After over 35 years of dedicated service as founder and General Overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide, he can still preach in 10 services [on a single day] and does it with such ease.
“I have many more years before I go,” he said, early this year addressing media rumors that he had been planning to step down from full time ministry.
This is exactly how he planned it to be – turned his back on his College Degree in Architecture in 1981 and chose to become an ordinary preacher. Today, he is one of Nigeria’s most powerful men and his name’s David Oyedepo.
As a matter of fact, Dr. Oyedepo is reputed to be the wealthiest clergyman in world.
According to Forbes Magazine, he’s believed to have a total net worth of $150 million and an array of properties including 4 private jets and homes in the United States and England.
After the foundation of the Living Faith Outreach Ministry in 1981, it has evolved to be one of the largest congregations in Africa and has a thriving mission in Nairobi Kenya and elsewhere.
Early In Dr. Oyedepo’s Life
On September 27, 1954 David Olaniyi Oyedepo was born in Osogbo, Nigeria. He is a native of Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria. He was raised in a mixed religious family. His father, Ibrahim, was a Muslim healer.
His mother, Dorcas, was a member of the Eternal Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement [C&S], a branch of the Aladura movement in Nigeria.
He was raised by his grandmother in Osogbo, who introduced him to the virtues of Christian life via early morning prayers which she attended with him. She also taught him the importance of tithing.
Oyedepo was ‘born again’ in 1969, through the influence of his teacher, Betty Lasher, who took special interest in him during his high school days. He studied architecture at the former Kwara State Polytechnic, now Kwara State University and worked briefly with the Federal Ministry of Housing in Ilorin before resigning to concentrate on missionary work. Oyedepo received a PhD in Human Development from Honolulu University, Hawaii, United States.
In 1982, he married Florence Abiola Akano [now known as Faith]. They have four children together [David Jr, Isaac, Love and Joyce]. David Jr. and Isaac Oyedepo were ordained as Pastors in May 2007 by Kenneth Copeland. David Jr. pastored the London Branch of the Church with His wife, Kemi [before they became the resident pastors of the Faith Tabernacle with unfounded rumours that the older Oyedepo had retired]. Meanwhile Isaac Oyedepo is the present Resident Pastor of Winners’ Chapel International, South Africa.
Oyedepo claimed to have received a mandate from God through an 18-hour vision in May 1981, to liberate the world from all oppression of the devil through the preaching of the word of faith.
This is the inaugural vision that led to the founding of the Living Faith Church World Wide (LFCWW), which was first called Liberation Faith Hour Ministries, in 1981.
Two years later, on September 17, 1983, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, ordained David and his wife, Florence Abiola Akano [known as Faith Abiola Oyedepo] to become pastors and officially commissioned the new church.
Five years later, Oyedepo was ordained as Bishop. Living Faith Church [AKA Winners Chapel] started in Kaduna but moved to Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria in July 1989, to start a new branch of the church after Oyedepo claimed to have received instructions from God to reach out to the people of Lagos.
Oyedepo is an author and publisher who have written over 70 titles apart from periodicals. He is the Chairman/Publisher of Dominion Publishing House (DPH), a publishing arm of the ministry. DPH has over 4 million prints in circulation to date.
Through Oyedepo Covenant University, Faith Academy and Kingdom Heritage Schools, he has equipped the youth for global impact. The construction of a third university named Crown University is already underway, located in Calabar, Cross Rivers, Nigeria.
Largest Church Auditorium In The World
Bishop Oyedepo claims that in 1998, he was instructed by God to build a new base for the Commission to accommodate the increasing number of worshippers. This resulted in Bishop Oyedepo church’s acquisition of the initial 530-acre facility, known as Canaanland, which serves as the headquarters.
It is the home of the 50,000-seat capacity auditorium, the ‘Faith Tabernacle’, which is reputed to be the largest church auditorium in the world. This was an accomplishment also recorded by the Guinness Book of Records.
Faith Tabernacle was reported as the Worlds’ Largest Church Auditorium in December 2005. Construction was completed within 12 months.
Reports also claimed that this building was built debt free. This 50,000-seat edifice was dedicated on September 18, 1999 under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. It covers about 70 acres (280,000 m2) and is built inside an over 17,000-acre (69 km2) church complex called Canaanland.
Canaanland is in Ota, Ogun state and is the 5,000-acre estate and campus, that houses the 50,000 Church Building, the church secretariat, the church’s youth chapel, a primary school called Kingdom heritage model school, a full boarding mission secondary school called Faith Academy, with over 1,500 students and the Covenant University facilities, which accommodates over 7,000 students, fully resident in ultra-modern hostel facilities, with fully equipped faculty buildings and numerous staff housing facilities.
Canaanland campus also has for profit establishments operated by the church such as a bakery, a bottled water processing plant, a petrol station, various restaurants and shopping stores, several residential houses that provide for the over 2,000 church employees, and guest houses.
Four banks are also present on this Estate, three of which are branches of external commercial banks and one which is a community and micro-finance Bank and operated by the Church. The whole of Canaanland which included a proposed 15,000 housing estate known as Canaan City had increased to 17,000 acres as at 2012.
The teachings of Oyedepo have put him in the category of what is commonly called the Word of Faith Movement. He has referred to principal exponents of the Faith Movement such as Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, the late Kenneth Hagin, E. W. Kenyon, T. L. Osborn, Smith Wigglesworth as well as renowned Nigerian preachers Enoch Adeboye and the late Benson Idahosa as mentors.
His Winners Chapel operates a Bible training program known as Word of Faith Bible Institute for members and non-members alike to develop knowledge of Christian principles and to develop leaders and future pastors. This institute is run in major branches of the Church.
Oyedepo is the President of David Oyedepo Ministries International [DOMI]. DOMI is the umbrella organization comprising Living Faith Church World Wide, [a global network of churches], World Mission Agency [WMA]; the global missionary arm of the church’s operations, Dominion Publishing House; the publishing arm of the church, Covenant University, and the Social Development Missions projects made up of hospitals, maternity homes, schools, etc.
Oyedepo has criticized corruption in Africa as a whole and poor leadership in government.
Towards the end of 2015, Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church reportedly presented a project of a stadium-like 100,000 capacity auditorium that would also include entertainment section.
According to a promo video that was unveiled in 2015, on Saturday, December 12, there would be a sanctuary of worship as well as a large shopping mall, food court and other businesses.
The stadium-like auditorium would also include a children’s church of David Oyedepo that can accommodate 10,000 kids.
There was then no info about how much money was about to be invested into the auditorium. What’s for sure is that it’d be another world record, and a suggestion that God takes care of you quite generously, when you do God’s business.