…25 MINUTES WITH GOD’S SERVANT BISHOP DAVID ABIOYE
A few days ago, Bishop David Abioye, First Vice President of the Living Faith Church Worldwide clocked 60. Shortly before the date, Church Gist requested for an interview and due to the Bishop’s busy schedule, a date and time slot (5 minutes) was secured a few days after the celebrations.
Church Gist brings to her readers its first interview in 2021, ‘Twenty Five Minutes with Bishop David Abioye’.
Sir, we heard you were born in Ghana, can you tell us about it?
(Smiles) You should have asked those who were involved….
In those days, Ghana was a major hub of trade in Africa, at that time it was called the Gold Coast, they had plenty of gold and good relationship with Nigeria and other West African Nations. Their leadership then had a common drive, leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Awolowo and other leaders. A lot Nigerians moved to Ghana for one business or the other. My late dad in pursuit of a better life adventurously left home. That was how the journey came to be.
Sir, you grew up in the Baptist Church, what are the things you took along to Living Faith Church from your Baptist experience?
Let me begin from a broader note to a narrower position. If we segment the status of Churches, we have the Orthodox, Catholics, Anglican and several other churches. We have the Reformed, the Evangelicals who are the indigenous missionaries like ECWA, Baptist, in the North we have the Church of the Brethren or EYN(Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria),
They raised indigenous missionaries to spread the Gospel, they teach a lot on Christian character that is why when I was in Baptist, they had several doctrines. Thereafter, we had the Pentecostals rising in the late 70s to 80s.
Baptist has a lot of deep roots teachings, principles, relationships of good conscience with your fellow humans, sincerity and all of the virtues that makes for a good character.
What is your advice to Young Pastors In this Social Media era?
One thing is our world keeps changing, some may call it modernization or civilization. The rate of civilization today is far more rapid than it used to be. The rate of change is very rapid these days but the issue is that every civilization comes to enlighten people to move forward but they all have their negative effects. The inventors may have good intentions but the users are the issue. Every invention is innocent but the users…they vary; that is why we have cyber crimes and all kinds of stories. There is nothing bad in social media generally but the users, the applications and the operators. We all make use of social media but we streamline the use of it, we checkmate ourselves to make sure that we maintain ourselves.
Social media is made for man, man is not made for social media. Most people don’t have control and the whole system is so connected that from one trend you are in the wave and they will keep linking you to various issues so if you are not careful you will just get carried away. Now reports show that the Church in South Korea is suffering because you find young people touching their phones in church while service is on, they can go and stay there pressing their phones while service ends and they are not aware.
There is a need for caution especially for the young people. A lot of people have become enslaved by social media and they have lost their sense of reasoning because the system will give you an impression that they are thinking for you while in real sense nobody can think for you. You have to sit down and sort out your life. The use of this system (points to his phone) calls for discipline. Today we have pastors carrying the system (gadgets) to the Church, some even to the altar and they will be answering calls and a lot of those things can grieve the Holy Spirit. There has to be moderation and that moderation answers to discipline. You have to tell people to discipline themselves.
Sir, how did you meet Mummy Abioye?
(Laughs)…. People who have common interest. We always encourage people to meet themselves in the Church so that they can have common platforms, common interest and see things from common views. That is why a believer cannot be with an unbeliever not just people of the same church but of the same zeal, interests and fear of God. The idea is that we have plenty things in common so that when there is an issue you can find platforms for resolving them calmly. One thing I appreciate God for my wife is the extreme zeal for the Lord, fear of God and dedication. We have common interests, not somebody who you will say let’s go for Evangelism and she will say ‘what Evangelism’? or you say let’s pray and she will say ‘what prayer’ or somebody that you will say let’s study the Bible and she will say ‘no what bible’, so, such an eager person and zealous person, with dedication and sacrifice after which she must be ready to follow her husband as it is stated in the scriptures ‘wife should obey the husband’ and both of them are two in one. We met in a common fellowship… that is the summary.
You once said the first time you met God’s Servant Bishop David Oyedepo, he asked you to pray and you said No. At that point, you were the head of a fellowship while he was the head of the Joint Campus Fellowship (cuts in…)
No no….I have not been a leader of a fellowship until recently, he was the leader, I wasn’t the leader because he has the characteristic to help people by giving them the opportunity. So, it was not a refusal of rejection, but a refusal because of my feeling of incompetence. Having seeing the kind of person that he is, he always wants people to improve, I felt like there is somebody far ahead of me who can do it, it was on that basis …and by my nature I have never liked to be seen in the front of projects, I always loved hiding in the corner and rendering service to people but suddenly I discovered that it is something I can’t escape. That was why I refused ; it was like a fear of incompetence.
You became a bishop at the age of 32, how were you able to handle such office at that age?
The subject I have found missing a lot among many people is the subject of human relations. Human relations is the circle of administration, age can never be a barrier if you know how to relate. If you master human relationship it will attract people a lot. Among this human relationship is, respect for the older people, give them their due honour, respect people in spite of who they are. I do a lot of study on people, it is an area that God has given me some grace. I study people, I study difficult people and I study easy people to pick lessons from them and also know the meeting point. I don’t group people together because people are different and their difference is what makes it exciting if people are not different you will not need human relations. It is very important and age is no barrier if you know how to relate well. If you relate well with people, people will give you their confidence.
What has sustained your relationship with Bishop David Oyedepo all these years?
In the first place, it is not a desired relationship but a designed relationship. I didn’t look for it, God made it. It is a designed relationship, I didn’t seek for it, God made it. That is why it has been sustained. I use to tell people that as his office is…before someone will reach that office, the person would have called the office so, he operates in strange manners in the prophetic, that except you are assigned to work with him, you cannot enjoy him that is why many who look for it end up getting offended. I have stuck to him because simply put it is God’s doing.