Pastor Sunny Otaru, the Senior Pastor of ASO Dominion Church, Agodo, Egbe, Lagos, says the poor family upbringing of most Nigeria’s leaders is responsible for the poor leadership of the country. Ahead of the church’s convention, tagged Dramatic Change, later this month from October 25-29, 2021, Otaru in the below interview with Christian Benefits speaks about the convention, and also appeals to churches to restore the lost family values in order for Nigerian families to raise responsible people for good leadership of the country.
Please, can we meet you sir?
I am Pastor Sunny Otaru, the Senior Pastor of ASO Dominion Church, Agodo, Egbe, Lagos. I am from Edo State in Nigeria. I am the first child in a family of 3 males and 3 females. My parents are still alive.
Share with us the experience of your rebirth encounter with Jesus Christ.
I got born again through one Rev. Academy who spoke to me about Jesus Christ on February 24, 1992, and I then gave my life to Christ that day. It was one encounter I never envisaged. I visited his church that day to see a lady friend; a lawyer, who invited me to the church. I never knew she was a worker in the church. On that day she led the praise worship after the opening prayer. While she was singing I was wrapped in attention, and suddenly a strange feeling took over me. I snapped out and became unconscious of myself. The next thing I saw myself before the church altar, and the man of God spoke to me. While he was speaking to me I began speaking in tongue. After I stopped speaking in tongue, he asked me how long I had given my life to Christ. I told him I had never given my life to Christ. He then held my hand and led me to Jesus Christ on that day.
Thereafter, what happened between you and the lady you went to see in the church?
Immediately I gave my life to Christ the feeling I had towards her to be my girl friend disappeared. Instead, I got committed to the things of God in the church because the man of God told me that I have to start living a life of sacrifice.
After your rebirth, how did you eventually receive the call into ministry?
In 1996 I came to Lagos with an expectation to travel to Switzerland. After the necessary travelling documents and preparation were ready I saw a particular man who said I would travel as I planned, but in two weeks my corpse would be returned home from Switzerland. I was shocked at what the man said. My girlfriend advised I ignore what he said. I told her, the man talked about my life and not about her life. So I cannot ignore what he said. I discussed with the man about my ambition to travel out, and he said if that was my ambition he would take me to five different mountains for prayer for that purpose. In one of the mountains he told me to in Ekiti state I met some rugged prophets. And one of the prophets told me there was a certain man of God waiting for me in Lagos. Coincidentally my younger sister called me and said she had a dream in which she said she saw me in Lagos. She told me the exact name of the man of God that the prophet said was waiting for me in Lagos. She said God showed her in dream the address and the phone no of the man of God waiting for me in Lagos. My sister and I arranged and visited that man of God, Pastor Amos, in Lagos.
What transpired between you and the man of God when you met him?
When we got to his church, I looked at the church environment and began to do some thinking in my mind. The man of God told me what I was thinking. He also told me about my plans to travel out of the country. I was surprised how he knew about my plans to travel. I suspected connivance among the Ekiti prophet, my sister and this pastor. I was enraged and walked away to leave the church. But as I got to the staircase, the man of God called me back in my native name. Again, I was surprised because only my mum calls me by that name. I walked back to him with tears in my eyes, and asked him what I should do. Earlier, the man of God in Ibadan who took me to five mountains for prayer had told me that God wants to do something with my life. This man of God, Pastor Amos told me to stay in the church three days in prayers for God to reveal Himself to me. I obeyed, and that was the turnaround in my life. In the course of the 3 days waiting in the church praying I had a strange encounter with God that led to my calling into ministry. In that encounter I saw a strange man who dictated some instructions to me and I jotted them on a paper. It was in that encounter that I saw dominion which eventually became the name of my ministry.
What is the specific mandate of your calling by God into the ministry?
When God called me into the ministry he said I would go round the world to express His love. At that time I had no mind to start a ministry until a woman of God, Bishop Bola Odeleke said to me, young man, God wants to do something in your life; go on 40 days fasting & prayer. I did the 40 days fasting & prayer, but I didn’t hear from God. When I told the bishop that I didn’t hear from God, she asked me to repeat the fasting & prayer until I hear from God. She said if after I had repeated it and still don’t hear from God, I should go tell my pastor that I want to leave his ministry. So, after I repeated the fasting & prayer, and still didn’t hear from God, I went to my pastor and told him I want to leave his ministry. He said God had told him about it; that was why he didn’t want me to travel out. He then told me to go on seven days fasting & prayer. After I had the seven days fasting & prayer I started hearing from the Lord till now. It was after the seven days fasting & prayer that the mandate of my calling became clearer.
What are the gifts the Lord endowed you for the mandate?
The first gift was speaking in tongue, which I later know how to also interpret. God also endowed me with the gift of healing. But at the initial stage I was scare of this gift because when I see sick people I was scared to pray for them. Even, if while on the altar the Lord asks me to speak to the sick, I’ll be scared because I always felt what if the sick people were not healed after I spoke to them. Along the line I overcame that phobia and began speaking healing to the sick confidently and awesome testimonies follow. So, this informed our healing meeting on the first Tuesday of every month tagged Festival of Testimonies. A lot sick people attend this meeting and receive their healing.
What are other programmes of the church in line with its mandate?
On the first Saturday of every month we hold Leaders training, which I personally handle. Every Monday we hold a special programme for ministers.
Briefly share with us some testimonies from the church programmes.
We have quite a number of testimonies of broken bareness, restored hearing, turmoil removal without surgical operation, sore dried up and deliverance from diverse spiritual attacks or problems including my personal testimonies.
What is this year’s annual convention of the church tagged, Dramatic Change, holding from October 25-29, 2021 all about?
We held the first convention of the church last year 2020 when the church clocked 10 years. We never had any plan to hold the second convention this year 2021 until last August 2021 when the spirit of the Lord told me that with what we achieved in last year’s convention in the church don’t I think it would be good we take the gospel outside the church with another convention. To confirm His prompting on us to hold the second convention, the Lord raised a young man who said God told him in a dream to give me NI.5m. Immediately, we started the plans for the church’s second convention for October this year.
Tell us some of the expectations from the forth coming convention
The primary aim of this year’s convention of our church is to win 1000 souls into the kingdom of God. So, we are holding an open air crusade to reach out to the 1000 souls as our target to lead into God’s kingdom. Other activities during the convention week, particularly within the church are secondary purpose.
What informed the theme of the convention, Dramatic change?
Dramatic change was one of the instructions that I jotted down on a paper from the strange man that I said dictated to me in 1998 during my seven days fasting and prayer in the church before I started the ministry. We couldn’t do anything with the topic (Dramatic change) until the Lord ministered to me to use it as the theme for this year’s convention. We linked the theme to 1 Samuel 22.
How can the participants at this year’s convention position themselves to be partakers of the blessings from the meeting?
The participants at this year’s convention do not have to do any special thing to partake from the blessings from the convention. It is us the insiders that have the job to draw the outsiders to the convention to partake from the blessings.
How will you describe your experience in the church at 11 years old?
Betrayal and gossips at the highest level is one terrible experience I have had in the 11 years of existence of ASO Dominion Church. In addition, as someone who always wants things done well, I put the burden of the job upon myself. And that was a terrible experience for me until the Lord told me I won’t go far doing everything by myself if I don’t teach people how to do some of them.
What keeps you going in the face of the challenges in the ministry work?
It is my encounters with God. If I haven’t had some personal encounters with God, I wouldn’t have come this far in the face of the challenges in the ministry.
How much are you fulfilled in 11 years of ASO Dominion Church?
If ministry is not worthy doing, I wouldn’t have accepted doing it. So, I’m not only fulfilled, I’m very happy doing it. The joy of doing ministry is priceless.
What is your vision for ASO Dominion Church in the next 9 years?
We have a vision to have a cosy environment for worship. We have a vision to build schools and hospitals. We have a lot of targets to hit before we clock 20. Before we mark 20 we have a plan to have built a big church camp. We have a plan to award scholarship to brilliant but indigent students. We have a plan to build a school that will give at least 70% scholarship to indigent students.
How will you describe your wife’s support in the ministry these 11 years?
My wife is a very understanding woman. Her support has been tremendous.
Who are those you look up to as your mentors or role models in ministry?
From the onset of my ministry till now I look up to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome as my role model. I have also been impacted by Pastor E.A Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo who I was privileged to have met personally in his office.
As a prophet to the nations, what is your advice to Nigerian leaders, and the way forward for Nigeria from her present socio-economic challenges?
Nigeria is not a bad nation. The leadership problem of the nation is rooted in families. A nation is a product of the families that constituted it. There is nobody in the government who didn’t come from a family. Churches and other religious faiths therefore should focus at raising good families that will raise good leaders for Nigeria. Family values are dwindling in Nigeria if not completely lost. So, churches should make efforts at restoring the lost family values in Nigeria. A family is the first and only institution directly established by God. The growth or otherwise of any nation is from families to the government, and not the other way. The poor family upbringing of most Nigeria’s leaders is responsible for the poor leadership of the country. There is moral decadence in our society, and it all started from the families (homes). When the families raise responsible children, the children will become responsible leaders. The Bible says train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old he will not depart from it. Churches should give priority to families and marriages with a view at raising responsible individuals that will render good governance to our nation, Nigeria.
#ASO Dominion Church is at 13, Osegbere Street, Agodo Egbe, Lagos:Telephone: 08022751294