Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (universally known as Pastor Chris) is the founding president of Christ Embassy (aka Believers’ LoveWorld), an evangelical Christian ministry with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.
His ministry is, however, more expansive and international in nature. It includes a healing school and a global daily devotional known as “Rhapsody of Realities”. But there are many other little-known facts and titbits about Pastor Chris. We bring you ten of the best ones in this in-depth look at the man and his ministry
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Biography
Chris Oyakhilome was born into the family of Tim Oyakhilome on December 7, 1961. Born and raised in Edo State, Nigeria, he is the eldest son of his parents. He attended Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma in Edo State and also holds a PhD degree.
Pastor Chris has a younger brother, Pastor Ken Oyakhilome, who is also a prominent member of the Beliver’s Love World Inc. Pastor Ken was formerly the pastor of the South African branch of the church. He’s currently the overseer of the church’s branch at Texas.
Another member of the Pastor Chris’ family is Katty Worghiren (nee Oyakhilome). She is the mega preacher’s younger sister and currently the director of the Loveworld Music Ministry, Loveworld Creative Arts Academy and the Loveworld Children Ministry.
Chris Oyakhilome started his Christian ministry while studying at Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma in Nigeria’s Edo state. His ministry initially started as the Believers’ Loveworld Fellowship and would later become the Believers Loveworld Inc. Today the ministry has millions of followers and associates all around the world.
Over the years, Pastor Chris’s faith healing claims has courted controversy. His claims that he can use faith to heal medical conditions including HIV/AIDS have caused controversy and attracted widespread criticism all over the world.
In 2011, South Africa’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the Christ Embassy church from airing claims of faith healing following a complaint filed by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). TAC claimed that Pastor Chris’ church used television and other media to spread false claims that people attending their services could be healed of various diseases including heart disease and HIV/AIDS.
TAC even presented evidence that a woman who had been infected with an extreme variant of drug-resistant TB stopped taking her medication after Christ Embassy church in Johannesburg convinced her that she had been cured. TAC said the woman died later and even infected her own children with the deadly disease.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is also a prolific author with a formidable sales machine. A significant proportion of his personal fortune comes from book sales. This should be easy to see as he has a formidable sales machine at hand that many other inspirational book writers do not have. His well-publicized healing and miracle meetings attract tens of thousands and this is where you will find his books and inspirational messages in the form of audio CDs and DVDs on sale.
The Nigerian televangelist is the most followed African personality on Twitter. The preacher certainly knows the power of social media and he has already racked up over 1,316,000 followers on the social micro-blogging site: Twitter.
According to Twitterholic.com, this ranks his account (@PastorChrisLive) first in Africa by followers and 1,268th in the world. Another interesting twitter fact about Pastor Chris is, unlike other influential Twitter users such as Barack Obama who themselves follow thousands of other “Tweeps”, the Reverend does not follow a single person! By December 01, 2013; @PastorChrisLive had tweeted 1,356 updates.
He also has his own social networking site called Yookos. As if being at the forefront of using mainstream social networking media to spread the Christian gospel wasn’t enough, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome owns and operates his own social media website known as Yookos.
His Wife, Children
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome was married to Rev. Anita Ebhodaghe, who was formerly a partner in his ministry and extensive business interests.
Following their marriage in 1991, the two had two daughters together before their shocking divorce after 25 years of living together as husband and wife.
Things began falling apart in the marriage until on April 9, 2014, when Anita filed for divorce at the Central Family Court in London. The pair officially finalized their divorce on February 8, 2016. They are decided to share custody of their two daughters after the separation.
Prior to their separation, Anita was a pioneer member of the Believer’s Loveworld, a legally registered trustee of the BLW in Nigeria and UK. Anita was also a member of the church’s Central Executive Council (the governing arm of the church) and the head of Christ Embassy church in London.
Her father is a Nigerian while her mother is from Switzerland. She is the first daughter in a family of five. She went back to her maiden name – Anita Ebhodaghe Schafer – after separating from her husband.
Rev. Anita Odegwa Oyakhilome studied at Ambrose Alli University, formerly Edo State
University, Ekpoma, where majored in the English Language. It was at the same university that she met her husband, Pastor Chris.
The couple’s two children are Sharon Oyakhilome and Charlyn Oyakhilome (born 1995). Charlyn and her elder sister, Carissa Sharon, popularly known as CSO, live in the United Kingdom with their mother.
Sharon is currently making waves as a gospel singer. In November 2017, she got engaged to her Dutch-born Ghanaian best friend, Philip Frimpong who was raised in the UK.
House, Private Jet, Cars
Nigeria’s mega-rich pastors are known to lead lavish lifestyles epitomized by shuttling about in private jets. As it is with most billionaire pastors, spying on the exact luxury properties that belong to Pastor Chris is not usually an easy task.
However, we gathered that the jerry-curl billionaire preacher has a fleet of cars, two private jets and a residence – Oregun – in Lagos. The four-story building is also called the “White House” and boasts a penthouse.
The house, according to reports, has been remodelled severally. Almost all materials for its interior and exterior decoration were said to have been imported from abroad.
Famed for truly having a knack for flashy things, Pastor Chris also has a fleet of expensive cars. He has about 30 jeeps. He has also given out a good number of flashy cars to many gospel artists including Ada Ehi, Victor Ike and so many others.
He bought an airline which he renamed Skypower in 2006. His first private jet came in the same year while his second private jet was gifted to him in 2017 by his church’s music and art department for impacting their lives very positively over the years.
Quick Facts about Pastor Chris
- Pastor Chris Oyakhilome‘s net worth is estimated at around $50 million, according to Forbes. Oyakhilome’s interests are quite diverse from television, newspapers, publishing, a record label, hotels to real estate.
- Gmobile Nigeria Limited is one of the myriad companies Pastor Chris is said to own through a complex system of proxies.
- In 2012, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome was at the centre of a money-laundering investigation in which he was accused of syphoning over $35 million from his church and stashing it in foreign accounts abroad. All through Pastor Chris denied that he had participated in any wrongdoing and finally the case was dismissed.
- Pastor Chris’ TV station was the first TV channel to broadcast from Africa to a global audience on a 24-hour basis. The millionaire preacher owns three television channels: LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT and LoveWorld Plus. LoveWorld TV was the first television network based in Africa to broadcast out to a global audience on a 24-hour basis.