Bishop Sam Owusu, most popularly known as the ‘Apostle of Grace’, is the senior pastor of Pottersville church, Ghana. He is one of the most popular and most sought after ministers of God in Ghana and across Africa. In this interview with the publisher of Pleasures Magazine,Ola Babatunde, he spoke about the criteria for accepting invitations to preach for other pastors and his fashion sense. Excerpts;
You are so popular that your posters and cards are virtually everywhere in Ghana and beyond. Are you a celebrity pastor?
No, I am not a celebrity pastor, but I am one of the most sought after not in Ghana alone but all across Africa. As a revivalist, I receive over twenty invitations in just one week and over five hundred in a year to preach in other churches. Many times, I have to resort to doing some kinds of analysis of the invitations to be able to choose the ones that I can infuse into my original schedules before I can accept them. The reason I am so highly sought after is that there a kind of Grace that goes with me such that any church I enter to preach, even if the church is a small one that had not been known or heard of, people would begin to troop into it because I was going to preach there. So, once I have accepted any particular invitation, the organizers of the programme to which I have been invited would include my picture in their programme posters and flyers as one of the guest preachers. That is the reason why you see my pictures in different posters and flyers virtually everywhere around Ghana. I preach in many different churches.
What are your criteria for choosing or deciding the invitations to accept and the ones to turn down?
That has not been easy, I must tell you. However, there are some factors that I normally consider before accepting an invitation to preach in any church. One, I have to look at the person that is inviting me; because, sometimes a father in the Lord would call you and a son in the Lord would also call you at the same time. In a situation like that, I have to do some analysis before I decide which one to honour at that time so that I can balance the scale. Again, sometimes an invitation may come from somebody you don’t know, so I cannot honour this invitation if there is another from someone already well known to me. Nevertheless, sometimes I may turn down an invitation not because I don’t know the pastor but because I want to do a character check on the pastor since I am not yet familiar with him. I can also reject an invitation if my original schedule is so tight that I cannot adjust it to make for the invitation. But most importantly, I pray, and whatever God says to me in my prayer, I obey. If the Lord says I should go, I will go, if the Lord says don’t go, I will not go.
Has there been any time you received an invitation to a programme and you had reasons to cancel it a few days to the programme?
Yes, there have been a number of cases where I had to cancel invitations, although it is not common. There was a time, for instance, that I was to travel overseas to preach on an invitation. I had prepared fully for the trip; in fact, my wife had dropped me at the Airport and returned home after I had checked in. While waiting to board and take off, I heard a strong voice saying to me that ‘if you step a foot out of this country now, that will be the end of your ministry because I have told you that it is not yet time for you to travel overseas’. I obeyed the voice and returned home. I called the people that invited me over and told them that I could not make it, and that was it. Some pastors also do it to me. For instance, I was to preach during a ptogtamme this week, but the pastor sent me a text message just last Sunday that he was sorry the programme would no longer hold. Meanwhile, I had turned down many other invitations to honour this one, and now it has been cancelled at the last minute. However, I am happy, because that is what ministry work is. Who knows what would have happened if I had gone? That is why it is important that one hears from God before one moves.
Let’s talk about style of fashion. You dress so elegantly that many other pastors and even great men of the society tend to imitate your style of dressing. Do you have a special stylist that chooses your dressing styles for you or is that the way you were brought up?
No, I don’t have any stylist, and I didn’t even have the opportunity to know what dressing style is when I was growing up because I didn’t have dresses in the first place. My fashion style and the designs of clothes you see me wear are just my own ideas. That is one of the gifts given to me by God. It is very necessary that as a pastor you should dress decently because your members will address you by the way you dress. Interestingly, you notice that people wear their best clothes to church on Sundays, so should the pastor of the church not dress decently? Decent dressing defines excellence, and the house of God is a place where excellence should reflect in all ramifications. Besides, decent dressing boosts one’s confidence and commands respect from the people around. The first thing that identifies a man is not his name because he hasn’t told it to you yet, It is not his background either, the way he dresses. Let me tell you that one of the things that attracted many of us to pastor Chris of Christ Embassy in Nigeria and make us to respect him very much, was not the miracles that he performs or any other thing but his dressing style. Another pastor that inspired me very much is Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo.
Each time I watched him preaching and the way he dresses, I feel highly inspired. And when I looked back in Ghana, I discovered that we pastors here were not dressing like that. Our look and dressing did not match our preaching of Christ. Therefore, I decided to change the trend. In the year 2000, I went to a popular photo studio to take a picture that I was going to use in my upcoming programme posters. In fact, when I told the photographer that I was going to use the picture in posters, he was shocked because only entertainment celebrities and big politicians used to come to his studio for photos like that, not pastors. However, he took the picture and treated it very well. When I used it for that poster, it was wow, and that was how it all started. Different pastors began to do the same and it is now a common thing among pastors in Ghana. My advice to young pastors and even people in the circular society is that they should dress decently to reflect who they are. Dressing decently does not necessarily mean spending all their money on clothing. One could wear simple clothes and still be decent if one wears them decently. As for how I choose my styles, I like to read fashion magazines and watch fashion shows. I choose most of my styles from such magazines and fashion shows. I also learn about fashion and styles at Christian functions. When I attend a function, I study what other pastors wear and may just add a little design to it to make mine different from what I had seen that I liked.
What determines the choice of dress you wear on Sundays?
Most times, the message I am going to preach on a particular Sunday determines my dressing for that Sunday. I preach about different areas of human existence and man’s relationship with God. For instance, I preach about human responsibility, about the supernatural, about work, about culture, about decency, excellence, and discipline. I am also a prophet. So, if my message on a particular Sunday is a spiritual one, I wear clothes that depict that, and so on. Some other times, colours inspire me and there are times that I wear jeans to church on Sunday. So, it depends on the message for that day and the people that are coming to the church.
What kind of clothes would you say one cannot find you wearing?
I wear all kinds of clothes, both English and native attires: jeans, T-Shirts, traditional agbada, you name it, but I will never wear anything that is not decent and does not reflect Christ. I am a pastor, which means I carry the light of Christ. I must always be an example of decency, and that includes my dressing. Many people look up to me as their role model both in the church and in the society. Therefore, one can never find me dressing indecently.
Do you wear perfumes?
Yes, I wear perfumes but I don’t buy them. There are many things I wear that I don’t buy myself. People buy them for me. Some times when my fashion company is going for stuffs in London, they may just add two or three pairs of the dresses they want to make for me. That’s the reason why most times I am the first person to wear some of the suits people see me wear before others begin to buy them and wear.
I see that you like to wear rings too. There was a time when some people posted the names of some pastors, including you, on social media that the rings you wear are your sources of spiritual power. How did that make you feel?
I didn’t have to feel in any way disturbed, because I know that that report was just a mischievous one. However, to avoid further circulation of such mischief, I have since stopped wearing rings and my church has not collapsed. I discover that when one does something and people begin to misinterpret it and misjudge one with it, one should try to explain because doing so will make it circulate even wider and make people behind it look important as if the rumours they spread is true. Just avoid it, and that is what I have done. Now that I no longer wear rings, am I not flourishing in my ministry or even doing better than before? That is how life is. There is nothing one will do in life that people will not criticize one for. The important thing is that one should not allow the distraction of detractors to discourage one.
What about wristwatches, are there times that you go out without wearing a wristwatch?
I like to wear wristwatches, but there are times that I go out without my watch on my wrist. Sometimes I even go to church without a watch on my wrist.
What is your advice to young pastors who are looking up to you?
They should know that Excellency attracts and that the church of Christ is a place of excellence. Therefore, they should try to dress decently to look decent. They should address their members the way they want their members to address them. They should focus on their calling and not waver no matter how much people say terrible things about them provided they know that what they are doing is right. They should be the light of society.
Bishop Sam Owusu’s Potterville Church is located at Champion Cathedral, Santor Agyie-Kojo Road, East Legon Hills Accra Ghana .
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