In 1996, Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel, extended its tentacles to Ghana, and in less than ten years, the church had 14 branches. For effective administration of the church that has parishes and branches spread across Nigeria, West Africa, and the rest of the world, Bishop David Oyedepo saw the need for an organizational structure for effective administration and supervision of the parishes spread across the world.
In 1999, Oyedepo consecrated seven bishops to oversee seven dioceses of the church. One of the bishops consecrated was Bishop George Adjeman, who in 2002 was transferred to Ghana to oversee the parishes in the West African country. By 2004, the relationship between the Nigerian headquarters of the church and Bishop Adjeman had become strained. Adjeman staked a takeover of the Ghanaian branch of Winners Chapel after an attempt to transfer him back to Winners Chapel in Ibadan. According to those familiar with the controversy, Bishop Adjeman’s halting of the monthly remittance of church income to the Nigerian headquarters was the reason for the move to transfer him out of Ghana.
He would then play a fast one on the church by registering the Ghana branch as Winners Chapel Ghana in his own name without informing the Nigerian church of the directive by the Ghana government for compulsory registration of all churches in the country. His refusal to honour his transfer to Ibadan eventually led to his being sacked by Winners Chapel International.
In the heat of the crisis, the Ghanaian Pentecostal Fellowship (GPF) ordered Adjeman to vacate the premises of Winners Chapel since the building originally belonged to the Nigerian church. The back and forth of the ownership of Winners Chapel became a subject of litigation.
In 2017, Bishop Adjeman got a favourable court judgement that held that Bishop David Oyedepo’s church was not duly registered in Ghana as expected by the Companies Act, 1963, and as such, the Bishop or his church had no legal basis to operate a church or any other business in Ghana. Three years later, Oyedepo-led Winners Chapel won back the ownership of the church. The Ghanaian Appeal Court returned the building and all its associated assets to Oyedepo.
The appeal court ruled that all properties in the possession of the Adjeman-led Winners’ Chapel, Ghana, be returned to the Oyedepo-led Church. The court also ruled that the Oyedepo-ledWinners’ Chapel has exclusive use of the name “Winners’ Chapel.”
The act of rebellion causes disunity and eventual disintegration if not properly handled with the help of the Holy Spirit. What the devil does with this machination is to distract the church from carrying out the Great Commission while the energy needed to spread the gospel is dissipated in infighting, legal battles, and media tantrums. The devil’s major weapon against man is rebellion. No wonder he persuaded Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that if they ate the fruit, they would become like God (Gen. 3:1–5). He was chased and banished from heaven after he led a rebellion against God the Most High. Isaiah 14:15, Ezekiel 28:16-17.
To therefore curb rebellious acts in the fold, it is expedient that church leaders operate a truly Christ-like leadership. Church leaders should be open for discussion with their subordinates. Grievances expressed by subordinates should be handled with wisdom while elders in the church are in the know to provide advice.
Church leaders should not be too spiritual to lose sight of rebellious acts brewing in the fold. However, a leader must not be too quick to judge a case as a rebellion. Rather, it must be isolated and critically reviewed beyond reasonable doubt to be sure it is not a play out of immaturity, accident, or overzealousness. Misinterpreting any of these as an act of rebellion would escalate the whole issue.
When a case of rebellion has been established, the church leader should meet with the personality involved on a one-on-one basis. It must be noted that no matter what is said about the leader, he must adopt the gentility of a dove and ensure that he is not hurt and continue to relate with the follower throughout the interaction with love.
The rebellious person should then be advised to recuse himself from all his responsibilities in the church. This is important in order to stop the act from spreading and for the survival of the church. The rebellious person should then be encouraged to find another church if he would be hurt by the withdrawal of his responsibilities to the church. It is critical that he left rather than stayed in the mission, as this could result in gossip and rumors about what happened.
Above all, the church leader should be ready to continually play the role of a leader even when a rebellious follower has departed. He should be willing to give advice, pray and lead the rebellious follower to repentance.