The Living Faith Church (LFC), a.k.a Winners Chapel, one of Nigeria’s mega churches, may have sacked over 40 of its pastors for failing to meet its “growth index.”
This is contained in a letter to the pastors, a copy which is trending in the social media.
The church, founded by Bishop David Oyedepo, is believed to have over 1,500 pastors across the globe.
The letter, addressed to one Pastor Saave Nomor of the Tse Ashinya branch of the church in Benue State, North Central Nigeria, which has gone viral, shows that Nomor (and probably others) was sacked after a recent performance review.
The letter reads: “Consequent upon the recent performance review which revealed that your church growth index falls below expectation.
“Please be informed that your service as the pastor in charge is no longer required in this commission with immediate effect.
“You are to vacate your official accommodation and hand over all properties including the official identity card to the area pastor before departure.
“May you find grace from God for a new beginning.
“Peace,” it said.
The terse letter June 25, 2021 was signed by the Executive Secretary, LFCWW, Adebisi Aboluwade.
It was copied to PVP, VP(MIS), MS, DFB, CIA, SP (Benue) and Secretary (CMC).
Another pastor affected, Peter Godwin, who pastors the church’s branch in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, South West Nigeria, said he received a letter from the church on July 1 terminating his appointment.
In a trending video, Godwin, who was employed by the church in August 2020, said since he was engaged he tried to win souls for Christ.
In the second part of the video that was shared on Twitter, Godwin said he was told that the revenue from his church was not enough to cater for his welfare and accommodation.
“Actually, by the special grace of God, our father in this great assembly, Living Faith Church, received a mandate from the Lord to plant 10,000 churches in Nigeria and by the special grace of God, I was privileged to be one of the pastors that were employed on the 28th of August, 2020, that was last year,” the pastor said.
“So after that, I started working, engaging myself in the work of the Lord. I tried my possible best to make sure I win souls for Christ but unfortunately, on the 1st of July, I received a call that the state pastor wants to see me, so I thought I was the only one. I was surprised, so I went to his office.
“When I got there, I saw other pastors too, over 40 of them, so I joined them. A few minutes later, we were issued a letter. I opened the content of the letter to see what was there and I saw that it was a sack letter.
“So I called the management the next day to know what happened since I wasn’t involved in any dubious activity or evil act. I was told by the management was that the church doesn’t operate at a loss They also told me the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
The church has yet to respond to reported sack of the clergymen form its fold.
About Living Faith Church
LFC was founded in 1981 by Bishop David Oyedepo after an encounter with God for 18 hours in the International Hotel in Ilesha, Osun State, South West Nigeria.
According to “The Mandate”, the church’s operational manual released in 2012, Oyedepo was on a trip to the town on May 1 when he had the encounter after failing to find a Christian friend.
“I got to this brother’s place, but he wasn’t there. There was a note on his door announcing that he had travelled. Something gracious came out of me – “All things work together to the advantage of them that love the Lord.” It was soothing; I felt no disappointment.
“Then the Holy Spirit said to me, ‘Look out for a quiet place, I want to talk to you.’ This was a timely instruction, because I had quite a lot of Christian friends in that town and I could have had a lot of fun being with them that day.
“However, I obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit, and asked a passer-by if there was any hotel on the outskirts of the town, where I could lodge. And that was how I met with destiny.”
The inaugural fellowship, then known as Faith Liberation Hour, was held on 24th of May, 1981.
LFC, a Pentecostal church, is one of the largest churches in Nigeria with many branches across the continents of the world.
According to Wikipedia, the church has branches in about 65 countries.
LFC has over 5000 branches in Nigeria alone and about 1000 branches worldwide.
It’s international headquarters, otherwise called Canaan Land, is in Ota, Ogun State near Lagos, the country’s commercial nerve centre and about the most populous state.
The auditorium which is called Faith Tabernacle LFC, has a sitting capacity of 50,000. A larger auditorium, “The Ark” is reportedly being planned. The new auditorium has 106,000 seats and will include a 24-Floor Mission Tower made up two twin towers of 12 floors each.
The church runs many services with over 50,000 in attendance every Sunday.
The Commission also operate two universities – Covenant University in Ota and Landmark University, Omuo Aran, Oyedepo’s hometown in Kwara State in the North Central zone of Nigeria.
Church Planting and need for numerous pastors
Oyedepo received the mandate for church planting on April 24, 1987 while he was approaching the pulpit to minister during Easter Convention in Kaduna, where the headquarters of the church was based before moving to Lagos.
As a result of this, there was a need to recruit more pastors to take care of branches springing up yearly and feed the flocks.
Currently, the church has close to 2,000 pastor worldwide.
According to The Mandate, a resident pastor (head of a branch church) shall be responsible for the day-to-day running of the local assembly; effectively promote and oversee Winners’ Satellite Fellowship system; have oversight of membership welfare matters; prepare church programmes covering all specialised services and administration of approved ordinances; and have spiritual and visionary oversight of schools under his station.
He is also responsible for burial service and internment of passed on members and for marriage ceremony of members.
The pastor also has the responsibility to initiate WOFBI programmes for approval of the immediate supervising church; embark on church growth promotion such as seminars, outreaches, publicity; oversee collations of the station’s monthly report and chair the local Church Management Board (CMB).
How pastors are recruited in LFC
Section 7.5.1 of The Mandate, says “When a believer or a member expresses a desire for full time pastoral ministry with the church, he shall be required to write and give his vision to his pastor or any other senior pastor in the church for the purpose of counselling and subsequent recommendation from his local church base.
“This recommendation shall reflect the eligibility of the candidate with respect to stewardship personal and family life. If the candidate is recommended for enlistment, he will therefore be advised to put in his application to the appropriate authority with his vision and recommendation letter attached.
“Upon screening and successful passage through the laid-down procedure, if found suitable, he shall be enlisted under the Covenant Pastoral Service Scheme of the church starting as an Assistant Pastor as indicate in the Career ladder.”
The ranking and statutory duration are as follows: Assistant Pastor 1-2 years; Pastor 4 (2-3 years); Pastor 3 (2-3 years); Pastor 2 (2-3 years) and Pastor 1 (2.3 years). There are other categories of pastors in LFC, namely Assistant Zonal Pastor, Zonal Pastor, District Pastor, Provincial Pastor, National Pastor (FM), Regional Pastor and Vice President.
It is reported that an area pastor earns about N85,000 while a resident pastor takes N200,000 per month.
Oyedepo is reputed (though arguably) one of the richest clergymen in the world. He is ranked second to Pastor Kenneth Copeland with a net worth estimated at $150 million dollars.
Oyedepo, an architect, is 67.