Dr William Folorunso Kumuyi speaks about his background, how the Deeper Life Bible Church came into being, and what the future holds for the entire ministry. "There are no theatrics in our church," he says, "because from my background, I don't like anything that is turned into a show or drama. Some pastors like the drama rather than the results. I want the results rather than the drama. I have also looked at the ministry of Jesus Christ, and I want as much as possible to follow the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. So in the relationship and interaction with people, and the life I live, I want it to be the life of Christ. I want the Jesus type of ministry. I don't want anything fake." Baffour Ankomah went to interview him in Lagos. Excerpts:
Baffour We know that you come from a mathematics and science background, and you were once a maths lecturer at the University of Lagos. You, in fact, gave up your job in 1983 to concentrate on the church. We also know that you were born in 1941. But many people don't know where you were born. Which part of Nigeria do you come from?
Kumuyi Nigeria is divided into 36 states, and one of them--in the southwest--is called Osun State. And in Osun State, there is a major town called Ilesha. A few kilometres from Ilesha is Erin-Ijesha. That is where I was born on 6 June 1941.
Baffour Who, and what, were your parents?
Kumuyi My father was called Gabriel Kumuyi Akinfenwa. Kumuyi was his real name and Akinfenwa was his family name. But when he sent me to school, he used Kumuyi as my surname. My mother was called Comfort Kumuyi. They are both dead now. My father died as far back as 1967, the year I completed my first degree at the University of Ibadan. My mother died in the 1990s at the age of 85 or thereabouts.
Baffour African names have meanings. What does Kumuyi mean?
Kumuyi The full name is Ikumuyiwa, which means "death brought this". After I became a Christian, I realised it was the death of Christ that has brought us salvation, and also the redemption and reconciliation we have with God. So, for me, the name, Ikumuyiwa, is very significant--death has brought something good. The death of Christ has brought us the grace and goodness of God, and the relationship we have now with the Lord.
Baffour Even your name is tied up with your work?
Kumuyi Yes. By the way, my first name, William, means "defender of the faith", and my middle name, Folorunso, puts me in the hands of God, it means "God watches over this one". And when you think of the gospel being really the death of Christ bringing our redemption, it means that death has brought us blessings. And now, by my first name William, I am a "defender of the faith". And while I am defending the faith, which means the death of Christ has brought us blessings and redemption, God will keep on watching over me.
Baffour It looks like there is some destiny in all this?
Kumuyi I think so. I began to notice it myself when I became a born-again Christian. My father was an Anglican, and one of their normal practices was infant baptism. But I wasn't too young when I was baptised and given a Christian name. Before the event, I had arranged with my father that my Christian name would be Johnson, because there was a man by that name in our community whom I admired--the way he carried himself, his lifestyle and everything. So I wanted to have his name. My father agreed with the priest that my name would be Johnson. But when we got there, just at the very moment that I was to be baptised, they changed their mind and gave me the name, William. I didn't like it at the time. It was much later that an American evangelist, preaching in Singapore, asked me: "You are William?" I said "Yes". "Do you know the meaning of William?". I said "No". He said: "It means the defender of the faith." It was then that I saw the destiny and the way the Lord had orchestrated everything. …