There is no doubt that Pastors abound in the country. Everywhere you turn; you will find churches and fire branding, eloquent men of God running those churches. Many of them stand out for various reasons, each with its own uniqueness. But one of the men of God whose incredible exploits stood him out from the very start of his ministerial career is the irrepressible and charismatic man of God, Bishop (Dr.) Tom Samson. He is the presiding Bishop and General Overseer of CHRIST ROYAL FAMILY INTERNATIONAL Church. Many will remember him as that spirit-filled and energetic man of God that shook Lagos and its environs with his annual explosive programme, “IT IS WAR!” He only just held this year’s edition of the usually power-packed programme last week and it was, as expected, explosive and filled with breath-taking testimonies.
For about eighteen years running, the hugely respected and popular man of God has been declaring war against all manner of satanic assaults, foundation problems, captivity, poverty, oppression, etc. with “IT IS WAR!” And he has recorded outstanding testimonies, for himself, the church and the participants of the programme. The success of “IT IS WAR!” has been phenomenal. It shot not just the name of Bishop (Dr) Tom Samson into the consciousness of Nigerians, it also projected his church, Christ Royal Family International Church, to Nigerians, Africans and the world at large. Two weeks ago, City People Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL, visited him at his Egbeda branch of the church last week. He was in the middle of a ministration. The church was filled to capacity and the congregation was clearly enthralled in the Bishop’s sermon. Dressed in a pair of Jean trousers and a black Tee-shirt, and looking as handsome as he’s always been all these years, Bishop Tom Samson’s commanding presence on the pulpit is, without a shred of doubt, incontestable. Even if you were seeing him for the first time, you will definitely want to listen to him. And to put the icing on the cake, he’s an extremely good talker. He knows how to get the attention of his congregation and hold them spellbound. His honesty, truthfulness and openness to his church are perhaps some of his greatest strengths. He is always truthful with them. He tells them everything about his past without holding anything back. They were enjoying every minute of his preaching. We asked him to tell us how he started his ministry.
“We started Christ Royal Family International 30 years ago with just about 9 members in Egbeda in this very place (referring to the church auditorium) where the very first building of the church now sits. Many of those who started with us have had their lives transformed by the church. Some have moved on to be on their own but they are still very much part of us while others are not really with us. That is life, it is not everyone that you start with that will remain with you to the very end,” he explained. Clearly, Bishop Tom Samson is very proud of what they have achieved so far despite all the odds stacked against them in the beginning. “Today, the church has gone international, impacting communities and nations worldwide,” he added. “The church has over fifteen branches in Lagos alone and many branches as well in London, Canada, America and several parts of Europe. It also has a 100 Acre city in Ota on which it’s College of Educations and the proposed Monarch University whose approval is expected to come later this year.”
The education-loving man of God also is also the founder of about fifteen Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools spread across Lagos and Ogun State. He is also the founder of a hospital equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, a printing press, water factory. Incredibly, Bishop (Dr) Tom Samson has a foundation with construction equipment that helps communities rehabilitate so many roads, provide transformers for needy communities, sink boreholes got a handful of schools of international standards to its credit.
But how difficult were things at the beginning, we asked him? “Tough, very tough. I remember there were times we couldn’t even raise N200,000 in this place, it was that bad. The power of God was moving, and people were getting delivered from the shackles of poverty and demonic captivity, but we still lacked sufficient resources to do many of the things we needed to do. But God has been faithful. Through him, we have raised men who have stood by the church and supported us through the years. A lot of people wonder how we do the things we do, it is through the help of the people God has raised from the church since we started. Once we embark on any project, God will raise men and women who will serve as our financial rocks.”
So, how was he able to finally turn things around? “It wasn’t me, it was God. And he used “IT IS WAR!” to turn things around for the church. “IT IS WAR!” brought the church its biggest breakthrough. We started the “IT IS WAR!” programme in Lagos about 18 years ago at the Lagos Airport Hotel. Lagosians woke up one morning to see the streets of Lagos flooded with posters of me wearing military camouflages, ready to declare war against all satanic activities in the land and free God’s people from all shackles of satanic captivity, oppression and poverty. It was a huge success. There were too many people in bondage, too many Christians battling to break the yokes of poverty, too many satanic agents troubling the children of God and God said go and deliver my children and declare war against the forces of darkness.”
Radio stations, newspapers, magazines, and especially television stations had a field day running the promotional adverts for the programme. The highly energetic Bishop was seen on various stations jumping from a helicopter in military camouflage, landing on the ground and walking out from fire to declare war on Satan and his agents.
What would he say were the high points of and massive testimonies of “IT IS WAR!”? According to the Bishop, “IT IS WAR” has recorded boundless testimonies ever since its inception. “It has raised men. It has transformed lives. We have impacted people’s lives. And many of these people, in turn, give back to the ministry. People have often wondered where we get the money to do things we do like expansion, creating more branches, rehabilitation of roads, and so on, it is from the kindness and generosity of those whose lives have been transformed by the church. Many of our members who had problems travelling o the United States, UK, and Canada, they are now citizens of these great countries. The concept of “IT IS WAR!” is to break the yoke of the devil over people’s lives. There are demonic powers frustrating the people, even the nation, preventing the people from reaching their full potential. This is what “IT IS WAR!” was set out to fight.”
“The concept of “IT IS WAR!” is liberating people from demonic strongholds. I came from a family held down by a demonic stronghold. They didn’t marry in my family, and the children didn’t succeed until gave my life to Christ in 1985, and that began my journey to the University. I listened to the likes of Idahosa and met Oyakhilome after my salvation. Indeed, God raised me to set the captives free. Some people have asked, why war? It’s not a physical war. The Bible says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty through God to be pulling down the stronghold. Through “IT IS WAR!” I have seen Inspector General of Police, I have military General succeed and excel in their careers. I have seen politicians excel through prayers and “IT IS WAR!” At this year’s programme, we dealt with all the enemies of our nation. We launched a massive war against all satanic agents troubling God’s children. It was a massive success. It will shock many to know that it was through “IT IS WAR!” that I got the opportunity to travel out of the country for ministration for the first time. There were four American ministers of God in the country during the first “IT IS WAR!” programme whose flights were delayed then. They came for a programme in Nigeria and were supposed to travel back to America but their flight was delayed and that was how they got to know about “IT IS WAR!” They saw the fliers of “IT IS WAR!” and the Lord ministered to them to take me to the United States.”
“They came to Makinde in Ikeja where I was ministering and were impressed with what they saw, seeing the manifestations of the power of God, how people were rolling on the floor, vomiting all kinds of demonic materials and getting delivered. They wanted me to come over to the United States to join them in a conference and they prayed to God to direct them to be sure if I was a truly anointed man of God because of the stories they had about Nigerians. And they received a positive response from the Lord and a couple of weeks after, my wife and I received our passports and visas and shortly afterwards, we were in the United States. And that was how I started going to the United States every year, ministering in different states and building branches all over America, Canada and Europe. So, it is through “IT IS WAR!” I got my breakthrough. We built a Tower in Ikeja, and it was built in just six months. This is how this programme has run for several years. So, when something is productive and changing people’s lives, it will stand the test of time because it has the touch of God, it is not fake. From “IT IS WAR!” we started building a city, building schools. And I am trusting that this year’s edition will prove to be even more powerful than all the previous editions, that is the promise of God.”
And how about his childhood, what kind of family did he come from? He replied: “I come from a very large family. Loving family but the poverty was too much. And the spiritual battles we had to fight were many. In my family, no man had ever paid dowry on a woman, I was the first to break that yoke and I had many seniors ahead of me. My position in the family is far. There was no graduate. I was also the first to go to university. I could only achieve all of these after I gave my life to Christ. I started this ministry, declaring war against agents of darkness in 1986 when I was I the university in Ekpoma, Abraka. We started then as merely Campus Fellowship. The vision God gave me was setting the captives free. I gave my life in 1985 and gained admission to the university in 1985/86. Then I used to watch Arch Bishop Idahosa on television. I met people like Pastor Chris Oyakhilome in Ekpoma, operating a healing ministry. I followed them. I saw the move of God in Ekpoma. When people like Oyakhilome were in their final year, I was still in my year one or two, moving from village to village and God was using me to deliver captives. Give me a marine person, they will be vomiting. That was where I started my journey from and I thank God for where we are today, though the journey has not been easy.”
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