Reveals How He Set Up His Church 14 Yrs Ago
Talk of a man of God who is brilliant and deep in his reflections about life and Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe’s name will pop up anytime. This is because this young Minister of God decided to pull himself up as a young man from extreme poverty and with determination and focus, he single handedly built his ministry into the big church it is today.
He is a prophet by calling, and a seasoned and anointed teacher of the word. He is known for his undiluted and life applicable teaching and preaching of God’s words. He is the presiding shepherd of Celestial Church of Christ, Genesis Model Parish located at Alakuko area of Lagos. He is not only a prophet who believes in the potency of the word, he is a life coach who challenges people to succeed in every sphere of life. He has dynamic gifting to combine his calling as a prophet, coach and teacher. He has been a Cele pastor now for 14 years and he set up his Genesis Model Parish about 6 years ago to be different. He will always tell you that he belongs to the white garment church to add value to what he met. So, in his church he does a lot of things different, that is why his prophetic ministry has touched so many lives.
He readily tells anyone who cares to listen that having come from a humble background helped him grow up fast. Like he used to say, I have been through the University of Adversity and I grew up poor so I learnt a lot of hand lessons. Last week, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and ISAAC ABIMBADE spent 3 hours with this man of God, learning a lot about the story of his life and his church.
How did you discover your purpose?
The first thing that gave me grace to discover my purpose was when I gave my life to Christ, that was in 1999 because I was born into a Muslim family and my parents gave their life to Christ and before my late father went to be with the Lord, he was a Deacon and my mother is still a Deaconess in the Christ Apostolic Church. I discovered my purpose when I realised I came to the world for something and that is to add value to my generation. Two days are important in one’s life, the day you came into the world and the day you are discovered what you are called for. I believe God said go to the world be fruitful and multiply, and then I know how to be purpose driven and values driven. Purpose driven is when I know what God created me for. As a Prophet I need to add value to people and I need to see myself as a light of the world. So, I believe my coming to the world as a light, I need to discover danger, I need to determine people’s direction, as a Prophet and I need to lead myself before leading people.
How did you know pastoring is your calling? Did you see any sign or message?
The purpose of a Prophet is not to Pastor, if the purpose of the Prophet is to lead people, direct people, tell people the mind of God and Prophets are not trained, Prophets are born from the womb, Prophets are not made. What happened between God and Jeremiah? From the womb, God has made Jeremiah a Prophet, that is why some people have got that spirit, many of them are reading what I am saying now, some of them are Prophets because your mind will tell you this is going to happen and sometimes when you work towards it, it is going to happen but we have deep, deeper and deepest level of gifts. If God now want to make it a thing that would announce you to the world, He would give you extra ordinary gift that would be different from what others are seeing. When I started I never said I was going to be a shepherd, I never like Celestial Church and when I was in the church I used to play instrument for them, and there was a time I went trance for 7 days, fasting for 7 days, then I begin to reveal things to people what God is telling you about people, Nigeria. And when I started, God started showing me things and when I tell them it will become a reality. Sometimes, I am just going to say it and it will become a reality and people now started running after me, I was actually trying to go back to school so that I will become a Banker because I wasn’t opportuned to go to school. Even my secondary school, I failed, I had 3 passes. I was trying to gain admission to the University of Ife but there was no opportunity. I went to Universal College of Technology, hoping I was going to make my result but that didn’t happen. So I moved out of my Parents house to Ife because my entire mates gained admission and it became a thing of shame to me. I was in Alagbado then, we moved from Oshodi to Alagbado and we started living in this bush then. And I went there to Ife. I used to play for Gbenga Falope, I used to play instrument and nobody trained me all that, I just realised something like that would happen and I would know how to play this instrument, I will just watch it and I will start doing it. When I moved there, I started going to lecture theatre with them. I was actually had the passion of thing of becoming a Lawyer or becoming a Banker but trust me there was no money to send me to school. So I couldn’t go and as now believe in personal development because I have passion for learning. I believe when you learn, you earn, that is my mentality. Just when you are loaded, you will be needed. When I started the ministry as a Celestial and people now started rushing for prophesy, and I have never charge anybody.
We were on a plot of land and we had to move to another bigger plot of land, one acre of land that we are now, and the church is growing from one glory to another but I believe every prophet are made from the womb, that is when you now discover what you are created for, when you have passion for it, then you have result. When you have passion for it, a lot of people will insult you but your result will terminate your insults.
How did your parents take your transition from one level to another?
Because they brought us up in the way of the Lord. When I moved to Celestial Church, people started mocking my parents but my mum and my dad said since we serve one God and he is not bringing shame back to the family, he has been adding value to the family since he went there, Let’s leave him and see what God is going to do. But they told me I shouldn’t do anything on the contradictory with the will of God, that I should remember where I came from.
So, I believe so much in the fasting and prayers and that has been what has been bringing out results, like people looking for the fruit of the womb, a lot of people now start travelling. Being a youth, I love music, I love a lot of people around me. So, at times I will tell them let’s fast for 3 days, for 7 days, we fasted together and there will be result. I so much believe in the mental picture of my future that I am going to be great. Believing that my dad told me that any day you add anything to God, even as a Celestial, his God will disgrace me. So the fear has been there, I shouldn’t charge anybody that whatever if I believe in the kingdom the addition will follow. So when I started I used to sleep in the church, I used to sleep on the floor, people that I have assisted will just come and say you are not supposed to sleep on the floor, they would buy me mattress, you are not supposed to sit on the floor buy me chairs. I was living in a rented apartment before I moved to the bigger land we got.
I always have a mentality for expansion that you don’t limit yourself, you don’t allow people’s interruption to affect your destination, you don’t allow your foundation or where you are from or what others are going through to affect your destination.
I am a voracious reader, I got a lot of books I read, books written by Mike Murdock, Pastor Ashimolowo, I have read parable of dollars, and all that. That has given me that mentality to be optimistic that it’s not about church, it’s about choice because your choice determines where you go. If you want to be a failure it’s your choice, if you want to be successful it’s your choice. So I started building myself having the perception that I am going to be great in future. Can you imagine this my house, all these area I used to serve them as labourer, even this house then, the major owner of this house I have served him, I have given them cement then but when God did it for me, one of the people I used to serve said he would like to buy a house for me around here and lo and behold when they paid for the land, I remember it was a house I have served before, now I am the landlord. So, most of these Landlords around there that used to send me water, send me to help them pack things for their foundations, now we have time to do Landlord Association meeting together, that is why I believe there is no story God can’t change if you are connected to God and honest to God and your hands are cleaned.
When you set up Genesis Church, what were the things you had in mind and have you been able to achieve it?
It’s 14 years now but we moved to the big land now six years, I would say six years because all what I went through the former place, I met a lot of people who never believed in my vision, I met lots of people who are traditional in their mentality, that no, this is not how Celestial Church is supposed to be.
I used to go on television, I stopped going on television because I said I don’t want to believe its television that is bringing people to church. And I realised that when your vision is good, your vision will help you to show on television and discover that your popularity should not be more than your peculiarity. I started believing myself, building myself, studying. When you get to my room now, I don’t have altar, I don’t have anything, all I have is my library, and my bed and that is all.
I am not going to leave the church because people are condemning the church. So I believe in my vision that I am going to be great. I am going to be in church because I am supposed to be a plus and not suppose to be a cross.
We are over 3,000, close to 4,000 now and we do 2 services. Some believe it’s just Fuji or Juju, no! it’s teaching, studying all my mentors and I have been applying what I learn from them. We have youths in our church, we do marriage seminars, and we do conferences. What has really increased the church is miracle, I am not always about miracles but sometimes when God just want to elevate you He will do the unbelievable for people to endorse you. This year we have got 97 people who have been able to get American visa and there’s nothing I do, I just pray, touch their passports and just say go. I just believe maybe God is only using that to compensate my family because I was born without a silver spoon.
The trouble was much, the suffering was much. The house God has been able to use me to rebuild for my parents was a house nobody would ever see before and say good people are living in this house but thank God for today. It so painful I have lost my dad 3 months ago. I have faced so many challenges, confrontation, people assassinating my character, that where is he from. I tell everybody in the church to donate baby’s things and we share it for them, and people from the family will now come to join the church. I have children I have adopted, we give scholarship to people, then we do youth program and like this we do concert, we do business seminar, we have leadership school.
It’s been one level of glory to another but I have always been telling people that if you want a new level expect a new devil.
Can you break it down?
New level brings a new devil because sometimes you don’t pray against enemy, enemy would self push you. Problem would come to your life as one thing, problem would come for you to discover yourself. I mean, challenges will come for you to discover yourself, challenges will come for you to discover people, and challenges will come for you to discover God. If you don’t have a problem you won’t know who you are, you won’t know you can do what expect you cannot do, you won’t know you are up to the task because you still have some people who are problem solver. Problem would make you discover people around you. If you don’t have a problem you won’t know that the people you are trusting are not your friends, if I am lying ask Jesus and Judas, if I am lying ask Peter and Jesus, who denied Jesus when problem came. Problem would make you know your God, that I have nobody let me now get connected to my God. So, anytime you want a new level expect a new devil.
We have internal devil and external devil, sometime your wife might be your devil, that would make you discover who you are as a man. And what is the meaning of Man? Morning, Afternoon and Night (MAN).
While you were growing up did you feel unhappy that you didn’t have all what your mates had?
I didn’t feel bad about it because I was not able to see those who had, because where we lived in Oshodi, we were like 34 people living in a building and we use pit toilet. So, I have not seen people enjoying for me to know the difference of enjoyment. It’s from one level of poverty to another, one level of wretchedness to another. A room where we started from we had about 8 people because my father went to the village and bring all his brothers and my mother happened to be so accommodating.
My father used to assure me that tomorrow would be good. My brother is gospel artiste now and he works with OnTV. The language of my dad is let’s endure to enjoy. That time, if we eat rice in my family even till will move to Alagbado it would be on Christmas day, if we eat rice now it would be next Christmas. When I got to my room and I saw I had like 70 shoes and I started crying, somebody came and said why are you crying and I said I remember when I wore one shoe for 5 years, I remember when I wore one jean for 4 years.
I remember when my friend gained admission and now some of them are looking for how I can link them up with people that will help them. I remember a day when I was going to America I saw a cleaner at the Airport and said Dele is this you? I said yes! Because I remember there was a time he drove me out of his house in the night, that landlord was complaining and I left that house around 12 O’clock, I slept in one condemned car overnight but the day I was going to the US and he saw some people escorting me, I remember then he started crying, I gave him money. Thank God, he was a devil that pushed me. Today I have been able to affect people’s life because I never believe God is going to be so good to me like this.
I believe I have not started, I believe I have not got anything. Sometimes, some people give me car I use for revivals, some people have given me cars I have used for crusade. The first time I went to the UK was like a dream. I have been to America like almost every month, from one Pentecostal Church to another. Then I remember when I used to look at aeroplane, I say God when would this happen? The first achievement I appreciate most is when I sent my mother, my father to Jerusalem last year, there are so strong in Christ Apostolic Church that they don’t believe in anything of this world expect Jerusalem and when my father came from Jerusalem, he said he just came from Jerusalem of the world that he is going to the next Jerusalem, I never knew he was telling me he was going to die. But the gift of prophesy in me I gained it from my mum and dad because they are all seers, it runs in the family. You know what brought up the gift of fasting? There was no food for us to eat.
All we eat is cassava, so we just turn it to fasting and prayer and they warned us not to beg for food from anybody. So we were like that suffering but my father will tell you tomorrow are going to be good. I have written about 5 books now, my latest book now is turning your mess to message. Thank God for the spiritual foundation my parent gave me in the area of prayer and fasting.
I know you have done enough to help the young people, but what do you normally say to them when you see what they are going through?
There’s no time I refer to people and I don’t refer to Uncle Seye Kehinde, my wife knows about that because I borrow from him when I saw him pushing artistes and I asked some of those artistes that have you been giving him money and they say no I am happy doing what I am doing now because I remember when I was nobody. There was a time I was looking for a job as a gateman because there was no house for me to leave. I remember when I used to go Shina Peter’s party to go pack remnant and I would tell people I want to go give dogs that I have dogs and those remnant were the things we would cook. I have the right to tell the youth that they shouldn’t allow the foundation or what they are going through to affect where they are going to.
They should believe in dedication, devotion, determination and discipline. The biggest thing in life that can make you a disciple is discipline. Discipline yourself when you talk, discipline yourself when you work, discipline yourself when you speak and discipline yourself with who you move with. I study from 12am to 3am, I sleep and wake up around 5:30am because I know people coming behind in Christiandom and some Celestial Churches are just coming up, they really want to polish the image of the church. And I also believe that you need to be studious to be glorious. I study every day. I fast almost every day, we fast every Friday in the church, Friday, Saturday we fast to prepare for Sunday.
I want them to know that your foundation has nothing to do with the manifestation of God. Don’t allow people interruption to affect your destiny and I want them to be choosy, how? Choose who you live with, choose what you say with your mouth, and choose where you are. If you want to change in life change your location. If you have been moving with people that always affect your values, you move away from there. Change your perception.
Everybody says Cele cannot be great, Cele cannot go to Sheraton, Cele can’t do this even without wearing Sultana, and I have been able to change it. Some people are in your life to help you, some people are in your life to hinder you, some people are in your life to hurt you.
Can you share with us some of the miracles you have had, especially those that have helped your ministry?
God has been faithful. There was a woman that has been carrying pregnancy all around for 2 years and then we started fasting and she was able to give birth and there is a woman in our church, she happens to be the Matron in our church, at 42, she conceived and she got the baby now, a boy and they call that boy Pastor. We celebrate/dedicate cars in our church and miracle of achievements. We have been able to calculate 97 American visas and so many miracles like that, about their life, businesses, about where they are coming from, prophesy with solution and that has what has connected me with some high and mighty in the society. And why it’s been helping me it’s because I have never charged anyone, when they give me an assignment I will say lets fast about it, have got 50 pastors working under me, we fast together.
But the best miracle I have in life is salvation, there are a lot of people from Pentecostal Churches that have joined our flock, we give them Sultana and some of those that are not wearing Sultana are more than those that are wearing Sultana but we allow everybody.
Right now people are dillussion about the current. What is your own message and what do you always tell them?
I want to tell everybody as a Christian and to Yoruba language that says “ta ba gun yan sine ewe ta ba sebe sinu epo epa eni to ma yo ma yo”. In the time of Buhari some people complain, some people enjoy, in the time of Babangida some people enjoyed, some people complained, in the time of Obasanjo some people enjoyed, some people complained. Sometime in leadership, some people will labour and some people would be favoured, what we just need to pray for is the grace of God to be successful. I am not just one of those that would condemn anybody, condemn President, and I am not always negative about my prophesy, why because even if you are told that you are going to die tell them you will not die but live to declare the word of God, so that there will be no spiritual manipulation, so that nobody would not tell them to go and bring money that this is what we do for you not to die. Nobody can save anybody except God, he only uses his prophets to change people’s lives but I am not always negative about my country. I have visited America severally and their language is God Bless America. I just want everybody to be hopeful that God is going to take control. It’s not about government, its about Godment and Godment is bigger than government, when you believe in Godment you posses your possession, when you believe in government you experience recession. Let us just endure, we will enjoy later.
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