Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, RCCG General Overseer

Anybody who saw Pastor Enoch Adeboye minister at the special encounter night of the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, would have seen a man with a deep burden for people.

That night, Daddy G.O., as he is fondly called, poured his heart into his message. His words cut through the crowd. His passion was evident. It was contagious. He displayed the heart of a shepherd.

Pastor Adeboye did not just start showing this kind of temperament. Right from his early years in ministry, he has always wanted to be a minister with a message of deliverance and hope.  He has on some occasions recounted stories of how he sought the face of God, asking for empowerment for the work of the ministry.

For him, ministry without power is synonymous with a tasteless soup. And the Bible indeed makes us understand that without signs and wonders, the people will not believe.

For Adeboye, the power of God has to be now. God has to manifest His glory, or we should all go home to do other things. This desire has seen him go on endless days of waiting on the Lord. His one prayer point is: Lord, empower me to be a blessing to this generation.

Year in, year out, for over 40 years now, Pastor Adeboye has continuously demonstrated that God is alive in our time and indeed ready to bless his people. It was this single passion to see God’s people blessed that informed the monthly Holy Ghost night of the RCCG.

How did it happen? Adeboye was preparing for his birthday. And God had curiously asked him what he wanted as a birthday present. That was an open cheque.

He responded in no time, “Lord, I want a miracle for every member of the Church.” God asked if that was all he wanted and he answered in the affirmative. The Lord then told him to gather every member of the church under one roof for a programme. That was how Holy Ghost Night started in 1986. He was just 44 years old then.

Today, Pastor Adeboye is 82 and he has been a regular face at the Holy Ghost night ever since.

The service is being replicated in many parts of the world while the Nigerian chapter is gradually being decentralized as it now holds in the North and East for people who may not be able to travel down to Ogun State where it is held monthly. 

L-R: Pastor & Pastor (Mrs.) E. A. Adeboye

The Holy Ghost service is thus a reflection of the heart of Pastor Adeboye. He wants the best for his people. He wants comfort for them both on earth and in eternity. The well-being of the flock seems to be his heart cry.

The desire to see miracles happen in the lives of people has informed many of his other pursuits. From the monthly Holy Ghost night, the church moved on to having a yearly Holy Ghost Congress. This is apart from the church’s yearly convention. So, it’s a miracle festival all year round.

Beyond the miracle, however, the footprints of Pastor Adeboye seem to be so much ingrained in the consciousness of many who know him. It seems for many generations to come, the name will continue to ring and he would be known for many giant strides and impact.

Many will no doubt remember him for many things. But what stands out for a vast majority of people is his penchant for the word, “Halleluyah”.

Let Somebody Shout “Hallelujah!!!”

Call it Adeboye’s signature tune and you will be correct. It seems to be the energy line that keeps him going whenever he mounts the pulpit. By the time he utters those words to the teeming crowd of people, it seems his strength is revived and his listeners are emboldened more. It is a needed tonic for the ministration of the day.

There is hardly any time he preaches that he does not make a demand on his listeners to shout hallelujah. Many of the songs that he composed are filled with the hallelujah lines. Indeed, there were times when the word hallelujah had formed the fulcrum of the church’s yearly convention. This man, Adeboye, is in love with “Halleluyah” which simply means ‘Praise the Lord’. It goes to show that his life is a perpetual testimony of praise.

Humility

Beyond a heart that is concerned for the flock under his care, is a visage that is covered in humility. He hardly raises his voice. His disposition is gentle. This is one physical feature about him that strikes and resonates with many. “He is no doubt a humble servant of God,” many would say.

It is this humble disposition that made him shun all academic laurels and made him settle for just the pastor title. At one point, as a young pastor, he told the story of how he had a table emblem with his name and the title Rev Dr. Of course, he has a PhD in Hydrodynamics. But he soon got a caution from the Lord to remove the Dr. tag.

RCCG Redemption City Of God, Old Auditorium

God had also warned him that if he messed up, he would be wiped off the face of the earth without a trace that he ever existed. All these experiences put together make Pastor Adeboye a unique servant of God. He would not trade his humility for anything. He would rather hold on to his pastor title than embrace any other title that would throw him up to the face of the world. And this is not to say that carrying titles is a sign of pride. It is just that for him, those titles don’t sit well. The beauty of it is that he has not for once publicly condemned those who carry big titles.

His Leadership

Leading The Redeemed Christian Church of God is as good as leading a country. It is indeed a country inside a country. Pastor Adeboye over the years has steered the ship of the Church and has successfully led some to the shores of their destinies. Just like Moses who took to the advice of his father-in-law, Adeboye seems to have evolved a management strategy that is unique to the RCCG. The church seems to run a seamless leadership structure from top to bottom.

But there is a growing fear that after Pastor Adeboye, succession will be a huge problem. That remains an issue that is up for debate. But what is seen in the hierarchy of the church is the deliberate injection of young people into strategic places in the church. Adeboye himself ensures young people are given the opportunity to minister in large gatherings and he takes time to assess them.

For Adeboye also, it is leadership by example. Rather than break his neck asking a subordinate to carry out certain tasks, he would rather do those things. But for his age and the fact that people will not allow him, Adeboye would not mind cleaning the toilet and sweeping the convention ground as he used to do in his younger years in ministry.

The Redemption City

There seems to be no impossibility in his dictionary. Many thought he was out of his mind when he decided to move to the then-forest, now known as Redemption City. It was a thick forest inhabited by wild animals. But that was where Adeboye and his young family decided to live. That forest has today turned into a fortress where people are yearning to take refuge.

Today, one can safely say that it was the sacrifice of Pastor Adeboye and indeed many early members of the RCCG, that gave birth to the precious gift of Redemption City.

Gradually but surely, the place is attaining the status of a Vatican City. It is a government of its own. Before the Redeemers University was moved out of the place, a child could grow up in the camp and have nothing to do with the outside world until after a university degree. And if the child so desires to continue to reside in the city, job opportunities are there for grabs.

That tells the kind of facility on the ground. Many generations yet unborn will come to savour the tales about the city. They will hear stories of how God used a man to organise monthly Holy Ghost meetings, congresses, and the yearly conventions without visible hitches.

Perhaps many have not considered how God has been gracious to participants in the regular programmes being held at the camp ground. Thousands come together and yet, we have not heard stories of untoward incidents claiming lives and making the place a dread.

It is simply the hand of God at work. Many things are rolled into one in the Camp. The tent of gathering, the Television station, the banks, the schools, the playground, the market, the guest houses, and many more.

So far, about four different tents of gathering have been erected. The present one is 3 kilometres by 3 kilometres. There are luscious accommodations and places of interest around the city. It is simply God’s city.

Sacrifice

Chief among the things that have become synonymous with Pastor Adeboye is his sacrifice and readiness to give all for the sake of the gospel. How does one explain a man who with so much education would prefer to abandon all that to an uncertain world of pulpit ministry?

In his time, there was no visible glamour around being a pastor. It was a call to serve and not a call to be served. Unlike now when pulpit ministry is attractive, it was not so when Pastor Adeboye accepted the call. He once said the entire annual income of the church was not up to his one-month salary as a lecturer.

Yet, he left all the glamour and prospects in the academic world to embrace the cross. It is one sacrifice too many. But what can be too much for God? Nothing.

He moved from living in a duplex to a small apartment in Mushin, a notorious ghetto area of Lagos. He gave his all: his certificate, his money, his prestige and his position. He surrendered all at the feet of the master. The sacrifice for the work of the ministry has not stopped.

His Acceptance

In the history of Nigeria, Pastor Adeboye stands as one man of God who seems to be accepted by all. People of other faiths don’t have issues with him. Even when he sometimes says things they don’t agree with, they still defer to him. This is largely because he has over time lived responsibly and respectfully. It is in honour of this acceptance that he has refused to join in the political fray. He would not canvass for any politician no matter how close the person is to him. He even said during one of his ministrations that he does not vote. Is that a plus for him? Well, for him, it is a way of saying, I belong to all and belong to none. He would rather stay in the middle.

He has come to be respected for this. This acceptance has also earned him global recognition. In 2015, he was named one of the 50 most influential people on earth by the International This Week Magazine. His global acceptance could not have been better.

Pastor E. A. Adeboye

His Controversies

Pastor Adeboye has his fair share of controversies. He has got many of them. Some of the controversies emanate from his messages and from some of his interviews. Many wait in the wings to pin him for what he says and would gladly take him to Golgotha. But mum is usually the response from his end.

Years ago, the controversial statement No Tithe No Heaven unsettled not a few. Many were simply taken aback by that declaration. Could it be that tithe has now replaced the sacrifice of Jesus or that not paying tithe is synonymous with being a thief and no thief would inherit God’s kingdom? But then, the issue seems to be neither here nor there as the Church as a whole is divided on the issue of tithe. The controversy will continue to rage.

Pastor Adeboye has also been taken up on the prayer he made to his listeners telling them their colleagues will start asking them for food. The internet simply went abuzz with the prayers and was followed with vitriols. Many were wondering if he wished them well. One thing stands out, however. He is a lover of people and he would not wish anybody evil.

People have also wondered when he claimed he drank tea with God. But what is still much of a hyperbole is his declaration that he would not leave the face of the earth until Redemption City is the size of Ibadan. Can that even be a reality?

It is simply something beyond human comprehension. One can only but pray for this servant of God as he itches to eternity with God.

Indeed, by the time he must have lived out his life, the inhabitants of this planet would say, surely, a man did pass through this path. His footprints will be too glaring for all to see.

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