Bishop David Oyedepo (born September 27, 1954) is a Nigerian preacher, Christian author, pastor, architect, and the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, popularly known as Winner’s Chapel.
Winner’s Chapel is affiliated with international churches and is known as Winners Chapel International, with its headquarters in Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. Faith Tabernacle, the church’s headquarters, of which Oyedepo is the senior pastor, is a 50,000-capacity church auditorium. It was reported to be the largest single church auditorium in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.
Bishop David Oyedepo, fondly called “Papa” by his congregation, is a distinguished man of God. He has several establishments, most of which are in the church’s name. Oyedepo is the founder and Chancellor of Landmark University, Kwara State, and Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State. The 68-year-old man of God started his journey of the Christian faith at the age of 15. Here’s a detailed look at his life accomplishments and a rundown of how he rose from nothing to where he is today.
Bishop David Oyedepo is From Kwara State, Nigeria
Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo was born on September 27, 1954, in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. However, she is a native of Omu-Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria. His clan, Odo-oro (place of wealth), and family lineage believe in hard work.
He was raised in a mixed religious family; his father, Ibrahim, was a Muslim healer; while 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. It is surprising how a child born to such parents turned out to be a pastor. This was the handiwork of his grandmother as he was raised by his grandmother in Osogbo, who was a devout Anglican. It was his grandmother that inculcated in him the virtues of the Christian life. She also dug a spiritual foundation for him, upon which he has built his life and ministry today.
The Man of God Studied Both in Nigeria and the United States
Very little is known about his primary and secondary school education, but he had them in Nigeria. For his tertiary education, Bishop Oyedepo studied Architecture at Kwara State Polytechnic, now Kwara State University. He worked briefly with the Federal Ministry of Housing in Ilorin before resigning to concentrate on missionary work. He also acquired a Ph.D. in Human Development from Honolulu University, Hawaii, United States of America.
After School, He Worked for the Federal Government of Nigeria
As already mentioned, and as is the dream of every young Nigerian graduate to gain employment after school, he was lucky to have secured employment. Oyedepo worked in the Federal Ministry of Housing, Ilorin, for a while before quitting to give more time to his religious calling. He took the bold step and is enjoying the fruits of his labor as the richest pastor in Nigeria and one of the richest in Africa and the World.
David Oyedepo Started His Journey in the Christian Faith and Became Born Again at the age of 15
Bishop Oyedepo was born again on February 19, 1969, when he was only 15 years old. He received this call through the influence of his missionary teacher, Ms. Betty Lasher, who took a 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.
At 27, Bishop David Oyedepo Began His Ministry in 1981
Oyedepo’s ministry began in 1981 after an 18-hour vision he received in May 1981. In this vision, according to him, God gave him the mandate to preach the word of faith and liberate the world from the oppression of the devil. This vision led to the founding and inauguration of the Living Faith Church World Wide (LFCW), first called Liberation Faith Hour Ministries, in 1981.
His journey in the ministry was started with his wife. Two years after he founded his church, he was ordained, alongside his wife, Florence Abiola Akano, who is now known as Faith Abiola Oyedepo, to become pastors by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Adeboye also commissioned the new church five years after their ordination.
Again, five years later, David Oyedepo was made a Bishop by Pastor Adeboye. His church, also known as the Winners Chapel, began to flourish. The church started in Kaduna but moved to Lagos, the then capital of Nigeria, in July 1989. Today he boasts of a whole lot of other achievements. Bishop David Oyedepo Ministries International owns; Canaanland, four private jets, estates, restaurants, shopping stores, bakery, processing plants, commercial properties, educational institutions, etc.
At 68, David Oyedepo Is One of the Most Accomplished Ministers in Nigeria
The man of God has attained great heights which many can only dream of. By this, he qualified as the richest pastor in Nigeria and among the top in Africa and the world. Below are some of his life accomplishments that earned him this position and status today.
He Single-Handedly Built the Faith Tabernacle, Ota
Bishop David Oyedepo’s Faith Tabernacle, Ota, is a magnificent building that can contain 50,000 people. It is reported to be the largest church auditorium in the world, benchmarked in the Guinness Book of Records in 2008 and 2009. It was built within the space of 12 months, without any debt, 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.
Popularly known as Canaanland, the Faith Tabernacle is located in Ota, Ogun State, and is the 5,000-acre (20 km2) estate and campus that houses the following;
- 50,000-seater 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, accommodating over 7,000 students, fully resident in ultra-modern hostel facilities, with fully equipped faculty buildings and numerous staff housing facilities.
- The Canaanland estate has some profit establishments that are operated by the church. These establishments are
- A bakery
- A bottled water processing plant
- A petrol station
- Various restaurants and shopping stores
- Several residential houses provide for over 2,000 church employees and guesthouses.
- 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 Canaanland, which includes a proposed 15,000 housing estate known as Canaan City, was increased to 17,000 acres as of 2012. The Canaan City housing project was also achieved, and today, many own houses in Canaan City.
He Owns Two Universities in Nigeria
Papa founded two universities without government assistance in Nigeria. They are Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, and Landmark University at Omu Aran, Kwara State. Covenant University was ranked second out of all the federal, state, and private universities in Nigeria and 25th in Africa in the July 2014 Webometric Ranking. These two great institutions give preference to Winners church members. It has produced a lot of graduates, among whom are notable Nigerians.
David Oyedepo Also Founded Primary and Secondary Institutions
Also contained in Canaanland are primary and secondary schools. These he founded to bring the children in the way of the Lord and prepare them for future leadership. These schools and their makeup are contained in the following headings.
Kingdom Heritage Model School, Canaan land, Ota
Kingdom Heritage Model School (KHMS), Canaanland, Ota, is a private nursery and primary school (from crèche to primary). It was born out of a vision given to Bishop David Oyedepo by God. The school came into existence on January 13, 2003, and was dedicated to God the same day. 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 honor and dignity to their fatherland. One hundred and fifty pupils registered into their various classrooms on resumption. And it has continued to produce great minds to date.
The Faith Academy is the secondary counterpart of the KHMS, having an impeccable vision of raising a breed of intellectually and spiritually sound future leaders. The school started operation on October 25, 1999, and graduated her first set of students from the Senior Secondary School in the 2003/2004 session.
The facilities on the ground now were there before inception, and they are a practical display of sound architectural and engineering skills. The school was moved to a new site to make space for the Ark. The relocation cost the ministry N4 billion. 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-conditioned Board Room.
- An ultra-modern, well-equipped, and multi-purpose Science Laboratory, which can comfortably contain 95 students at a time.
- Well-equipped Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Laboratories, each of which can comfortably accommodate 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 woodwork, metalwork, and auto-mechanics.
- An Ultra-modern computer center with 50 units of computers
- The fully air-conditioned ultra-modern library complex
- A standard sickbay
- A mini-stadium (sports complex) under construction
- Fully air-conditioned staff rooms.
- A modern cold room for the storage of food items in the kitchen.
He Hosts One of the Highly Attended Church programs in Nigeria
His program “Shiloh,” which is nicknamed the “gathering of millions” because of the crowd always in attendance, is hosted in Canaanland every year. Every December, in the first week, the Living Faith Church World Wide, also known as Winners Chapel, organizes this global event. It is attended by many in Nigeria and abroad, and it was drawn from the books of 1samuel 1:3 and Joshua 18:1.
Oyedepo Owns a Publishing House and Other Businesses
Bishop Oyedepo is a writer and has authored over 70 Christian, inspirational, and motivational books. The church also owns and operates its own publishing house, Dominion Publishing House (DPH). This establishment was commissioned on December 5, 1992, and has also published mini books, magazines, and other resources. DPH has over 4 million prints in circulation to date. David Oyedepo is the Chairman and Publisher of Dominion Publishing House (DPH).
List of Some of Oyedepo’s Books
Some of Bishop Oyedepo’s bestselling books include the following
- Pillars of Faith, Born to Win
- Possessing your Possession
- Not By Power Nor By Might
- Winning the War Against Poverty
- Understanding the Power of Praise
- Commanding the Supernatural
- Understanding Financial Prosperity
- Exploring the Riches of Redemption
- Winning Invisible Battles
- Breaking Financial Hardship
- The Wisdom that Works
He is the Founder of Bishop David Oyedepo Foundation (DOF)
The David Oyedepo Foundation is a Christian non-profit organization that is committed to reaching out to the less privileged across Africa to bring about change to the economy of Africa as a continent and the rest of the world.
The foundation offers a scholarship program to individuals who are willing to acquire a first degree at the prestigious Landmark University and Covenant University in Nigeria. The scholarship covers the full academic fees for the 5-year duration of the study. Also, in some categories, it covers travel and living expenses for the duration of the course of study. Beneficiaries of the DOF scholarship awards are called the David Oyedepo Foundation Scholar (DOF Scholar).
His Awards and Recognitions So Far
Bishop David Oyedepo is a reputable man of God. His contributions to humanity have earned him some awards. Some of these awards include the following.
- He was awarded the International Who is Who of Intellectuals 13th Edition by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
- He was inscribed in the Jerusalem 3000 Scroll #102268
- Global Care International awarded him Man of Dignity,
- Frontline Christian Author by ECOWAS in the ECOWAS International Gold Awards
- 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 in Europe, Jamaica, and America.
- Doctor of Divinity by the Bethel Graduate School of Technology, Riverside, California,
- Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Education
- Fellow of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria
In 1982, at 28, David Oyedepo Got Married to Florence Abiola Akano
Bishop David Oyedepo got married to Pastor Faith Abiola Oyedepo, formerly named Florence Abiola Akano. The duo met at a motor park when he was 22 years old. They nurtured the relationship until 1982, when they finally tied the knot. They have lived in union and harmony all these years and still live together. Their marriage is a good example they have set for their children and congregation.
Their union is blessed with four children; two boys and two girls. They are David Jnr., Isaac, Love, and Joyce. His sons were ordained as pastors by Kenneth Copeland in May 2007.
Pastor Oyedepo’s Children are as Successful as Their Father
Having come from a family where both parents are pastors, the children are positively influenced, and some wish to be like their parents. Such is the case with Pastor Enoch Adeboye, whose four children all became pastors. The sons born to Bishop Oyedepo took after him and became pastors.
Pastor David Oluwamakinde Oyedepo Jnr. is the family’s first son. Born on June 1, 1983, he was named after his father because of the injunction his father received at his birth “Another Warrior has come.” He got married to Kemi Olubu-Oyedepo in 2008, and they are blessed with two beautiful kids (a boy and a girl). Pastor Oyedepo Jnr. once headed the London branch of Winners Chapel and is now the resident pastor at the church’s headquarters. He occupies the position of vice-president of the Living Faith Church, making him the youngest vice-president.
Pastor Isaac Oyedepo was in charge of the Winners Chapel International, South Africa. And now, he is in charge of the Winner’s Chapel International, Maryland, USA. He got married in 2010 to Ayomitide Omogbadegun, and they are blessed with four children from their 12-year-old marriage. Their children are Israel, Queen Esther, Joshua, and Peace.
Love Oyedepo-Ogah is also deeply involved in her father’s ministry, although she is not ordained a pastor yet. She is the third child of the family and is often seen on mission trips alongside her mother. She got married in 2013 to her husband in a lavish wedding ceremony. Her husband, Stephen Ogah, is one of Bishop Oyedepo’s aides. She gave birth to her first child in 2015. Love is the head of Covenant University Consultancy Services.
Joyce Priscilla Oyedepo, the last child of the Oyedepo family, studied at Faith Academy, the school owned by her father. Joyce also studied in America and has certain functions she performs in church during her stay in Nigeria. She is a speaker and writer and the head of the foundation called Women of the God Kind. Joyce tied the knot with Abimbola Abodunrin in August 2020.
Summary of Bishop David Oyedepo’s Major Age Milestones
At the age of 68, Bishop David Oyedepo has achieved great feats and now occupies the position of the richest pastor in Nigeria and one of the richest in Africa and the world at large. Here is a summary of some of his age milestones and the journey from nothing to his current position.
- At the age of 15, he became a born-again Christian
- At 16, he preached the gospel for the first time
- When he was 27 years old, he founded the Living Faith Church World Wide, also called Winner’s Chapel.
- He tied the Knot with his wife at the age of 28
- The man of God became a father at 29 years of age
- He became a pastor at 29 same years his church was commissioned by Pastor Adeboye.
- At the age of 34, he was made a bishop by Pastor Enoch Adeboye
Some Controversies Oyedepo Has Been Involved In
As one of the most famous people in Nigeria, David has been yoked in many scandals. This is bound to happen considering his status in society. Some of these scandals are money-related, while others are about other aspects of life. Let’s take a tour of some of these controversies to find out how he was involved in them and how he came out of them.
The Beating of Journalists and Ogun State Officials
In September 2013, members of the Winner’s Chapel assaulted some officials from the Ogun State Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning alongside two journalists who came with them. These government officials were at the church headquarters to serve the building inspection notices. Reports had it that the journalists were highly beaten, their cameras were seized and destroyed, and the recordings erased. They also reported that David Oyedepo was there at the time of the assault but didn’t do anything.
The outcome of this case was that the church was charged to take up the hospital bills of the victims, replace the damaged cameras and other items, and convict the five church members who were pointed out. They denied the claims of the founder being present at the scene. In addition, Oyedepo said that those members would be sanctioned by the church when they return from police custody.
David Urging His Church Members to Kill
In 2017, a video circulated Nigeria where Pastor Oyedepo urged his church members to kill any Muslim found around the church premises. In the video, he said that the Boko Haram sect sent a message that his church was the next to be attacked. He urged the church to pray and call down fire on these people and on the government officials who are sponsoring them. He then added that whenever they see the sect around the church, they should kill them and their blood. When the spread of the video raised alarm in the country, the church came to his defense.
In their defense, they said that the video was not recent and was not a response to the Southern Kaduna killings. They said that the video was from 2015 in the wake of the Boko Haram crisis. With this, the video was declared fake and did not address the issue in the country at that time.
Gate of Hell Controversy
January 2015 saw the controversy between Bishop Oyedepo and APC members and supporters. David visited the then President Goodluck Jonathan before the 2015 elections. During his visit, his comments sparked insults and bad comments from the APC group. The people reported that he threatened to open the gates of hell on those who are opposing Goodluck Jonathan. While some opposition party members were dishing out insults on him and attacking him, others said that the comment was not a cause for alarm as the APC members were happy when Fr Mbaka spoke against Jonathan.
However, the Winner’s Chapel founder and the president denied making such a statement. He said that he stated that he would open the gate of hell on those who are opposing Nigeria. He also asked the church to pray for Nigeria for a violent-free election.
Sacked Winner’s Chapel Pastors
In 2021, it was reported that the Winner’s Chapel sacked 40 pastors on June 25 with the excuse of not generating enough income. One of the pastors who were sacked opened up to the media about the issue. His name is Peter Edwin, and he reported that he was issued a letter alongside other pastors at a meeting they were invited for. On opening the letter, it was a sack letter. He asked the management their reason for laying them off, and the reply he got was that the church does not operate at a loss.
They said he was supposed to generate the money that would be used to cater for his expenses in his church branch. In a reaction by David Oyedepo, he said that their reason for sacking the pastors was not based on money. However, he said that those pastors failed in their duties and were not fruitful, and the church does not have patience with failure.