Pastor Dele Johnson, who is the Senior Pastor of Jesus Liberation Ministry, Pastor Dele Johnson, his wife, Pastor Adekunbi and the entire members of the fast growing church, situated at Plot 34, Jonathan Coker Road, Fagba area in Lagos are in a happy mood right now. Why? They are set to dedicate their new auditorium that cost a fortune to put together. Last week, City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE, Senior Editor, SUNDAY ADIGUN with Photo Journalist, JIMMY ABDULRASHEED visited Pastor Dele Johnson for an interview, in his office, right inside the new auditorium and he told us how he got the vision to build a church auditorium for God. Below are excerpts of the interview.
You are set to dedicate your church Auditorium, how has it been so far?
Many people have been asking me, “How did you do it? Do you have a financer? Do you have a supporter? I had to tell them my Testimony. I said to them the first time we came here I had no dime. Meanwhile anytime I drove pass here I always tell God that His work must be in the open space on a busy road like this. Give us our Goshen.
So when somebody now brought me here I felt so happy. But I had no dime on me. And the man said the land is going for 3 million. That was in 2004. I have not paid staff salary and somebody is asking me to cough out 3m. I started meditating on what to do because the guy was already intimidating me, telling me about those that were ready to buy and pay instantly. I kept quiet and I heard God saying that He’s going to give us the land.
I told the guy that before the end of this week I would bring the money. I got to my office with a lot of trouble in my heart. And I told God that you said you are going to give me this land, I need wisdom to possess it. When I prayed for about 30mins I saw some of our youths and singles praying. I called them to my office that I want to give them an assignment. I told them we are about to access a land, go and pray for wisdom to access it.
And they went back and kept on praying. Under another 30mins, I kept quiet and the Lord spoke again. He gave me the name of a man to call, and the man happens to be a man that doesn’t normally come to church, but he will dutifully come and drop his wife and children. And he will dutifully return back to pick them. He’s a Customs officer. So, that day I called him and said to him that God is about to give us a land and the cost is about 3million, What can you do for us? He said ok Sir, I would send my wife.
I said to him not to bother. I’m already on my way to your house. Under 20mins I was in his house. He was panicking and I told him to calm down. He went inside his room, brought out a bag and gave it to me. Lo and behold when I opened it, it was 1.5million. I thanked him I prayed for him and I left. When I got to my office I started praying again, thanking God for the provision and asking him on how to get the balance. And the Lord told me to calm down that he will give me another instruction. This time around He did not ask me to call anybody. He just said to me “I’m sending the money”.
Everything we are talking about happened in just a day. I’ve never seen God work miraculously like that and on that same day before the evening, somebody drove in and said “My husband said I should give you the Tithe of his Estate, he let out in Abuja” And it was equivalent to 1million in dollars. Now, we had 2.5m but we still need 500k balance and the Lord said again. Call the first person again. I didn’t take that message seriously and God refused to talk to me again and I lost my peace.
Later I realized that I shouldn’t have countered the Holy Spirit, so I called the man again that we have been able to raise N2.5 and the money remains 500k and the man said “No problem I would send my wife” Under 30mins the balance was brought and the money was completed. We paid. But we didn’t have money to start building. In 2006, we were stampeded into this place because the Landlord of our former place said he learnt that we had bought a land so we must go immediately.
I pleaded with him to give us time, he refused. He later said if we don’t want to go, we should pay him 7 years rent upfront. I got angry at first, because at that time my home, my office and the church were in that place. So, I was stranded in 3 areas. I was angry within me, but God said move to the Land. So on Sunday I told the church we are moving to our land.
When we moved here, some people left because of that They said Pastor is too much in a hurry. Was I too much in a hurry? No! I heard Gods voice. We moved here when he said we should. We erected a Canopy. We actually started building it in 2017. I remembered when my Covenant brother, Apostle Wole Oladiyun came to pray with me here and he said. “How did you leave MFM?” I said to him I ran away, and he said “I don’t think that is right, let us go and meet Pastor Olukoya” And we went. When Dr. D.K. Olukoya saw me he said to Apostle Wole where did you see this man from? Immediately prostrated and held his leg.
He said he knew when I left MFM that he used to see me on television preaching about Dreams. So we prostrated and Pastor Olukoya said one thing. “Young man, I didn’t cause you. But did I bless you? No. You need a blessing to move on in life”. We begged him and he blessed me and I knew something dropped inside of me as he was praying for me.
Then, the work started. Prior to that time I remembered I had done so many things, as a Banker. We use to package a lot of proposals. So, I thought I could use that template to run a church. So we tried so many of those ideas, but none of them worked. I remembered I tried breakfast meetings, nothing worked despite the money I spent.
We tried hosting dinner sessions, nothing worked. I remembered we even tried what we called Praise Jamz. Then it was Easter period. Then I figured that if we go to Toyin Street at Ikeja Lagos, to use Waterparks, people would come so I got Yinka Ayefele, Kenny Saint Brown to come and perform, I got Akin Ibiye, the guy that sang “If you don see me now, you no go no me again” I sold my car to pay all these people upfront, and they actually came. But that day the God of Open Heavens opened the heavens and it rained like no mans business. It was painful. I wept like a baby in my Hotel room. Even my ministers could not console me. Where I was weeping the Holy Spirit came to me and started laughing.
He asked me if have not been reading my Bible. He said “I told you, I will build my church, you just follow me and take instructions.”
From that moment I made up my mind, I’m not competing with anybody, I’m not running anyody’s race. All I need to do was to listen. Every stage there was always an Instruction, from Foundation to finishing.
By the Grace of God we do not owe any bank, we do not owe any Esusu because we do not take any money from them. It has been God I did not say it’s wrong to borrow money to build a church, all I’m saying is from my mindset I can’t be doing God’s work and be borrowing money to do God’s work. I’m a Chattered Accountant and I also know that a Borrower is a slave to the Lender and I don’t’ want to be a slave to anybody. I want to do God’s work without any grey hair. Now, I’m 57+ I don’t have grey hair because I have decided to let God do His work by Himself. The other wisdom is this. We made every drop to count. So, that has been our testimony concerning the church.
Can you share with us a bit of how you yielded to the call of God?
Before I received the call of God around 1982, I got born again 1980, I was still working in a bank, Chartered Bank from there to UBA, from UBA I migrated to UTB. Then I used to have these dreams, the first one I saw myself enter into a market place. I saw a mad woman who practically went beserk and was pursing everybody Then she ran towards me.
But I stood my ground and I said, look into my eyes And she did and I said: I command you Spirit of Insanity get out of her in the name of Jesus. She fell down and regained her sanity. Then I woke up. By that time I didn’t know anything called Deliverance. Later I had another revelation whereby I saw a truck carrying decomposed body to the morgue, Something woke up within me and I told the driver to drop the body. He dropped the body, I laid my hand on the body and it came back to live Then I woke up again.
At the time I was having this dream I was still in the banking industry Not longer after that I started my own finance company and at that time we were doing well so there was no way I could hear any call again but when the call became urgent God began to talk to me and I refused to listen because money was so important to me and I decided to start taking care of the Pastors. That time I had about 20 pastors on my payroll. Paying their salary, buying clothes and food for them. One day God spoke to me. He said “It is time and if you don’t do it I would cut one hand and one leg and you will still preach”.
Yet I still didn’t do anything. Then the crisis came in and when it started I had no choice, everything went down Even the company that was doing well. I was brought to my knees and started going from one praying church to the other and they will tell me “It is the call that is fighting you” I remember one man of God, Prophet Dele somewhere in Ketu said to me in Yoruba language that it would better for me I yield to the call of God else I’ve not seen anything. So, when I accepted the call around 1997-1998. I trained under Baba Ashimolowo, I trained under Bishop of Trem, Bishop Okonkwo, I trained under Pastor Samson Bamgbayan, I even trained under Bishop Oyedepo from a distance for 6 months. So now God is telling me to start his work.
I was also with Baba Olukoya for 5 years.
“The building of this Auditorium has taken us 11years because we had to take our time. We listened to God, Line by line. I’m not competing with anybody, I compete only with myself. I set target for myself because everybody has their own race to run. What this building has taught us is that you choose to have your own Testimony. Don’t compete with God so that you can have your own choice Testimony.
So that you can be able to say I have worked with God and this is what God has taught me. This is what God has achieved through me, not that you copy what God is doing in another place and struggle to do it in your place, as if God can not use you in a different way, as if God cannot do one thing in one million ways. So those are the messages we have learnt. God has taught us humility. He has taught us Virtues of Humility, Virtues of Waiting to hear him at every juncture. And its been a rewarding experience for us.
What are we expecting on the 15th of June?
It’s going to be awesome sir. My father Rev. Mathew Ashimolowo is coming, when I say my father I have known Rev. Mathew Ashimolowo for 36 years. When I gave my life to Jesus, he was the Pastor that nurtured me to become a child of God, a matured one. He’s an Apostle to Nations. He would be coming. He’s the one that will dedicate the tower. Of course my Covenant twin brother Apostle Wole Oladiyun will be coming.
He is a prayer Virtuoso. There would be overturning. This people are ready. They are set. Apostle John Okwok is coming, God uses him in the area of Healing and Deliverance. And ofcourse, God’s own amazon, Rev. Jane Onaolapo the woman God has given grace for Church growth with ease. It’s an evening programme except on Sunday that is Thanksgiving. God bless you.