Despite the fact that major churches in the world are dominated by male pastors, more and more woman has also been at the forefront preaching the gospel of Christ through their different callings. In Nigeria, there are quite few female pastors, but the numbers keep increasing by the day. While some are going into the full ministry of running a church, some are saddled with the responsibility of just running a ministry for a special purpose and the main goal is to bring more people to Christ especially women. In this list below, Society Editor, TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI chronicled the female pastors whose churches many celebrities rush to.
BISHOP MARGARET IDAHOSA
A woman of many parts, a mother and friend, a man called mama, this are the best words to describe, Bishop Margaret Idahosa. She is the Archbishop of Church of God Mission Int, Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University & Vice President Int Communion of Charismatic Churches. Most Rev. Dr. Margaret E. Benson-Idahosa is the wife of the late Archbishop of Church of God Mission Int’l. Inc., late Most Rev Prof. Benson Idahosa and currently the Archbishop of the ministry with several branches and hundreds of thousands of members worldwide. She also pastors the 5,000 capacity Faith Miracle Center Church, where multiple services are held weekly. She was born on the 29th of July, 1943, into the royal lineage of the Benin Kingdom. She was ordained into the ministry on the 24th of May, 1983 and consecrated Bishop on the 5th of April, 1998. This position makes her first female Pentecostal Bishop of a ministry of this magnitude in Africa. Together with her husband, she has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in more than 140 nations covering the entire continents of the world. She is not just a woman preacher; she doubles as a father and mother to many spiritual children all over the world. Since her consecration as Bishop, she has frequently traveled to America, Europe and parts of Africa and in communities far-flung from major towns and cities preaching, teaching and healing the sick. She also is the Vice President of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches (ICCC), the Chancellor/Visitor of Benson Idahosa University (BIU), General Overseer, Idahosa World Outreach (IWO) and the President of Christian Women Fellowship International (CWFI).Dr. Margaret Benson-Idahosa’s love for children and a strong belief that they be trained and raised properly saw to the establishment of the Word of Faith Group of Schools, which now has more than one hundred-eight (108) branches all over Nigeria. She also has to her credit an orphanage for abandoned babies. Three of these children have been adopted into the Idahosa family. Dr. Margaret Benson-Idahosa is a mother of four biological children- Feb, Ruth, Daisy and Freda and three adopted children Priscilla, Osagie and Osasu. She is a grandmother of four.
REV TOPE OGUNNOIKI
Reverend Mrs Tope Ogunnoiki is the presiding minister of Grace Ville Chapel International in Ikeja. She is very popular and even if you don’t know her, one thing that will gravitate you towards her is her pleasant smile and style of dressing. She is one woman that can not be rubbed off in the style sector and as much as she has panache for looking good so also, she knows and understand the depth of the word of God. Reverend Tope Ogunnoiki is one who have worked hard to become the best that she can be for her parishioners, inspiring and motivating them through their faith. She is very prominent online and her church has become the most sought after for young and old especially women who love to listen to the word of God and who also want a frequent turn around in their lives.
She features as a great women preacher who is a powerful speaker and inspiring thinker. For someone who has heeded God’s call for over 13 years pastors a vibrant church in the heart of Ikeja. Graceville Chapel is a church with a mandate (by God) to embed God’s word in the hearts of people. The church was founded in 2006 and their mission is touching the world with his power. The church started it’s humbling beginning in an event hall, memorable Gardens, Ikeja in 2006 then after 2 years,they moved to Cheers hotel where they spent about 7 years.In year 2015, they moved to their permanent site on Awolowo Way, Ikeja.The church has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. She is a fervent preacher who has deep knowledge of the word having attended bible schools and series of bible teachings under the tutelage of Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo. She has also trained many pastors who have joined the vineyards of God in their respective areas.
REV FUNKE ADETUBERU
Hearing her speak will surely bring tears close to your eyes and you will marvel at what God has done in her life. She is not only mentoring the depressed but living a life full of bloom that shows that God is the rewriter of all history. Pastor Funke Adetuberu is one of the popular female pastors in Ibadan and Nigeria. She is the pretty wife of pastor Nelson Adetuberu of Faith Chapel International based in Ibadan. She strikes you as somebody who has a deep passion for her calling and one who has laid her life on God’s altar. The depth of her story is however not in her calling but in the manifestation of the manifold grace of God upon her life.
By every human standard, she probably would not qualify for her present status. But God literally pulled her from the miry clay, cleaned her up and made her a vessel unto honour. Today, she is not only a celebrated minister of God but a woman with a vision to touch the hurting world.The multifaceted woman runs a Women College of the ministry who has ministered and mentored over 4000 women. Hundreds of women have graduated from college. She is the founder of Mending lives foundation, a charity organization that was founded to address emotional struggles & any form of addictive live style in people lives and Giving hope in every hopeless situation for over 20 years. This woman of courage and determination has written 54 books.
REV HELEN UKPABIO
While many pastors will not want to physically confront anyone, whether a child or adult that is dubbed witch, Ukpabio from time to time, conducts deliverance for them. In such sessions, mostly during the church’s annual retreat in December, she would stand on a platform and call out, “If you are a witch, come out here for your deliverance,” and then, one after the other and sometimes in an amazing rush, adults and young people will in broad daylight, walk up to meet her for deliverance prayer. This rare mission gift, somewhat, has stood her out among preachers of the gospel the world over. Helen Ukpabio is also a famous Nollywood actress, producer, evangelist, television personality and philanthropist. She is popularly known for playing the role of pastor, evangelist, deaconess or minister of God in Nollywood movies. She was born in the early 1960s in the village of Mbente in Imo State in the southeastern part of Nigeria. She is currently in her 50s. Helen Ukpabio is originally from Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State in the South Southern part of Nigeria, but was born and bred in Imo State in the southeastern part of Nigeria. She is very gifted, creative, skillful and talented in acting and interpretation of movie roles and can fit in any character given to her by movie directors.
BISHOP TINA BAWA
Rev. Mrs. Tina Bawa is one of the very few female bishops in Nigeria, she is very popular in Abuja and married to a business magnate, Dr. Godfrey Baw Shitgrum, MON. She is the founder of the Tina Bawa Ministries. She is a seasoned Christian homemaking mentor and passionate intercessor with unique prophetic gifting and calling to the woman. She was called into ministry in 1999. Since then, she has grown remarkably as a conference speaker, leader and author. Her largest women Conference in Abuja which began in 2001 has become reputable for building the capacity and orientating the values of the modern Christian woman. An experienced teacher and leader, she has authored seven books including the best-selling cover, The Extraordinary Woman. She coordinates the organization, Nigeria Woman Awake (NIWA). The Gathering of Deborah which she began in 1999 as her entry into the ministry has kept the fire of intercession burning amongst women at the community level. She is a certified member of the Canadian Institute of Christian Counselors (CICC). She obtained her Pastoral degree from Pan African Christian University, Abuja. She is a Business and Management Study Graduate and a qualified Microsoft System Engineer (M.C.S.E). Alongside ministry, Rev. Tina Bawa is a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman. She is the Vice President of a highly successful shipping and logistics company, Duncan Group of Companies. She is happily married for 25 years. The marriage is blessed with three biological children and an adopted daughter. This amazing woman who is sold out for Christ had a divine encounter with Late Bishop Idahosa on an aircraft and that was what changed her spiritual life and took it to another level.
BISHOP BOLA ODELEKE
Bishop Bola Odeleke is a Nigerian pastor, evangelist, preacher, founder and general overseer of Power Pentecostal Church. She was the first African woman to become a bishop. Born 1950 in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. Bishop Bola had her primary and secondary education at Ilesa, the hometown of her mother. She became a Christian in 1970 but began her evangelism in November 1974. She became a bishop on May 28, 1995, and was the first African woman to become a bishop.
Pastor Bola began her ministry in 1974. She has however had to go through certain vicissitudes at different stages of her ministry. She lost her husband, who was a member of the then Provisional Ruling Council in the regime of President Ibrahim Babangida, in a motor accident in 1990. That incident soon cast a shadow on her destiny as things never remained the same again. Three years after the death of her husband, she married one Rev. Salau, a member of her church.
PROPHETESS MARY OLUBORI
Rock of salvation Apostolic Church started as a prayer group under the guidance of prophetess Mary Adeleke as directed by the Holy Spirit to cater for the yearning needs of multitudes who beseeched her one-room apartment at Oju Odo Olomi (where the name Rock Of Salvation Apostolic Church (ROSAC)was given in trance during 7 days dry fasting by the Prophetess) in search of revelation and solutions, the Holy Spirit then directed Prophetess Mary Olujuwon Olubori (Nee Adeleke) to start a prayer meeting on a mountain called ORI OKE OJOO, the meetings were held between 9 am – 3 pm under a tree. Since the birth of Rock Of Salvation Apostolic Church Prophetess Mary Olujuwon Olubori under the direction of the Holy Spirit and the support of Pastor Israel Olubori has embarked on many crusades that have given birth to many branches in three continents. Her church has been the most sought after for many A.lists celebrities because of her gift of prophecies.
REV ESTHER AJAYI
She is an accomplished Christian leader, Philanthropist and Author with a real passion for the power of prayer and giving as foundational pillars in her life. She has dedicated much of her life to supporting on the ground, grassroots initiatives that have seen her touch thousands of lives and receive over 20 awards in the last many years.
She was born and grew up in Lagos Nigeria, where before dedicating her life to full-time ministry, she excelled in the corporate world as a successful businesswoman. It was in Nigeria that she developed her Christian faith within the Cherubim & Seraphim Church. As an avid theologian and scholar of the Bible, she holds a BA degree in Biblical Theology from Faith Bible College Sango-Otta along with other academic honors.
As a humanitarian and philanthropist, she has made a significant contribution to the work of the church physically, financially and spiritually and across many denominations and many continents. She holds the title of Matron and financial supporter in more than 50 churches in Nigeria and other countries of the world. She is also Grand / Life Matron to many charity organisations and various Non-Government-Organisations across many communities in Africa.
This work was instrumental to her carving a niche for herself across both secular and spiritual spectrums as a great philanthropist within many communities, including the United Kingdom and across Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and other parts of Africa. This has led her to establish her own charitable organisation – The Esther Ajayi Foundation to holistically cater to people in need of help, especially the homeless, poor and underprivileged.
In 2007, she was led by God to start her own church named: Love of Christ Generation Church C & S unification in London. In 2015, the church moved into a newly renovated Cathedral in Clapham, London, where she now pastors a congregation with hundreds of worshippers and thousands of social media followers every day. She is a great bridge builder across many communities, especially in Nigeria. She influences Secular, Political and Traditional leaders positively and spiritually for the sake of good governance, equality and social justice within society and most importantly for mutual unity amongst all faiths and denominations.
She is the Visioner and Sponsor of the Revival jointly powered by the Celestial Church of Christ and the Cherubim & Seraphim Church – tagged: Celebrate The Comforter.
PASTOR MARGARET AGBONIFO
Gospel singer and family revivalist Margaret Agboniofo presides Over thousands of worshipers under the umbrella of the Family Intercessory Ministry. her annual program “Mother Arise” gathers tens of thousands of mothers in the state going to intercede for their families and the nation.
APOSTLE NKECHI ILOPUTAIFE
Nkechi Francis Anayo-Iloputaife is a charismatic leader, Pastor and televangelist. In 1985, along with her husband, she co-founded Victory Christian Church. She remained one of the leaders of the church until the assassination of her husband, who was the overall head of the church. After his death in 1995, she assumed his previous role, overseeing the entire activities in the church. She is also credited to be involved in humanitarian and philanthropic activities. Modern Ghana likened her management of the church affairs to her having the “leadership spirit of a man”.In 2014, Nation described her governance and coordination of the church as evidence that “what a man can do, a woman can also do, even better at times”.Prior to meeting her husband, Apostle Nkechi had a catholic Christian background. She was married to Harford Anayo Iloputaife.
–TAYO FAJORIN OYEDIJI