On Thursday, 30th July 2020 at 2.00 pm, a popular man of God, Pastor Victor Adeyemi was the Special Guest on City People TV Instagram Live Chat. He is the Senior Pastor at Global Harvest Churches, with more than 20 branches in Nigeria, with headquarters in Ibadan. He and his lovely wife run the Victor Adeyemi Ministries (VAM), the outreach arm of Pastors Victor and Jumoke Adeyemi and consequently, Global Harvest Churches involved with organizing conferences, crusades, community services and charity initiatives globally.
Also major in Victor Adeyemi ministry’s mandate is the publishing and printing of Christian books and inspirational literature and also the provision of quality Christian media programs and broadcasting of the same throughout the world.
Victor and Jumoke Adeyemi are passionate leaders who serve with Excellence and Integrity. Throughout their over 20 years of marriage, Pastor Jumoke has diligently served alongside her husband in ministry. Together, they have touched the lives of thousands around the globe through various conferences, crusades, humanitarian projects, relief efforts and community service initiatives.
The Ministry started in Ibadan, Nigeria in September 1995 in response to the call of God, to win souls, raise ministry gifts, minister healing to the sick and lead the body of Christ into revival experiences. While the ministry started with a church plant, Reverend Victor Adeyemi has evolved into a Pastor of Pastors and an itinerant preacher and teacher of the gospel of Christ.
Global Harvest Church was inaugurated on September 30, 1995, by Victor and Jumoke Adeyemi in response to God’s call on them to plant Evangelistic Churches that are committed to helping all members fulfil their destinies through the discovery, release and maximization of their God-given potentials.
In February 1986, during a week of consecration in Fasting and Prayer, Victor Adeyemi saw a picture of a worldwide soul-winning and church planting ministry. With a passion for soul birthed out of this experience, he committed himself to a life of ministry. After obtaining a college Diploma in Law in 1989, he joined Rhema Chapel International Churches, Ilorin, Nigeria as a fulltime minister and became founding pastor of Rhema Chapel, Ibadan in September 1990.
He pastored the church for 5 years, planting 2 others in the City before resigning to establish Global Harvest Church. The church began at the Banquet Hall of Premier Hotel, soon the 500-Seater Hall was fully packed in 6 months and then the 1000-Seater Wallan Hall of D’Rovans Hotel, from where it moved in February 1998 to its permanent site in Ibadan.
His wife, Pastor Jumoke Adeyemi is currently the Senior Pastor of Global Harvest Churches in Lagos. Below are excerpts of the chat.
How has your ministry been since the lockdown?
Well, it had its fair share of challenges in the last few months because not being able to gather together has been very challenging. Three particular things we enjoy when we come to church every Sunday include the ability to worship God together with the beautiful song of worship and inspiration that we do together and get from the chorister. Secondly is the preaching and the teaching of God’s word, when that happens the people receive spiritual edification, they also receive a lot of inspiration and hope and imagine not being able to enjoy that life is quite challenging.
And the third one is the Fellowship, the social interaction that takes place every Sunday when we gather together, shaking, hugging one another and we’ve not had that in the last several months and it is very tough. For me as a person who is a pastor, not just pastor by function but at heart, not to be able to see my people live is being a little challenging in that respect. However, through it all we’ve also had cause to give God the glory. We are thanking him because of technology just has I’ve been able to join you on this platform; we have been influencing our social media platforms at least to reach the people with the word of God.
Thank God that we do have small microcosms of the church in various geographical areas around the city. They continue to meet mostly online but at least they are in touch with one another especially so that those that are going through extremely difficult times can receive the help of the church.
What is the significance of this time that we are in?
I personally believe that the significance of this time is in the fact that it is a time of test and trials and the Bible talks about the trying of our faith being more precious than gold. So when we find ourselves in crisis, just like gold when it is put through fire, it removes the impurities in gold and allows it to come out better, it provides an opportunity for God to help us get better. It is a time of spiritual reevaluation, a time of test of our convictions in God, the things we claim to believe are tested during a time like this and it now provides us with the opportunity to improve, get better, rein enforce our convictions.
So in as much that it looks like a negative thing, there are still a lot of positives for us to pick out of it. We also see times like this as not only an opportunity for spiritual growth but also an opportunity for people to take inventories of themselves. Particularly when the line of businesses shut down, a particular job is laid off, it forces into some introspection to find out what else can I do and interestingly for some people they will look back in the future and say thank God for Covid-19, I wouldn’t have known that I had the ability to go into this line of business or career line and at the end of the day they will thank God because God knows how to take these things and work them together for our own good.
There are those who take it as a message from God, would I be right if I see it that way?
Theologically, we all have our various angles at which we look at these things. It is my very candid conviction from my knowledge of the word of God that God did not send the pandemic. The God of love that I’ve come to know is so loving that the Bible says that every good gift and every perfect gifts comes down from Him and this pandemic is not good and is not perfect at all.
So pretty much like the story of God’s interaction with Satan over Job in the Bible. Satan was asking for permission to touch this Job because God has protected and blessed him so much. God permitted the trial of Job’s faith when the Devil was able to touch his health, business, children, and in all of it Job did not sin against God. It was a trial of Job’s faith while the sickness was from the Devil, God, however, used it to bless Job at the end of the day. This is something Satan has sent but God knew he was going to send it and God is going to use it and work it together for the good of humanity for as many that will turn to God in this trying time like this, they will discover that good can surely come out of evil.
So what should we all be doing now to be able to cope with what is called the new normal?
I believe that the very first most important thing when a crisis comes is to pray. The word of God tells us that if anybody is afflicted or going through a difficult time that he should pray, James 5:13. When we pray we receive the grace of God to help us to cope. It’s like the apostle Paul who said in the Bible that one time he had a challenge that he described as a thorn in his flesh and he sought the Lord in prayer three different times and the answer he got is My Grace is sufficient for you for My strength is perfected in your weakness. In other words, where human ability ends the grave of God begins.
Prayer invokes God divine intervention and activates the power of God to strengthen us to cope. I’ve always known one thing and that is the fact that when we are overwhelmed by the chaos of this life the best thing for us to do is to pray. Prayer empties the heart of its chaos. When we are in the midst of worry, overwhelmed with anxiety, the tendency is there for us to be depressed. In the midst of depression, we are not able to activate the creative genius that God that has put inside every human being. The truth is that we are all created in the image and the likeness of this creative God, every human being on the face of the earth has the capacity to invent and innovate, that’s what they say necessity is the mother of invention.
The truth is that in times of difficulty, people are able to come up with new solutions and answers. But depression, negativity and fear paralyzes us and does not allow us to tap into that creative genius that is inside of us. The first thing we should do is to empty the heart of his cares through prayer; the second thing is to discern the opportunities of the moment; the third thing and most important thing is to look after ourselves health-wise.
Let’s talk about the initiatives of the Global Harvest Churches like Shop for free?
The beauty of our Shop for free outreach is that as a congregation we have always expressed one of our core values which is compassion. This core value has led us over there year to organize shop for free. We do shop for free every year to various degrees. There have been times when it is a matter of looking after as few as 500 families at Christmas or a 1000 families at Easter. But there are times when we’ve gone as far as to take care of about 5000 people at once, it cost us humongous about of money and what we do in shop for free is that we make provisions for clothing, groceries and food items. But the concept of shop for free is to give people who are weak and unable to have choices have a little sense of choices. Usually, whenever we organize that outreach, we give people a voucher which is the legal tender for shopping that day.
But because of an ongoing culture of benevolence in the congregation, as soon as this lockdown took place we immediately threw a small group system trying to find out families in need of very quick intervention and we were able to intervene again and again and I’m sure the church is planning to do another one again. And of course, we engage in other social impact projects like medical outreaches at times, back to school where we get supplies for the needy that cannot get supplies to be able to return to school in the new session and we also reach out to the prisoners and those in the hospitals.
What is your take on the ongoing debate whether the churches should be reopened?
I’m beginning to get to the point where I am of a similar opinion. I wasn’t of that opinion at all and the reason is that it’s been discovered that the Corona Virus spread faster within enclosures in other words within halls, buildings, and event centres. However, it is a matter of comparative analysis really. We must realize that a lot of people have gotten very depressed by the social isolation that has also come due to this pandemic and the ability to come together can be helpful for those people psychologically apart from spiritually.
I very much agreed with the government in shutting everywhere down initially, even the Bible we see that social isolation is one of the solutions we find in the Old Testament for controlling epidemics, I believe so much in that. however, for as much as the country is reopening and people are going to the market and they are able to go back to work with NDDC protocols being strictly adhered to, then I will encourage that they should allow the churches to reopen and simply put the proper NDDC protocols in a place like temperature checks, wearing of face masks, hand sanitization, and spacing in the church.
We have branches in other parts of the country have reopened and we are adhering very strictly with the NDDC protocols and we even go a little further than the demands of government just to be very careful. I’m for the reopening of churches but the government should play its part. They should demand that the churches should put those things in place, go round and check they did it right and when the doors are opened, supervision should continue and any church that is not in compliance should be short down.
Can you share with us the story of Global Harvest Churches?
Global Harvest Church started with the call of God upon a very young man. I was a teenage boy when the call of God came upon my life to preach the gospel. I was only 16 and I started preaching at 17. I was under the tutelage of Rev. George Adegboye, the founder of Rema Chapel International Churches at the time and at the age of 21, I began to Pastor the Ibadan branch of Rema Chapel. Five years later, at the age of 26, I founded Global Harvest Church. I’ve always known that someday I would graduate from under the tutelage of Rev. Adegboye and when the time came we started in Ibadan, Nigeria.
We are grateful to God over the years we’ve spread all over the country and to a few foreign countries today because we are in Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America. If not for the pandemic, we are already doing groundwork in Canada also and we are looking forward to the spread around the nation and around the world also. Our passion in line with God’s calling on us as a ministry is to win souls. It is our belief that when the light is transformed from the inside to the outside that light is able to live out its purpose because everyone that comes into this world comes because God has a reason for sending them here
There is a contribution every life ought to make to humanity and that is very well articulated in our mission statement that says helping individuals to discover and accomplish their God-given purpose through life-transforming experiences with Christ and that in a nutshell is the story of Global Harvest.
How was your tutelage in Rema before you set up your church?
It was a very exciting and challenging period of tutelage for me very exciting because it was a period of rapid spiritual development. My Pastor, Rev. George Adegboye, is a very knowledgeable person in the word of God. He has been nicknamed Mobile Bible by some people because in a sermon he can quote 200 verses of the Bible without opening his Bible to look at it. so for me being able to drink from that very rich reservoir of spiritual knowledge was a very exciting experience and then I had the opportunity to work very closely with him and he became another father to me and I was able to learn from him.
There was a lot of inspiration that I got just by watching his life, a lot of maturation both spiritually and generally in life. It was also a bit challenging because he was also a disciplinarian and strict so we were very careful not to misbehave and I look back today and I’m very grateful. My own youthfulness at the time also saw me taking on responsibility that was meant for adults and so that really stretched as a person. I was a mummy’s boy so I didn’t have much courage but pasturing 2000 people at the age of 24, I had to grow up very quickly.