christian Life Ministry as "the third largest single congregation" in the world.

In 1992 the church was recognised as the "single largest church in Africa". Currently it has 6,000 branches across the 36 states of Nigeria. It also operates in 40 African countries and in several Caribbean states. In Europe, it has branches in 12 countries (with the UK as the headquarters), and also in the USA and Canada. Now an accomplished preacher, Dr Kumuyi, always with a smile on his face, counts the membership of his church in millions and ascribes the rapid growth of the ministry to his mentor, the American evangelist, A.B Simpson, another great preacher whose pattern of Christian leadership inspired Kumuyi to become what he is today.

Kumuyi also speaks highly of his dedicated pastors and the entire DCLM members. Riches, he says, belong to those who hold God accountable for their daily needs--through good work, trust, obedience and service to God's Kingdom. Our associate editor, Mercy Eze, interviewed him for New African.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

New African: Nearly three decades after you decided to sacrifice your lectureship for the pulpit, how has the journey been so far?

William F. Kumuyi: There are key things to thank God for: many lives that have been touched, testimonies from broken homes turned around positively, many souls that have been harvested to the kingdom, playing a role model to many doctors, engineers, academics and a host of other professionals who switched their original vocations to tread the gospel path. Also, different countries that have been touched with the message of hope. The church believes in sowing seeds, hence, we have sent many missionaries to every nation in sub-Saharan Africa and across the world.

NA: Initially, it was only few of you in Africa championing the cause of new generation churches. But the last 10 years have seen many warehouses turned into churches. What changed the face of Christendom as radically as we see it today?

Kumuyi: We can take it as the expansion of the kingdom of God. However, as with doctors, among other professionals, you are bound to find quack ones. In the case of churches, we thank God for those who are serving the interest of God and humanity. Rather than restricting the liberty of everyone, it is better to leave the door open.

NA: You are credited as one of the religious leaders, who, when they speak, government officials listen. During your audiences with world leaders, does the word accountability feature?

Kumuyi: Yes, I have had the opportunity of meeting quite a good number of world leaders and government officials, mostly in Africa. …

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