Bishop Abraham Olaleye is the Presiding Bishop at the Pentecostal congregation Ilupeju in Lagos. He was 60 on the 6th of October, 2018. He was a past Vice-Chairman of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (Lagos State). He is married to a leading gospel artiste, Gbemi Olaleye.
Last week, he spoke to City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE about his new life @ 60. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Congratulations on your 60th birthday How do you feel?
I feel good and I feel challenged
What has life taught you at 60?
To depend on God, to love Him with all my heart, soul and body. To speak the truth in every circumstance
How did you celebrate it?
With family, friends, church members and our ministry partners
Tell us your story Where were you born and schools attended. Where did you grow up?
I was born on the 6th of October 1958 in Ikole Ekiti to Rev. John and Maria Olaleye in Holy Apostolic Church. I had my elementary education at LA West Ikole and Elizabeth Fowler Memorial School in Surulere Lagos. My secondary education was at St. Timothy’s College, Onike Yaba, Lagos. After I left high school, I had a brief stint at Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute Ikoyi, Lagos before joining National Bank Of Nigeria Limited where I worked before answering God’s call upon my life in 1983.
How did you start Gods work? What year did you get the call?
I had my call in 1978 but struggled before I submitted to God and started a full-time ministry in April 1983 as an itinerant minister. That was when Abraham’s Evangelistic Ministry was born. In 1986. We started the church arm of the ministry known as ‘The Pentecostal Congregation’.
After your call did you go to a theological school?
It will interest you know that I did not attend any theological training prior to my start off in ministry. By the grace of God, I have however received many honorary degrees and awards afterwards.
Tell us about your wife. How did you meet and got married?
My wife, Gbemi Olaleye is a trained Nurse and a recording Artiste with 14 Albums till date. I met her in 1986 at a choir festival of WOSEM in Amuwo Odofin. About a month later, we met again at another program in Lagos Island. We got married on Saturday 25th of April 1987 and we have been blessed with five children
Tell us about your relationship with Evangelist Ebenezer Obey & KSA?
I was privileged to meet Evang. Dr Ebenezer Obey in 1979 through my senior brother, David Olaleye. The Chief Commander, as he is called, has been used mightily by God to encourage me when I received my call as a young man. His encouragement and contributions in my ministry cannot be quantified. I was also privileged to serve as Pastor of Decross Fellowship for about four years. Not many know how much Dr Obey blessed many ministers and encouraged ministers of God. Little wonder the Lord blessed and raised his children who are carrying out great exploits in ministry. My encounter with King Sunny Ade was brief but great and that was during the time he worshipped with us in our church in 1994/95
You’ve been very active in the activities of PFN. What has your experience been?
My experience in PFN has been exciting as well as challenging. PFN is a big fellowship which has had her high and low moments. My time of service with Pastor Wale Adefarasin, the State Chairman and myself as the Vice was great.
In my estimations, things were low for PFN years back and that was because it had the opportunity to offer a quality spiritual leadership to the nation but missed it. I remember PFN was strong and influential and politicians would not even come after us. If a church had doctrinal errors or a tendency for filthy lucre, you don’t dare come near PFN. I am very glad that the State is bouncing back gradually into reckoning and influence through the quality leadership in the State with the last two excos. My prayers are that the church will be the salt and light of the world so that we can speak truth to the polity.
Tell us how you founded your ministry and what has kept it successful?
Our ministry was founded by the word of God, a true and total commitment to New Testament teachings. Neither the ministry nor the local church began with any special ceremony but we simply launched out by faith and the result in 36 years has been great globally. Strict adherence to the authentic gospel has kept the ministry strong and stable. God has helped us to focus on the Jesus message as we do not allow the message to be tainted with syncretism. The Jesus message may not attract the crowd but it builds a lasting ministry and impact.