•GENESIS Pastor, ISRAEL O. OGUNDIPE
Almost everybody is familiar with his name. Just mention Genesis Pastor and you will be told it is Pastor Oladele Isreal Ogundipe that you are talking about. He is quite popular in Lagos, his base. He is popularly called Genesis Pastor. He’s the Shepherd and founder of Genesis International Model, a redefined Lagos Celestial Church.
The Church is at 8/12 Duro Ishola Street, Dalemo Alakuko Bus/Stop, Lagos.
Over the last few months, the name Genesis has trended on the internet for very many reasons. There was a time, the pastor gave all the offering the church made at a Sunday Service to one of its struggling female members. There have been countless positive memories, especially from the member of the church.
Presently, Genesis Church has transformed the whole Alakuko and its environs. People troop in from different part of the world to the church to worship every Sunday. The Church has grown from few members to over 5,000. He is an inspirational teacher who challenges people to succeed in every sphere of life. He has dynamic gifting to combine his calling as a prophet, coach and teacher.
Last week Wednesday, City People Team visited the young, vibrant and visionary founder of the Genesis Church at the Church headquarters, where he opened up on how his own church is different from every other Celestials churches. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
Can you share with us your thoughts for 2019. Let us know what the God has revealed to you and what you think we should all look out for in 2019?
2019 is going to be our year of massive mercy because what has really been helping Nigeria is Mercy of God. If it’s been our efforts, our struggles or wisdom, Nigeria wouldn’t have come this far. Prophetically, I’m always positive because Nigeria is my country and I’m proud of Nigeria. I’m able to travel out of the country severally; I have been able to see that this country is favoured by God. When somebody’s life is favoured, when a country is favoured; it’s the favour that will colour our labour and favour our lives.
It’s not about segregation. It’s not about battle or fighting ourselves. It’s not about what our leaders are doing; it’s about what God is doing because the Mercy Controls more than our effort. We’ve been really working on effort, our own ideology, our own concept by leadership but God has been the one leading this country because some of the things we’ve experienced in this country, it’s enough for other countries to be out of the system but God has been faithful and I’m so confident that God will favour us this year because there would be a turn around, though there’s going to be a shaking but the shaking is going to be for our making. I’m so positive that there won’t be bloodshed, or killings. I’m so positive that Nigeria will be restored.
How do you see the political situation because by next month we are going to be having presidential election and other elections will follow suit. What did you see?
It’s obvious that continuity is going to be evident. The likes of Buhari, Atiku and other people. I’m not a critic. I don’t criticize leaders because you say they aren’t doing well. What we need to do is to pray for them and encourage them to do more but many people are praying for continuity; many people are praying that Buhari should go out and Atiku should come in. I just want us all of us to know that, the major thing to understand about life is that, we are created for 2 things and 2 days are important in our lives. The day we came into the world and the day we remember what we are created for. Everybody should get their PVC’s. They should vote. But I believe the shaking will be for our making.
There will be transformation but to me I’m still positive politically. We are just been praying that there shouldn’t be political battle between APC and PDP.
A lot of people have been criticizing men of God that there’s been so much silence, that the men of God are not coming out to take position and tell us the direction to go?
There are men of God and there are men from God. When you trust men of God than God of men we tend to lose our focus, we tend to lose what the Lord has placed into our heart.
Men of God are just representatives. And flashing back to what has been happening like the issues of tithing and all that, are probably the reason why some of them are quiet.
This is a country where some people say this is what the Lord says and all of a sudden something will just turn around. So it’s not too strong in their mind what the Lord is saying through them and we are now confused to the point to not knowing what the God is saying and what men are saying. I’m not trying to nail people. I’m not trying to nail our spiritual leaders but many men of God are not really speaking the voice of God; I wouldn’t say they have been bought over but many of them have got their candidates. But I don’t belong to any political party.
So, anyone that will be there, let the Lord leads them right.
In the time of Shagari, some people suffered, and some people were blessed. Even during the time of Goodluck, some people received bad luck and they went into trouble. During the time of Buhari, some people are enjoying. It’s about table turning; it’s about God’s turning the table towards you. When you pray, pray that God should favour you, no matter who gets there.
So majorly, have always been advising people that anything you do, just pray that the Will of God should be done. When Moses wanted to take step, he said Lord if you will not go with me, I will not go, and that is one of my prayers. So I’m not too anxious about accumulation of wealth and some other things I’m going to achieve. All the time, I have always been saying let thy Will be done. What we just need to do now is to pray that let thy Will be done because we have seen so many pastors that say this will be the governor, this will be the president. Peradventure if any of them should come they will begin to publicise it. But now, God is now trying to prove to them that no! my ways are not your ways; you can’t speak for me, let me speak for myself. Because some people have started taking God’s glory and there’s no way you take God’s glory that your life will not end up a story.
I have always been telling people who go to white garment church for miracle that you don’t have to go church for miracle; you go to church for relationship between you and God. Some people are not going to Church and they are blessed. Some people don’t going to church and they are doing well. Some people don’t going to church and they are flourishing. The Bible says those that know their God shall be strong and shall do exploit.
What is your take on Tithing? And what is your advice to some of our leaders who clamour for restructuring of Nigeria?
First, every Pastor, Prophet and every man of God must understand the place of his/her purpose in the Ministry. In our church, our tithes is used to pay bills in the church. I have never been part of Church money. Part of our own tithes are for widows in the church, and the less privileged ones. We also help our choristers whose their parents can’t afford to send them to schools, and we help them till the University level. That is what we use our tithes to do because the Bible says bring all tithes to me, so that there will be fruit in my house. My own perception is that tithe does not belong to the pastors; it belongs to the church. In our church, we have some women who are on salary, their some widows who are on salary. We have been doing that for years now. We are also working on having our own church banking system in a way members can get loan without percentage, or interest rate. As long as you are committed to the Church and the department in the church, the soft loan will give you opportunity to start a small business. So when you start a small business you will increase and you’ll begin to grow. That’s what we do with our own church tithes.
People who are blessed will come back to bless you and when they bless me, I bless the church back. We have been able to do the road by ourselves. We have been able to do the paving stones.
Somebody gave me money 2 years ago to buy a Range Rover Sport and I said why am I buying Range Rover Sport for when some of my members are still crawling. So I gave the money back to the Church and we used the money to buy the building opposite our church. We want to have our own Nursery and Primary School, where our members will be attending and that will not be expensive. If possible it’s going to be free of charge because we’ll still use the church money to service the school. So the less privileged among us who haven’t got the opportunity to go to better school can attend the school. We really want it to be a standard school, where we would have TV’s, Air Conditioning.
Why would I buy a Range-Rover Sport when I’m not going to be able to cross some people over? So, if I have been able to buy that Range Rover, it would probably being losing values and depreciating. I have only one car and one for my wife.
One of the major satanic assignments that’s working against churches all over the world now is disunity; where many churches are proving this one is superior to this one and they are trying to compete by having mega churches and many members.
I didn’t go to the University. I didn’t go to Theology School. I went to University of Problem, Faculty of Understanding. I have been able to build myself to the glory of God through personal development, studying. I could still flash back to when my mother was begging for money inside the bus to send me to school. It wasn’t easy for us. So, if some people had been able to help us then maybe something would have been better and that’s why have got that mindset that whatever God has blessed me with, I want to give back. It’s the assignment of the church and some leaders who are religiously connected to God to add value to the society.
In my house now, I have about 21 people living with me. My house is a 3 bedroom but all these young folks, I met them differently. Some of them are members of the church. Some of them are my son’s friends. Even when my son gained admission to study in one University in Canada, last year November to be precise. I was supposed to pay 25 thousand dollars and I told him that we have schools in Nigeria, why don’t you go to a school here in Nigeria? And let me use the remaining money to help your friends. Some of his friends are orphans. Some, have not seen some of their parents before. It is not about now; it’s about future of those kids because they will remember that somebody took them in.
There’s a guy in the Church who lost his dad and mum and his grandma came to me that she wanted to take him to where he would learn Mechanic and he happened to be a friend to my son and I said why would I be alive and this boy will go learn Mechanic? I asked her to bring the boy back to my house. He just gained admission now to UNILAG. Before you know it, in the next 4 years he would be done. I have got 4 graduates. Some studied Law and some are into IT.
If I had paid that 25 thousand dollars, I will be thinking of paying another one in November. Then I will begin to stress myself, I will began to run and begin to do more than what the Lord has deposited inside of me.
So about 5 to 6 of his friends have gained admission together and they are going back to school But all these are not from the church’s money because I remember when I was carrying load in Oshodi then. There is a market they called Cario Market where I used to carry load with my mom, and 34 B Brown Street was where I lived. Bolade Oshodi was where my mom was selling pepper. I used to flash back to that time, that what am I going to do to give back to the society.
The income and expenditure of the church is about transparency. I’m a leader and I’m younger than all our leaders. I started the church and it’s not that somebody built the church and brought me here. But I’m not in charge of the money. And we are beginning to have branches (about 3 now).
Like this year, I returned 2 cars. I was just joking that, how many people would you like to buy me car this year and people ran out that they were going to buy me. One boy bought one for himself and said Daddy because of the faith I have in you, take my car. I now told him to take his car back. He felt bad. He thought I was blocking his miracle. This is not the era of spiritual gullibility. Some people are so gullible that they’ve allowed men of God to take the place of God in their lives. I told him which one will you be riding if you give me this car… He said he doesn’t have anyone.
To the Glory of God I have peace within me because I can’t just imagine my members trekking and I have about 5 cars and I would say God is blessing me. That’s not God blessing; that’s wickedness, that is selfishness and that is greediness.
The guy that gave me a car of 15 million, came for the harvest from America. We have about 60 people that came from America and London. And this guy brought a Cherokee Jeep 2016 model. So he gave me the key but I said no because when you were coming from America you had the intention of selling the car and use the money to settle some people in the family and also bless his in-law and his in law is a member of the church. But because the guy didn’t sell the car in time he said I’m dashing you the car. I said no, my wife also said we shouldn’t take the car. I called him to sell the car, settle people he needed to settle in the family and let them laugh through you and if you wish to buy me a car later, you can.
Toward the December, there’s a family in the church who had been building a house for 8years; 2 rooms for 8 years. I was talking about stagnation and all that, and the woman came out and I asked her how would you feel if God asked me to complete your house and the woman fainted and she actually said they have been trying to build a house for 8 years. So God said I should go and complete the house. We turned it from 2 rooms to 2 bedroom flats. We did everything include the borehole.
Talking of restructuring of Nigeria: It would have been a better thing but they won’t allow it to work because there will be opportunity for so many discoveries. There will be opportunity for some people to take over. There will be opportunity to bench some gluttony leaders who are so greedy and power drunk. So they will do everything possible to block it. They will do everything possible to make it impossible.
What makes white garment church different from other churches?
There is no church in heaven. And white garment church is not better than other churches because we serve one Christ. I’m just concerned about those who see white garment church as an archaic church, as Barbaric Church and as traditional church. Probably some of them don’t know what white garment church is all about.
What brought negative identity or perception about the church is what we wear. If an ordinary person who is not a Christian should wear white garment and the person is drinking beer beside the road. The moment they see the person, they will say all these white garment church people. It is the uniformity that has brought about people’s negative thoughts about white garment church. It is not that white garment is better than any church or any church is better. Those who are saying white garment church is inferior to them, I call many of them marketers, I call many of them brand managers and I call many of them self acclaimed righteous leaders.
What stand Genesis church out from other Celestial Churches?
We believe in Transition, not Tradition because there are some things we don’t do here. Genesis Church don’t go to stream to go and bath. Some people believe it’s been part of tradition to go and bath in the stream, we don’t do that here.
Because every leader must know the place of his own assignment. Jesus came and he wasn’t doing what the Pharisees and the Sadducees were doing. He came to bring Good News.
2nd Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. Have got a lot of great people around me but no one will say I have ever charge them. Even if I go to Churches to Minister, if they offer me anything, God said I shouldn’t collect. So I must have been led by the Spirit of God the way I operate. What is the essence of going to the stream. I’m not trying to condemn those who go to stream. I just believe the world is transitionally moving. We shouldn’t have the mentality of the monument, we should have that movement mentality, that we should be paradigm shift prone. This is not how City People Magazine started. We now have City People TV, City People Online. So we should be paradigm shift prone.
We have just completed our Baptism Pool but other Cele and White Garment Churches will go to the river to do their baptism. I wasn’t condemning them. It was when I read a story on the internet about Pastor who took some members to the stream and one of them drowned and a Pastor wanted to Baptise a member and crocodile came out to attacked the pastor.
Another one: a pastor took some people to the river and all of a sudden they saw blood flowing from other side of the river and they attacked the Pastor, that he was the one that did it. And most of those pastors are tall, the pastor that took members to the rivers happened to be the tall one. If the tall person should be attacked by the crocodile and the other one that was drowned, so what about me that is short. What will now happened to me?
So I wasn’t condemning them. So, I said whatever Baptism we wanted to do let’s do it here.