Magazine article New African

'The Church Has Touched So Many Lives': "I Have Just Seen Somebody Who Teaches the Bible as If He Was There When It Was Written"

Magazine article New African

'The Church Has Touched So Many Lives': "I Have Just Seen Somebody Who Teaches the Bible as If He Was There When It Was Written"

Article excerpt

The Deeper Life Bible Church--amongst the largest churches in the world, according to independent statistics--is the flagship organisation of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry which has its headquarters at Gbagada, Lagos, Nigeria. The church has more than one million members in 60 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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It is often likened to an "octopus in its operational make-up". Its arms cover far and wide, and unlike other churches of its kind, Deeper Life has an impressive organisational and administrative structure headed by the General Superintendent, Pastor William. F. Kumuyi.

Under him, on the next rung of the church hierarchy, come the church secretary, national overseers, state overseers, women's director, head of missions, national coordinator (for Nigeria), head of the International Bible Training Centre (IBTC), and head of Para-Church Units (consisting of Life Press, Life Tapes, Life Farms).

While the IBTC looks after the training of new pastors and church leaders, the church's main operations are done through the following units:

* Men's Fellowship

* Deeper Life Campus Fellowship

* Deeper Life Students Outreach

* Youth Ministry

* Children's Ministry

* Women's Ministry

* Prisons Outreach

* Forces Ministry

* Hospital Fellowship

* House Caring Fellowship

The other para-church units--Life Press Ltd, Life Tapes Ltd, Life Farms, Women Mirror Department, Deeper Life Schools Network (consisting of private schools founded by Deeper Life members, particularly in Ghana)--exist to help in the execution of the "Great Commission" or the spreading of the gospel. And nothing is left to chance. The church's saturation coverage of matters spiritual and temporal will impress any military strategist. From the bottom up, you find the House Caring Fellowships (HCF). These are micro units of not more than 15 members at the grassroots level who meet regularly to take care of the spiritual and material needs of members.

When the unit exceeds 15 members in a given location, the HCF is split to keep the number to less than 15. The idea is to keep it so small and tightly knit that every member's spiritual and material needs can be catered for.

The HCFs come together to form the next rung on the ladder--the Zones. Headed by zonal leaders and women's representatives, the zones or a number of them make up a District (headed by district coordinators). In the cities, a number of districts make up a Group (led by Group coordinators). Rural areas, districts and Local Government Areas, headed by District and LGA pastors, make up a Region (led by a Regional Overseer). The Regions come together to form the National units (headed by the national overseer)

This organisational structure makes sure that no member is left behind in the spiritual growth of the church itself and the individuals in it.

The structure is founded on the concept of self-sufficiency for every church location. Each church raises its own funds and spends it on projects and programmes geared towards the pursuit of the Great Commission. Projects and programmes are, however, chosen in consultation with the district, regional or national headquarters. Bigger national projects must receive the approval of the worldwide headquarters in Lagos.

A new church location normally receives financial help from the regional or national headquarters until it is able to stand on its own feet. When it is self-sufficient, it sends regular contributions to the national kitty as a rule, which is audited at the end of the year.

The nations send financial contributions to the worldwide headquarters only if there are special projects happening there, such as the building of the ultramodern headquarters church currently underway at Gbagada, Lagos.

Otherwise, funds raised in any particular country are spent on projects and programmes in that country. …

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