In spite of his huge and humongous achievements in the ministry, Pastor Wole Oladiyun, General Overseer, Christ Livingspring Apostolic Ministry, headquartered in Omole, Ikeja, Lagos, continues to epitomize humility and simplicity.
Feared and dreaded by agents of darkness and their cohorts, he planted permanent smile on the face of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, AZUH ARINZE, during an encounter in his office on Monday, July 17, 2017.
Married to Bukola and blessed with four children, Pastor Wole, like he is widely known and addressed, was born on April 2, 1959. A native of Ile-Oluji, in Ondo State, he attended St. Peter’s Anglican School and Igboluji Grammar School, both in Ile-Oluji, before proceeding to read Engineering at the University of Ife (now OAU), in Osun State. He lectured for sometime at Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, Borno State before setting up shop fully in 1998 to work for the Lord. CLAM, since then, has been growing in leaps and bounds.
And to unearth some of the strategies deployed by the servant of God to achieve that, we decided to take him up on that and other pertinent issues. Excerpts…
First, what makes a good preacher?
A good preacher is that person who does not preach on his or her own accord. So, anything the man preaches emanates from God and the word of God is the manual through which one feeds and dispenses anything that will make that person to be a good preacher.
What are the elements of a good sermon?
Well, the central focus is Christ – or whichever way you put it. But the central theme has to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth and anything that has to do with Christ is deeply attached to love. Because the summary of the Bible is love, and that’s why Jesus has come to share the love that the Father has for the world. So, if you want to look at a good message, if the equation does not involve Jesus, that message is not good. Everything has to do with Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
How does one tell or know a good church?
A good church? The Bible says by their fruits we shall know them and you can also know a good church through the spirit of discernment. Even for those who are not born again, intuitively, they will know that something is wrong. That’s talking from the soulish realm. But if your spirit mind is liberated, through the spirit of God in you; you can discern that Christ is here, that the presence of God is here, or that the presence of God is not here.
What do you like most about being a preacher?
I like most is talking about Jesus and telling people that His power is supreme and that through the power of Christ, the land can be liberated, cities can be liberated, everything in creation can be liberated, human beings can be liberated and that there is joy in Christ. That’s what I do all around, and praying.
What don’t you like about being a man of God?
Well, the point is that you have the propensity to forget your family (laughs) and be carried away with the work and you will be winning the world and losing your family. Winning the world, losing your family! The propensity is very high. Except you make up your mind that look, after Christ, my home is the first church, then the main church is the second.
If you hadn’t been called by or of God, what else would you have been doing?
I would have been going on with my engineering. I practiced being a civil engineer for 20 years. I would have also delved into cinematography, because my brain is very active; very, very active. I discovered that I have a knack for the literary world also. I do some things that I’ve not had the knowledge before. I’m naturally imbued with the sense of coming up with something, picking up information, turning information round. I could have been engaged with my engineering, because I have a passion for it till tomorrow. And I think I like cinematography. I like things about sound and the cinema.
You get to preach nearly every day; of all the sermons that you have preached, which one do you like most?
Hmmm! That’s a very difficult question (laughing). Whaaooh! I’ve been preaching for close to 20-something years now. But I think the sermon I love most; that I knew that I preached and I felt so good, the theme then was ‘Is your heart right with Christ?’ And when I finished ministering, it was on a Sunday, here, I felt the power of God in me and many people repented. We examined the heart of man. The heart of man is desperately wicked; who can know it? Is your heart right with God? It’s possible you do something right, but with a wrong heart. And I remember I cited 2 Chronicle 25, verses 1 and 2; talking about Amaziah who did what was right before the Lord, but with a wrong heart. So, people can do anything, they can profess different techniques, they can come in a very handsome, beautiful way, but how about the heart? That’s the place that God checks in every man, no matter your designation, your status, your race…
Can you recollect your worst day as a preacher? The day that something went wrong, maybe…
The worst day that I could recollect was the day that God himself conducted deliverance for me in the area of anger (general laughter). You know I’m a choleric; I am maybe 85 percent hyper choleric, then sanguine and all those things. But you see, because I am a goal-getter, I want things done right, I want details. I used to be very, very angry. I said I used to be very, very angry (emphasizes it). It’s manageable now. Praise God! (Alleluya). And I’ve been praying that God, I don’t want this anger to take away heaven from me. So, there was a day I was ministering here in this church; one of our members, a lady, was getting married to someone from Abeokuta (in Ogun State). The parents of that boy came from Abeokuta, one of these old-time churches. So, as I was ministering, the people just left. No, they started moving away and I said, ‘Can somebody tell me what is happening here?’ Then, I said please, the message is on, tell me what is happening? If you don’t tell me, I’m gonna stop this sermon. A man rose up and said you can’t stop it! I wanted to reply, but God said remember the vision that I showed you overnight. Don’t react. And someone quickly wrote on a paper ‘They said they were hungry’. Meaning they wanted to go and eat. I wanted to tell them that no, you can’t do that here; this is an apostolic ministry; if you had been doing that in your church, you can’t try that here, but I calmed down (shrugging). The Lord said today, I’m delivering you from that spirit of anger (laughter). Then, I said I’m sorry, I’m sorry, let’s go on. Already, the mother of that lady, one of the elders of the church, was crying because she knew I could do that. So, since that day, the grace to comport myself when I’m angry, came upon me. But it was the worst day on the pulpit for me.
Some people come into the ministry, but they are unable to make any success of it. Where do you think such people get it wrong?
Ah! So many factors are responsible for success or failure in ministry. No. 1, for anyone to go into the ministry, you must really understand your purpose. You start from asking yourself, am I called? If you are not called, if you go into ministry, you will make a shipwreck. But if you are called, which area? Ephesian 4:11 – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers. You must check your office or your offices. Know the area. For me, my two major arenas – crusade, prayers. And I’ve been there for years. So, it’s just like staying in your lane. You must identify your lane. Pastor Sam Adeyemi is on that lane, teaching about leadership; Wole Oladiyun – crusade and prayer; Pastor (Matthew) Ashimolowo – success; Bishop (David) Oyedepo – faith. If I leave my lane and start teaching about leadership, I will be a big time failure. So, stay in your lane. Find out your lane, identify your lane and stay there and that takes you to your brand. If you don’t understand your brand, you will make a shipwreck of it. Someone was saying oh, Pastor Oladiyun is making a huge success in ministry, CLAM is doing well and I learnt they do this 7-day Solution Night. He started it; third day he landed in hospital and when he got himself back, he said but I was preaching? They said yes, you were preaching (laughter). Because there is no grace for him in that area. Stay in the corridor of your grace, if you want to make it and do retreat, ask God questions on those areas that are not clear to you. Then, you must put in administration and operations. 1Corintians 12 verses 2,3,& 4. Many people are gifted, talented, anointed, but they don’t give in to administration and operations. When you have little grace, and you operate your little grace in the envelop of solid operations and administration, there will be a multiplier effect. Then, wastages will be curtailed. But when you have big grace, big anointing, little administration and operations, you will slip. So many people will go, I’m a prophet. Yeah, you can be a prophet and make a shipwreck of ministry, if you don’t have a knack for operations, administration…
In the ministry, some people attain success, but they are not able to sustain it. You hear about a ministry today and tomorrow you don’t hear about it again. Why is this so?
Whether in ministry or in life, you build a reputation, you build your image, you build your brand. I call it to RIB. So, there must be reputation management, reputation maintenance, image maintenance, brand maintenance. When you don’t maintain that, decay sets in. Now, you have an organization, you have a ministry, there are provisions coming in, through tithes and offerings; through seeds from here and there, how do you manage them? Do you multiply them or do you eat them or you just waste them? So, if you don’t multiply the income in your season, you will go down. Because you must have the future in view in anything you do. People get carried away, they go into womanizing, sexual immorality, they become worldly overnight and these things don’t agree with the heavenly norms. The person will go down. So, in your season, you must build a proper reputation and you must maintain it. Image maintenance is a serious problem. It requires a lot of integrity, sacrifices here and there. You know, building yourself to conform to norms of the moment and the future. So, you must be proactive, because most people who go down, they are reactive. It’s when anything happens they react. No! You must be proactive, you must be foresighted, your programming must be in order, there must be checks and balances. In your organization, you must have line managers who work with you, you must delegate, there must be control, communication must be there. If there’s no effective programming, organization, forecasting, motivation, control, co-ordination, you will fail. Those elements of management are necessary, because Jesus was a wonderful manager. He’s still a wonderful manager because He had, He still has and He will always have those elements.
When did you come to the realization of the fact that CLAM will be a success?
My background predicted my success in ministry because my father ceded me to the Lord at the age of seven and he had told me before he went to be with the Lord that I will work for the Lord. So, all along, because I’m a core prophet, by the grace of God; God shows me things till tomorrow. So, He guides me and I have the fear of God in me. When God started this work, I was following the dictates of the Lord. God said to me, for the beginning of the ministry, start with a Thursday revival service and be conducting vigils. No Sunday service! I obeyed. At a point, He said He wanted me to start an early morning service. Stop that Thursday revival service, start the Sunday service. It sounded strange to me, but He asked me: when you were in CAC, when were you going to church? I told Him. He said start. I said in the morning? The Lord said start, and I started and the ministry exploded. So, obedience or hearing (from) God, because your master must direct you and obedience. Obedience, not partial obedience and asking for daily grace, is very important. So, I obeyed Him and He said to me start crusade and when you start crusade, don’t take any offering from anyone, I will be ministering to you. When you do that crusade, come back to your base. I followed the instruction and we started exploding.
As a servant of God, what have you asked God to do for you or the people under your authority that He didn’t do?
Well, I will say that there’s nothing I’ve asked God to do for me or for people that He hasn’t done. Why did I say so? Because anything He hasn’t done, it’s because His will is not for that hour. He will still do that thing. So far, everything I’ve asked Him, according to His will, He has done. What He hasn’t done is because His will for that thing is not there. So, at His appointed time, He will do it.
Which will you describe as the most memorable miracle that God has used you to do or perform in someone’s life?
Hmmm! Too numerous to mention because miracles, signs and wonders are part of the work. They should be something to edify the people and for them to come to Christ. Too numerous! Let me see, the Lord will help us. Acts 2:22. Jesus was approved to be the son of God with miracles, signs and wonders. So, as followers of Jesus, miracles must be part of this thing. One memorable one, one memorable one…(thinks). I think the most memorable one will be that of the occultic man I followed for 9 years to give his life to Christ. He was the head of the Ogboni cult, a fearful man. I followed him for 9 years, and at the end of the day, he gave his life to Christ and the day he will give his life to Christ, we met in his place and I was ministering to him. Then, he challenged me that I’ve been trying for 9 years, but that there are some things at his disposal; he couldn’t do away with them. The Lord opened my eyes and I saw myself in France and I saw the man taking a particular idol from France and I told the man. The man rose up; he said what? And the Lord gave me the name of the idol and I said it. The man shook. In fact, he said who told you? I said God, the Jesus that I want you to accept. At that point, he said yes. He repented, he gave his life to Christ. He brought out all the charms, we got them burnt. We have the pictures. He released his life to Christ. He said for mentioning that thing; he said how did you know that I went to France, I went through astral travel to France to pick this idol and you mentioned the name? I will serve Jesus. He served the Lord, put Deeper Life Ministry in his house and he died in the Lord a few months ago. So, I think that’s the greatest miracle to me. Yes!
We have too many churches around, yet sin and sinners are still all over the place. Why is this so?
Well, we don’t have many churches, we still need more. In 2nd Timothy, the Bible described the church as the ground of truth and the pillar of truth. So, we have many places that people go to say they are worshipping God, but they are not the ground of truth and pillar of truth. We need more honest churches, that will be convincing us, that will tell sinners no, listen, this is Jesus for you, accept Him. Then, who you give care. Because through care giving, we can win souls. When you don’t give care, people go to the world, they do whatever they like, they lure them to the world or lure them into worldliness through care giving, but that is lacking in the church. So, through care giving, we can win souls unto the Lord. The churches must rise up beyond the four corners and go out there to give people care, to show love to them. You will see many people coming to receive the Lord. I’m saying this emphatically because I’m a field man. I’ve been to different places, all over Nigeria – Okija, Ozubulu, Enugu, Orlu, Ikot-Ekpene, Umunede, Igbanke, too many places. I’ve seen people coming, smoking ‘Igbo’, hearing the gospel, leaving their ‘Igbo’, coming into the field to surrender to Jesus and they had said they will never go to any church. But hearing the word on the field, and they were touched, they gave their lives to Jesus. So, we need to go out there, show them the love of God, the power of heaven. That’s how we can win them.
One of the biggest challenges that most Christians face is their inability to overcome temptations. What is the best way to overcome temptations?
No. 1, realise that truly, you are getting involved in it. You realise it; you admit it! And then there must be this enthusiasm in you, that you want to disengage. Otherwise you will still be enjoying it. So, you must admit it… It doesn’t matter whether you are a child of God or a pastor. I told you the other time, I said I was getting angry; I admitted that anger was my major problem. I admitted it, cried to the Lord, fasted. In fact, God disgraced me the day He delivered me. So, if I didn’t admit it, I will be defending it. It doesn’t matter…One major thing is that you see, even as a prophet, you commit that sin and God will be showing you vision, but that does not mean you will make heaven. So, if God is using you with that sin, you will lose heaven. So, admit it. That this is a weakness. I cried myself, I needed the holy spirit. When you admit, the Lord will help you. You may need to go for counselling, you may need to go for deliverance prayers, you many need to take some precautions also. So, that’s the way.
Obviously, God has been extraordinarily nice to you. What more do you want from Him?
I admit so! Greater grace, greater grace, greater grace…So that I can win more souls, because I’m a soul winner. I’m an evangelist, I’m a soul winner, I’m a field man. That’s all I want to do until I can’t raise up my hands and my legs.
What’s your dream for CLAM?
My dream for CLAM is for CLAM to roll out more generals for the Lord, soldiers. So, I’m training pastors, both men and women, to go and start their ministries and win souls for the Lord and then so that we can evangelize the whole world. That’s my dream for CLAM. And to do more in the area of our humanitarian services.
In the Bible; which we know you must have read over and over. Which is your favourite quote?
My favourite quote? (smiles) 1John 3:8. For this reason was the son of God made man to destroy the work of darkness… Anywhere I am, once I release that, the place must quake, Satan must bow.
Who is your favourite Biblical hero or icon?
Prophet Micaiah, the son of Imlah. When 400 prophets led by Zedekiah were deceiving the king – king of Ziriah. The king of Israel said no, these people are deceiving you, don’t you have any prophet in the land who can tell you the truth? He said I have one, but he won’t tell me what I want to hear. He said call that man. He said what’s the name? He said he’s Micaiah, the son of Imlah. He said Micaiah, shall I go to this battle? Will I come back? Micaiah said you can go. He said don’t deceive me, tell me the truth. He said thus says the Lord, if you go, you are not coming back. He told his friend, have I not told you? In fact, Zedekiah slapped Micaiah with the 400 prophets. Then, the king said go and lock him up, eat the breads of sorrow and …He said if you come back, then that means I’m not a prophet of God. The king went and didn’t come back. I love the boldness of Micaiah, the son of Imlah. I’m that kind of a prophet, I have boldness naturally by the grace of God and this is an apostolic work. Once God has told me to move, I move. God has sent me to Okija twice, Ozubulu area. They know me there. If you mention Wole Oladiyun there, they know me there. If I say I’m coming there, the pastors will line the streets. They saw the raw power of God the last time we visited. So, I love things like that. Once the Holy Spirit says move, I move. That’s all. I don’t care.
In spite of your fame and wealth, you are still so humble and easy going. Why did you adopt that lifestyle?
Civility costs nothing, but earns you everything. Then two, I’m not the custodian of the power, it’s God. He uses me and it amazes me and naturally, right from my foundation, I believe that if you live a simple lifestyle, the maintenance will be simple. So, why are you not simple? There’s nothing you have that’s not given from heaven. So, I’m myself. I’m as native as ever. That’s my life. I like to be myself because how God does everything; me, I sometimes ask questions. Me and my wife will sometimes say is this thing real? Is this CLAM real? That’s how we ask ourselves (laughing). It’s amazing; how God co-ordinates things around me still amazes me till tomorrow so I give Him all the glory. But I know it’s by the grace of God.
Away from God’s work, what are the other things you enjoy doing?
Well, it’s interwoven. I read a lot. In fact, that’s what I spend my life doing – reading, writing. I like acquiring knowledge. Knowledge acquisition and research. I do a lot of research. I research even things that are not episcopal. You know I have my hands in many things – hospital, farm and some other things. I like educating people, I still want to go back to lecture. I want to go and teach engineering and management. Yes!
You’ve repeatedly mentioned your wife in the course of our discussion. Can we hear your love story? How you met her and what got you interested?
I was a very bashful person when I was young. I had a football club called Okilo Football Club in Ile Oluji, Ondo State, because I’ve been a community man from my childhood. So, I will mobilise youths in my street… We were playing one day and my first girlfriend disappointed me. She said that I wasn’t wearing good clothes. So, these three ladies were going on the road. Fortunately, God directed the ball towards where the three ladies were and the Lord said to me the one in the middle is your wife. I’ve never seen her before and they’ve just moved from Ibadan to Ile-Oluji. Then I made my research, heard that she was living somewhere. Then, I went to Ondo town, bought three cards, I said I love you, Anonymous! I love you, Anonymous! I sent it through my cousin who is a PhD holder now – Mrs. Toyosi Daniel. And she said who is this man – Anonymous? Then, the third day, I appeared. So, that was the beginning (laughing).
So, what would you say has kept the marriage going? Most marriages fail these days, including those of some pastors?
Well, well, I think it’s the genuine love we have for each other and the ability to say sorry when things are not working. Take for instance, some minutes ago, before you came, I said darling, I guess I have spoken wrongly to you, please forgive me. This was about one hour ago. I was tensed up since my arrival. Just got myself back after enough rest. I am sorry. She said no problem. I understand. Then, she asked me what I needed for my journey. That’s how we’ve been and we’ve been married for 27 years. (showing us a text he exchanged with his wife). Me too, I accept my fault.
Can you tell us about your children?
By the grace of God, we are blessed with four children. Our first daughter is married, she in Dallas (USA) with the husband, they have a church. She’s an accountant and a marketer. She has a first degree in Accounting and a second degree in Marketing…
What’s her name?
Ayomide. But she’s into ministry. Her husband has a masters’ degree in Financial Accounting also. He runs Open Heaven Church. Our second daughter is a lawyer. Her name is Damigbe, but she loves fashion and radio things. I think she has just picked up a job somewhere. Our first son is an audio engineer, a British-trained sound engineer. He works in Lagos. His name is Imisioluwa and our last born is Inioluwa. He’s in secondary school, SS II now. Yes, that’s the family and now we have a grand son.