Prophet Isreal Oladele Ogundipe is the head Pastor of Genesis Global Church. He is popularly called Genesis Pastor.
Few days back, he was at the head office of City People Magazine at Gbagada, Lagos, where he met with City People Management, led by the Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE.
He revealed a lot about his Church, the relationship he shares with Rev. Esther Ajayi and about his upbringing in Oshodi. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Share with us why you have decided to be different from other Cele Churches?
One of the major problems of this generation is religiosity. We are too rigid and that rigidity has brought about enmity among religious leaders. I just want to be who I am because when I was coming from heaven God didn’t tell me go and be a Muslim or Christian.
I don’t want to claim any glory to myself and I don’t want to say this is who I am. I have been able to embrace the place of differentiation.
City People has been existing for many years and it has been from one level of glory to another. We are not traditionally-minded in Genesis Global; we are transitionally minded. I have been able to break out of the box as a leader. And I don’t want to say I belong to this church or other church.
I came to the ministry to serve. I just want to be who I am. That I am coming to my house or office or going to uncle’s house doesn’t mean I must wear something that would make them know that this person is a preacher, Prophet or Pastor. In the place of identity, we have to understand the simplicity.
There is a place I went yesterday, I prostrated for a king. They said you are a prophet, why would you prostrate for a king? If he’s your father or uncle would you say I shouldn’t prostrate? And I also showed to the person in the Bible where it was written honour your father and your mother, not only your father and mother but those who are older than you. That I prostrated does not mean my value prophetically is reducing and it is not that I am bigger than him, but because you can buy everything in the market but not experience.
Why name your church Genesis? Did God reveal the church should be called Genesis Global?
Yes, for every leader who is prophetic must be led prophetically or spiritually. God is spirit and those who serve Him in spirit and in truth. If you are not being led spiritually, you will take the wrong step as a leader.
When I came into the ministry that revelation came that the name of the church is going to be Genesis and what is the meaning of Genesis? The Beginning. There is nothing that will have continuity that will not have the beginning. God says He knows the end from the beginning, but won’t tell you what will happen in the middle.
Same question is what somebody asked me few days ago that why have I laid it down as a law that our church tithe must not be for me and must not be for the church, it must be for empowerment. I said God told me that, that the church tithe we are not sending to God; it is to help those who are in the church because the tithe does not belong to the church and so many Pastors started waging war against me but I am less bothered. One of the maxim of equity says he who wanted equity must come to equity with clean hands. I am not perfect, I am just 80 percent but I think I am still working on what God has given to me.
How do you react to those who criticise you, those who say he is not real and he is not being conventional in his approach?
Criticism is what fuels Glory. It is a problem not to have a problem. It is a challenge not to have a challenge. It’s a mistake not to make a mistake. Some are positive criticisms that would make you readjust. I will never react against what anyone sees about me that I am not doing right. The day you start getting it wrong is the day you believe everything you do is right. So some will correct you, criticise you positively. Trust me, I have learnt a lot from criticisms. But some of those criticisms are the reasons why I have always been careful; rebuilding myself, restrategising, breaking out of the box and embracing new things, but the major way to handle criticism is to ignore. Sometimes when I know what I am doing is right, and I have a conviction about what I am doing, I am less bothered about what anybody is going to say.
One of the attributes of a matured leader is to have the ability to ignore. Two things would not make anyone go far in life; sentiment and pity. Don’t pity me and I am not going to embrace sentiment. I know where I am going and in the journey of success, failure or falling is allowed, but my enemy rejoices not for if I fall I will rise. I have failed so many times. I have fallen many times. I have stepped on toes many times, and I told my brother when we were coming here that, if you want to step up, you need to step on toes. You have to ignore criticism and keep moving.
At your last Harvest programme, you said you don’t follow some of the doctrines of Cele Church and Rev. Esther Ajayi spoke about how she would bring Cele Church and C&S Church together. Don’t you think this will create some discrepancies between the two churches?
Celestial is a name, members have got to do with personalities. That I am a Celestial person does not mean Celestial is my surname. Some of the things we don’t do in Genesis, which we have done before. When I came in I saw it that it’s normal to go to the stream. It was normal you should tell someone you go to the stream and bath, but normally as at that time I just prayed to the sponge and hand it over to the person to go and bath.
When I started praying, I prayed for Grace to have that understanding and revelation that you don’t need to go to the stream before you have your miracle. What they called doctrines are not part of what Baba Oshoffa left. Because I was able to read the constitution.
Mama Esther Ajayi bringing Cele and C&S together has to do with unity. Not because of the doctrine; doctrine is out of it, because there is no way you want to talk about Christianity without Unity.
There is no Christianity without the God The Father, God The Son and The Holy Ghost. She brought that so that there won’t be any segregation.
Can you remember in the last few years when you felt like quitting the Ministry?
Oh yes!. You just asked the right question. Severally, because I am human. Even when Jesus was on the cross, He almost gave up, but because of the fulfilment of the word that He was meant to die for the world, He said let their will be done. Some of the time I had wanted to quit, like when had the pool and they started attacking me online. When Otunba Gani Adams came to the church, they started attacking me and when I stopped them from spraying money in the church.
When Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde came they also attacked me but I just said to myself that God sees my heart and I have not been doing anything to impress people, let me just handover to God. Severally, things would come to shake me and I realised all those things shaking me were as well making me. Those are the reasons why you need to concentrate on what you do that will make your mockers become your workers. When you are consistent in what you are doing and you are purpose-driven, you will do it to the point that those who are looking down on you will start looking up for you. On our Harvest day the DIG was there. He spoke well. He said he has been watching some of my videos before coming. So, I have had several ones like that. I just believe that it is not about you giving up, it is about you looking up. When you look up, you will get up.
And when you get up you get to the top and before you get to the top, you must become the topic. So, I have never given attention to my distractors because if you give attention to the devil, he would give you direction.
I learn every day. I learn from everybody. I just wrote my GCE this year and I am going to write my WAEC next year. I don’t want to buy result because I believe a short cut will lead to a short life. I want to sit down, wear my blue short and white shirt; that same Ebenezer Comprehensive High School where my parents were unable to pay for my WAEC that didn’t make me go to University, or Polytechnics. So, I got no certificate. And I have been telling people if you are deceiving your people, you are deceiving yourself. If I have been able to build myself to a certain stage and I now start saying I am a graduate of somewhere, I am lying. So, I want generations to know that at 45 it is still possible to write your WAEC and make your result.
And I want to study Law. Why am I studying Law? To teach members, not to have a Chambers. Because there is something holy spirit would not do. Ignorance is one of the things affecting this generation. The French will say ignorance of fact is no mistake.
Sometimes, we would do crusade and ask everyone to raise up their phones, before the end of the day, people would send money to you; you will see alert. I am not saying those who are owing you.
Probably, someone who just wants to bless you and it is not that I am super loaded but because God wants to honour my voice to prove to members He has called me. There was a day I was preaching in the church and said God wants to bless everybody before December; you are expecting alert and you are expecting money before December, raise up your phones and everybody started raising up their phones; you are expecting alert of 1 million, 2 million, if you don’t have bank account come out and half of the church came out and that is why I changed my sermon from that January. When I said you will receive alert and you don’t have bank account, where would the money come from? Ignorance is some of the things I want to try to eradicate.