•KICC LAGOS Pastor, FEMI FASERU
Pastor Femi Faseru, the Resident Pastor of Kingsway International Christian Church (KICC) Maryland, Lagos hardly grants interviews. He is press shy. He likes to keep his activities within the four walls of his church. He prefers to allow his Senior Pastor, Mathew Ashimolowo to take the shine.
But last week, Pastor Femi broke his rule. He spoke to City People Magazine. He was our guest. He came to pray for us, as he does every year. He also came to share with us his thoughts on 2019. We then took the opportunity of his visit to get him to talk about how God arrested him to serve the Lord. And he told us the intimate story of how he got called. It is an interesting one. It was during the interview that he revealed he was going to be 50 in a matter of months. Though he will soon be 50, he does not look it.
He has managed to retain his athletic figure. He has always been pencil-slim. He combines 2 tasks, one as Resident Pastor of the KICC Maryland church at Mende area and two as the National Superientendent of KICC Nigeria. Part of his job is to supervise church growth within the KICC fold in Nigeria.
Many don’t know that Pastor Femi Faseru is an ICT guru. Before he took up full pastoral work he had been an IT Consultant to many corporations. He had also worked with mega companies like GlaxoWellcome, the Bank of Boston, Mediasurface and Glaxosmithkline. The ebony-complexioned Pastor is a powerful preacher and a dynamic teacher of the word. He sits under the spiritual tutelage of his spirituall father, the President/Senior Pastor of KICC, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo who has mentored him closely over the years and is a significant part of his inspiration as a teacher of the gospel.
Last week, the eloquent, versatile man of God opened up on how he joined KICC many years ago. He also spoke on his marital life. Below are excerpts of the interview.
How did your journey into the ministry start?
It was in the UK. I lived in the UK between 1994. I gave my life just before I went abroad, at the Christ Embassy, 1993. I was more or less a young covert before I went to England, and fortunately enough for me I came across KICC in 1995. So, I started to attend the church, and I was doing my own business. I wasn’t involved in church work until 1999 when the Lord said I should not just be a bench warmer in a church. So I came to attend a Steward interview and I was just serving and somewhere along the line I got a letter from the church. I didn’t even know anybody knew me in the church. I was by the way an IT person.
I worked for organisations such as Bank of Boston; a US Investment Bank that has it base in the UK. I worked there as an IT Consultant. After leaving Bank of Boston, I worked with Glaxowellcome. Glaxowellcome later merged with Beecham Smithkline and I worked there as a Consultant as well. So, it was when I was working for Glaxowellcome the Lord ministered in my spirit that I should not just be a bench warmer. So, I signed up to serve in the Lord. Shortly after that, because where I was working was so far from the church and I couldn’t juggle the two. So I prayed. I told God I wanted to choose my career. God heard my prayer, He gave me a better job at Londons Bridge with Media Surface that was just so close; about 20 minutes drive to church. So I was able to attend the service with better pay.
Shortly after, I got an email to head the IT department in the church. So that was what I was doing. I got trained. I became a Deacon shortly after. But in 2002, I began to wait upon the Lord like the church will do in the month of June 30 days. That was when I heard in my spirit that I should leave the United Kingdom. It was cleared where I would be. Companies in the United States had interest in me; wanting me to come over, to come and work in the State of California and they were giving me HIB Visa. At the last minute, I decided not to leave UK. So when that came to my spirit, I thought the Lord was asking me to go to the US. I prayed some more and it was obvious it wasn’t the US.
Unpleasantly enough, it was going to be Nigeria. I said unpleasantly because as at that time I had houses in the US, which I had fully paid up on. So, it would have been a smooth transition from the UK because I have houses in the UK that I had paid on. But I was coming to Nigeria where I didn’t have a plot of land; I didn’t have anything. So it was unpleasant, but I heard God.
So the October of that month we had a programme at the stadium with Winning Ways Africa. I came with the team and that was an opportunity for me to go and look for a place to rent and what I would do.
I thought I was coming to Nigeria to come and do IT job. IT was very backward at that time (2002) in Nigeria.
So, I came in October, rented a place to move my family in. It didn’t look juicy for me but I knew I had to take a drastic step. What people would normally do is to come first and later bring the family, but I have seen a lot of people come, hoping to bring their family later and later they go back and they never get to come back. I didn’t want to make that mistake because I heard God. So I prepared my family on the 1st of January 2003 and we were on the plane. My whole family. My daughter was a year old at that time. My son was 4 years old. So it was a very young family. So we flew on that 1st of January to Nigeria. And March I started an IT firm.
In December that year, my Pastor came to town and I was seeing him off at the airport and it was at the airport he told me that I should Pastor KICC in Lagos.
So, a lot of Pastors will tell you they saw God, or they saw Jesus in their dreams and he told them to go and Pastor a church. I will be really, really honest, I didn’t see Jesus in my dream telling me to go and Pastor church. I didn’t hear God tell me to go and Pastor. It was my Pastor who told me to pastor KICC in Lagos.
And I reflected on the word of God that says, Obey your parent in the Lord. That was what I stood on, and I said Lord, I don’t think I was a Pastor but you told me to obey my parent in the Lord and because of this I am going to take this on. However, I was still doing my IT for 2 and a half years and in those 2 and a half years the church had grown from about 50 members to almost a thousand.
In the last year of those 2 and half years, I would drive past my office which was at OPIC Plaza next door to Sheraton. I would drive past it for years without turning in there because of the demand of the ministry. All my businesses were coordinated from my desk in the office. But IT, being what it is; it is solutions driven. Our clients wanted to see me. They wanted me; they didn’t want my staff. They wanted to hear me and give them the solution, but pressure of the ministry; the people I had to attend to and remember that I didn’t go to the Theological School. So initially it took me time to prepare my message; it would take me from Sunday to Sunday. So, as I offload one message, I had to start to prepare for another message. So the demand of the ministry was so much that I didn’t have time for my own business. After 2 and half years, I had to make a choice: it was either I ran my business or I go into ministry full time, and then I prayed. Then, I couldn’t see myself leaving God’s work for my own work. So I chose to go full time. I had to have a conversation with my Pastor when he came to town. I went to see him and I said to him that I would like to go into full time ministry. That was around May, 2007. So I sat in his living-room and I said to him because of this, because of that I would like to go full time ministry. Basically, the 2 and half years I was doing all of that, I was not earning anything from the church; it was just sacrificial but that couldn’t continue if I wasn’t going to be running my business. So, I had to have a conversation with my Pastor, and he (my Pastor) said to me that, from that first day I set my eyes on you, I realised you had a calling of God upon your life for ministry and I also knew you didn’t realise that. If I had called you directly into the ministry you probably would have run away. So, I was waiting for you to realise that you have a calling in ministry. Now that you have realised that, the vision is not just for you to Pastor KICC in Lagos, the vision is actually for you to set up KICC all over Nigeria. So we thank God today. From that one branch, we have about 22 branches in Nigeria right now.
We have churches in Abuja, we have churches in Port Harcourt, we have in Aba, we have in Warri, and we have in Lekki, FESTAC, Idimu and Ikorodu. We have KICC in Akure, Ibadan, Abeokuta. God has been good to us in all those years. It is about 15 years now that the journey started and all I can say is all glory be to our God.
What makes KICC different from other churches?
KICC is unique, different because it is a vision God gave to Pastor Matthew. KICC is a vision, not a business. KICC is a vision and that’s what Pastor Matthew has handed over to each and everyone of us. He didn’t hand over a job to us; he handed over a vision to us and the vision as we get to understand it by the day, it gets more intriguing what the Lord wants you to do.
Now, KICC is about raising champions. Our interest is raising people for God. Our messages are targeted to how people will improve; how they will improve spiritually, how they will improve financially, how they will improve family wise. So we (at KICC) with real people issues.
When people come together for our meeting, they feel that God has spoken to them and not only God has spoken to them, they can also have something to do. So that makes KICC to standout.
We also notice that you have a very intimate kind of life with Pastor Ashimolowo. What kind of a person is he?
Pastor Matthew is the simplest person I have ever known in my life. I have never called Pastor Matthew, My Boss. Though, in every sense of it he’s my boss, he is my Senior Pastor. He is the Visioner of KICC and he is the one I work for, but he has never treated me like a master to a slave or a boss to a worker. He has treated me as he would treat his own son. Pastor Matthew would never put pressure on you. He has never sent me on any assignment without using the phrase “Femi are you able to go and do this”. And I keep on wondering for about 15 years now, why will he not just say Femi, go and do this, Femi go and do that. Why does he keep on saying are you able to? That is the kind of person Pastor Matthew is. Even the work we do, he will never put pressure on you to break your back so that you will deliver. He will want you to be yourself. He will not compare one work with another. He would want you to be yourself and allow you to express yourself.
Pastor Matthew has been a blessing in my life, and not just has a Pastor but I have learnt so much, working with him. I have worked with a man who has not taken anything of this world into his own heart. He is a father to me, not just that people just call their Pastor father.
At what point did you now attend Bible school?
Like I said, I entered Ministry without going to Bible School and fortunately, unfortunately I got so busy with the ministry from the word go, that I didn’t have time for my own private business. So I never had time for Bible school. I have a Bible School in my Pastor; he himself is a Bible School. By God’s grace I enjoy his mentorship in my ministry. Maybe some days, when I retire I will have time for Bible school but KICC is not just about preaching on Sunday. KICC is much more than that.
As a National Superintendent, I have to manage the administration of all the churches in this country. I have to manage the administration of the branch also. I have to uphold the ethos and pathos of our ministries in this country because there are challenges when you expand.
I read a lot. I have a very rich library. I learn from other preachers all around. I watch what they do, I observe. So, somewhere along the line I get to understand many things you will be taught in Bible school.
Going by your voice, you sound like Pastor Ashimolowo. I don’t know if you have noticed that?
Oh, really. It is difficult for me to notice. But amazingly everywhere I go, people say it. Sometimes, people ask me if I am Pastor Ashimolowo’s brother. I remembered we were playing Golf together one day and one man came to him and said, is this your son And Pastor said Yes; he is my son. The man said no wonder that anytime I hear him preaching, he preaches like you.
We also had someone join our church just because of what we have just mentioned. The person had seen one of our billboards in town that we were going to have a programme and he saw KICC and he had come from England to relocate to Nigeria and said to himself, really, does Pastor Mathew have a church in Lagos. And he concluded he was going there on Sunday. So, he came on Sunday and he came in and as he came in, I was going up to start to preach. So he was so disappointed that it wasn’t Pastor Mathew because he had left wherever he wanted to go to come there to hear Pastor Mathew preach. But it was too late for him to go back. So he had to sit out and listen to the sermon. And he said, when I started to speak, he was like Pastor Mathew that was speaking and that he couldn’t believe it. And that made him to be worshipping with us.
I think, as I don’t have any natural blood relationship with Pastor Mathew, he is the only spiritual father that I have known in my life. I won’t be surprised if I preach like him or I talk like him.
I listen to his messages on Sunday after we have done in our own services because of the time difference in the UK. KICC UK broadcast the UK service live, for one hour on KICC Nigeria.
So as I get into my office, I tune in and I hear his message because if you are feeding people you have to be fed. I hear him all the time and I ask him questions.