The General Overseer of Ever Increasing Anointing Ministries, Taiye E. Olayemi, talks about the unique moves of God in the church during the pandemic, survival strategies and how tithes, offerings should be utilized in this interview with TAI ANYANWU
What major development took place in your church following the lockdown, at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The coronavirus outbreak in 2020 was another opportunity that God allowed for us to preach the gospel outside the conventional ways that most of us are used to. It gave church the opportunity to preach the gospel to people in their irrespective homes like in the days of the apostles.
During the lockdown, God used us to reach out to millions of souls through social media. That period compelled people to get closer to God than ever before because of the fear of people dying globally from the pandemic. It compelled people to pray in their individual home and cells outside the wall of the church.
Could you tell us how you kept your church members spiritually alive in their homes during the lockdown?
For me, the coronavirus pandemic only changed the mode of worship in churches. It did not affect us at Ever Increasing Anointing Ministries. When churches were reopened we didn’t lose a single member of our church to coronavirus or to the lockdown.
The lockdown enabled me to follow the pattern of churches that worshipped God underground under the communist system. So, we adapted their pattern of underground worship.
At Ever Increasing Anointing Ministries, we always gathered at night for prayer. We held church programmes underground. We held cell fellowship in all cell centres; bringing the church closer to their respective houses.
Could you explain how the lockdown offered opportunity for self-growth, self-discovery, self -development and self-improvement?
A lot of people wrongly alleged that most pastors make their money from offerings and tithes.
The lockdown proved this allegation wrong because many pastors still made money for their sustenance during the lockdown through self-development. As you rightly recalled I published a couple of books during the lockdown from self-discovery, selfdevelopment and self -improvement.
A pastor that God blesses does not look at his church offerings and tithes for his sustenance. There are many sources by which God blesses his servants. Some sources are through some individuals or church members.
During the lockdown, God blessed me with some ideas. And I turned those ideas into books to be a blessing to lots of people everywhere during the lockdown. The coronavirus outbreak was a great opportunity for the Church to advance. It was a time for pastors or churches to retreat and reflect on their callings and assignments.
It was an opportunity for us pastors to quarantine for the purpose of reflection. Quarantine is a positive term.
We read about quarantine in Genesis and Isaiah where the children of God were quarantined. When you come out of quarantine you come out fresh with fresh anointing and fresh ideas to do the work of God better, and be able to speak the word of God to the people in a fresh way.
What are some lessons for church leaders from the Coronavirus lockdown?
The Bible has given us clues to every challenge in life to enable us to prepare. So, we should live prepared.
A man who lives prepared is a man who relies on God. The coronavirus outbreak is a big lesson to all that Christ can come any time. Just like coronavirus caught us unawares Jesus Christ will come just like a thief in the night.
Do not live your life based on your environment or the current situations. Live your life prepared for the eventuality of the coming of Christ anytime. Like the story of the wise and foolish builder the wise builder built on the rock while the foolish builder built on the sand.
The wise builder built on the principles and truth of the word of God while the foolish built on the principle of the world system and pattern. The storms of life fell on both. The building of the wise man survived the storms because it was built on the principles and pattern of our Lord Jesus Christ while the building of the foolish man crumbled. It is only those who accept the word of God and make it a way of life that will survive the storms of life.
It is church leaders who run the church of God with the method of the world that will crumble. The good Lord said ‘I will build my Church and the gate of hell (coronavirus and all other related global pandemic challenges) shall not prevail’. The method of the world is different from the method of God. If you do God’s work in God’s way you will never lack God’s results.
What strategy did you deploy to bringing your church members back after the lockdown?
All through the lockdown, our church focused on the welfare of the members. We packaged essential foods commodities like rice, beans, garri and noodles among other edibles for the less privileged among us. The offerings and tithes of the church must be for the welfare of its members. They are not for the man of God to consume. For instance, if the offerings is N10, 000, N8,000 must go to welfare while N2,000 goes into administrative purposes in the church.
The welfare of members is a must for every church to cater. The Bible said the shepherd must know the state of the sheep and cater for the sheep where necessary. A church is not a private business enterprise of the pastor. It is a place for the welfare of its needy members.
What does God have in stock for both the members and non-members of Ever Increasing Anointing Ministries this year 2021?
God’s word for us in 2021 is Supernatural Shift. This covers Supernatural advancement, mental shift, emotional shift, material shift, financial shift, status shift, bodily shift, marital shift, family shift, career shift, character shift, conduct shift, health (medical) shift etcetera. Ahead of the coming of Jesus Christ, God wants us to shift from the way the world thinks.
The way the world is now is different from the 70s. There have been moves from decade to decade. Along these moves are changes in the way we think and live. For instance, the spiritual life of the believers in the 70s, 80s, and 90s is different from the spiritual life of the believers now. Now,
we must lay emphasis on faith and work. As a believer today, you must have a work to be rewarded. Without work your faith is dead. And what is the work? You must shift in the way you think and plan to live the remaining of your life to have a work acceptable by God. There is nothing we aim to do or achieve in life; the end must come. Whatever our pursuits in life are, the end must come.
So, when your own end comes, did you have a work that is acceptable to the Lord for him to reward you? We are not encouraging believers to be earthly, useless or worthless. In fact, as a believer you must make it in your career, marriage, family and in the way you relate with people. You must make a difference.
The message of God to us is that we must shift our minds from the things on earth to the things above. We must set our minds on the things that are relevant. Many things that we pursue as relevant are not actually relevant.
So, we must have a shift in our perspectives from what we used to know about God to what is relevant to Him. And that which is relevant to God is your work for Him. Your relationship can work for God. Your career can work for God. Your money can work for God.
What are your forthcoming annual programme, tagged Divine Release, all about, and what are some of the expectations from this year’s meeting?
This year’s Divine Release will centre on the Hosting of the Holy Spirit. The Ministers Conference of the meeting will focus on experiencing the Holy Spirit, while the revival will focus on Beholding the Wonders of the Holy Spirit. The hosting of the Holy Spirit is different from the way we look at the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.
As a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit. You are not hosting it. It dwells in you. But the one you are hosting is upon you, and this has to do with the power dimension of the Holy Spirit. The one that is upon you is what advances the kingdom of God. The one that is upon you is what makes you have a work for God. The one that is upon is what makes you relevant in life as a Christian.
The one that is upon you is what makes you an overcomer. It is different from the one that dwells within you. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit forms your character. It is the one that is upon you that takes Christ to others. The one inside of you works for you. It is for you.
But the one upon you is not for you. It is for the others around you. So we are gathering at this year’s meeting for the revisit of the hosting of the Holy Spirit. Emphasis is the operation of the Holy Spirit upon you. There are churches whose impacts are not being felt because they are not yet hosting the Holy Spirit