Bishop David O. Oyedepo is a Nigerian Christian author, preacher and the founder of Living Faith Church World Wide, popularly known as Winner’s Chapel, and its affiliated international churches known as Winners Chapel International, with headquarters in Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. Faith Tabernacle, of which he is the senior pastor is a 50,000 seat church auditorium, reported to be the largest single church auditorium in the world by the Guinness Book of Records. Forbes magazine has reported him to be the richest pastor in Nigeria with a net worth of about $150 million.
Bishop David Oyedepo as fondly called “Papa” by his congregation is a distinguished man of God. Here are some things you should know about this great servant of God.
Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo was born in Osogbo on the 27th of September 1954, but is a native of Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria. His clan, Odo-oro (place of wealth) and family lineage believes in hard work. He was raised in a mixed religious family, his father, Ibrahim, was a Muslim healer. His mother, Dorcas, was a member of the Eternal Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement (C&S), a branch of the Aladura movement in Nigeria. He was raised by his grandmother in Osogbo who was a devout Anglican. It was his grand mother that inculcated in him the virtues of Christian life. She also dug a spiritual foundation for him, upon which he has built his life and ministry today.
Bishop Oyedepo was born again on February 19, 1969 when he was only 15 years old, through the influence of his missionary teacher, one Ms. Betty Lasher, who took special interest in him during his secondary school days. He first shared the gospel in March 1970 and he has not looked back since then. Having rejected a charm his father gave him, he developed whitlow on a finger on his right hand. As a secondary school student, he once challenged God to heal him of tuberculosis after his mates shifted their beds away from him, and he was healed.
Very little is known about his primary and secondary school education, but Bishop Oyedepo studied Architecture at Kwara State Polytechnic now Kwara State University and worked briefly with the Federal Ministry of Housing in Ilorin before resigning to concentrate on missionary work. He also gained a Ph.D in Human Development from Honolulu University, Hawaii, United States of America.
Marriage and Family Life
Bishop David Oyedepo is married to Pastor Faith Abiola Oyedepo, formerly Florence Abiola Akanoin who he met when he was 22 at a motor park. They were married in 1982 and have four children; two boys and two girls; David Jnr., Isaac, Love and Joyce. His sons were ordained as pastors by Kenneth Copeland in May 2007.
Pastor David Oyedepo jnr. is married to Kemi Olubu-Oyedepo and have 2 beautiful kids (a boy and girl) from their 6-year union. Pastor Oyedepo Jnr. heads the London branch of Winners Chapel and is also the Regional Overseer of the European Network of churches.
Pastor Isaac Oyedepo is currently in charge of the Winners Chapel International, South Africa. He tied the knot in 2010 with Ayomitide Omogbadegun and is blessed with 2 children from the four-year marriage.
Love Oyedepo-Ogah is also deeply involved in her fathers ministry although she is not ordained a pastor yet. She got married a while ago to her husband in a lavish wedding ceremony. Her husband, Stephen Ogah is one of Bishop Oyedepo’s personal aides.
Joyce Oyedepo, the last born of the Oyedepo family is a product of Faith Academy school owned by her father. Joyce is currently studying in America and has certain functions she performs in church during her stay in Nigeria.
Ordination and Early Ministry
Bishop Oyedepo received a mandate from God through an 18-hour vision in May 1981, to liberate the world from all oppression of the devil through the preaching of the word of faith. This is the inaugural vision that led to the founding of the Living Faith Church World Wide, first called Liberation Faith Hour Ministries, in 1981. Two years later, on September 17, 1983, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), ordained David and his wife to become pastors and officially commissioned the new church. Five years after his ordination as a pastor, Bishop Oyedepo was ordained as Bishop in 1988.
Living Faith Church started in Kaduna but moved to Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria in July 1989 and blossomed from there.
Bishop David Oyedepo’s Faith Tabernacle, Ota, which he heads, seats 50,000. It is reported to be the largest church auditorium in the world, bench marked in the Guinness Book of Records in 2008 and 2009. it was built within 12 months, debt free, a feat which many describe as only a “miracle” as it should take at least three years to complete such edifice. This 50,000-seat edifice was dedicated on September 18, 1999 under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
His programme “Shiloh” which is nicknamed the “gathering of millions” because of the crowd always in attendance, is hosted by this beautiful auditorium every year.
Faith Tabernacle, popularly known as, Canaan land is in Ota, Ogun state and is the 5,000-acre (20 km2) estate and campus, that houses The 50,000 church building, the church secretariat, the church’s youth chapel, a primary school called Kingdom heritage model school, a full boarding mission secondary school called Faith Academy, with over 1,500 students and the Covenant University facilities, which accommodates over 7,000 students, fully resident in ultra-modern hostel facilities, with fully equipped faculty buildings and numerous staff housing facilities. Canaan land campus also has for profit establishments operated by the church such as a bakery, a bottled water processing plant, a petrol station, various restaurants and shopping stores, several residential houses that provide for the over 2,000 church employees, and guest houses. Four banks are also present on this Estate, three of which are branches of external commercial banks and one which is a community and micro-finance bank operated by the Church. The whole of Canaan land which includes a proposed 15,000 housing estate known as Canaan City had increased to 17,000 acres as at 2012.
Dominion Publishing House (DPH)
Bishop Oyedepo has written over 70 Christian, inspirational and motivational books owing to the fact that the church also operates its own publishing house, called Dominion Publishing House (DPH), commissioned on December 5, 1992 which has also published mini books, magazines and other resources. DPH has over 4 million prints in circulation to date. He is the Chairman/Publisher of Dominion Publishing House (DPH). Some of his Best Selling books include; Pillars of Faith, Born to Win, Possessing your Possession amongst others.
Kingdom Heritage Model School, Canaan land, Ota
Kingdom Heritage Model School, Canaanland, Ota is a private school (crèche – primary), born out of a vision given to Bishop David Oyedepo by God. The school came to fulfillment on the 13th of January, 2003. and was dedicated to God same day and in that dedication service, God’s servant announced that the essence of setting up this great institution is to raise high-ranking spiritual giants that will bring honour and dignity to their fatherland. One hundred and fifty pupils registered into their various classrooms on resumption.
The school, is the secondary counterpart of the KHMS, having an impeccable vision of raising a breed of intellectually and spiritually sound future leaders, took off on the 25th of October 1999 and graduated her first set of student from the Senior Secondary School by 2003/2004 session.
The facilities on ground now were there before inception and they are a practical display of sound architectural and engineering skills. The school layout comprises the following structures and facilities:
- 80 classrooms for junior Secondary (JS) and Senior Secondary (SS) schools.
- 2,400-seater dining hall
- 2,400 capacity Boys and Girls Hostels with orbit fans and water heaters
- An ultra-modern ADMINISTRATIVE Block with a standard fully air condition Board Room.
- An ultra-modern, well-equipped, multi-Purpose Science Laboratory, which can comfortably sit 95 students at a time.
- Well-equipped Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics Laboratories, each of which can comfortably sit a minimum of 60 students at a time.
- A well equipped home Economics Laboratory
- A music laboratory with modern musical instruments
- An Introductory Technology Workshop for wood-work, metal-work and auto-mechanics.
- An Ultra modern computer center with 50 units of computers
- Fully- air condition ultra modern library complex.
- A standard sick bay.
- A mini-stadium (sports complex) under construction
- Fully air-condition staff rooms.
- A modern cold room for the storage of food items in the kitchen.
He has set up three universities without government assistance; Covenant University, Ota, Landmark University at Omu Aran and Crown University at Calabar. Covenant University was ranked second of all federal, state and private universities in Nigeria and 25th in Africa in July 2014 Webometric Ranking.
Bishop David Oyedepo Ministries International include; four private jets, estates, restaurants, shopping stores, bakery, processing plants, commercial properties and educational institutions etc.
Awards and Recognitions
His awards include; International Who is Who of Intellectuals, 13th Edition of International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England and Inscribed in the Jerusalem 3000 Scroll #102268 among others. He was also named in 2011 by Forbes Magazine as the richest pastor in Nigeria, worth over $150 million. He is presently the president of World Mission Agency Incorporated (WMA), a Christian Ministry Organisation with mission stations in over 40 African nations, also in Europe, Jamaica and America.
His hobbies include; reading, reasoning, planning and writing. He is a strong critic of corruption in Africa as a whole and poor leadership in government.