Prophet Dr. Samson Ayorinde, General Overseer, World Evangelism Bible Church is one preacher who has laid down his life for the cause of the gospel. A renowned evangelist and host of the famous Anointing Night and the nationwide Fire Crusade that attracts millions of participants in one meeting, reflects on the vision, mandate and impact of World Evangelism Bible Church (WEBIC), as WEBIC celebrates its 25th anniversary in November 2020. In this interview with Christian Benefits’ Wole Olarinde, the amiable Prophet Dr. Ayorinde shares how he escaped armed robbery attacks and road accidents in the course of his crusade mission, and also how the Nigerian clampdown on his famous miracle broadcast on television in the country and lots more. Excerpts.
Sir, we heartily congratulate you and the church on the forthcoming 25th anniversary celebration of World Evangelism Bible Church (WEBIC) this November 2020. How does it feel seeing WEBIC clocking 25 years?
I am excited for God’s faithfulness and his divine support and protection over my family and the entire members of World Evangelism Bible Church these 25 years.
At 25 years of existence WEBIC is a huge success globally. Will you please share with us how the success story began?
It all started in Zaria, Kaduna state in 1993 while I was waiting on the Lord on 40 days fasting &prayer. God spoke to me that I should move the base of the ministry to Lagos. He gave us the name of the ministry and also showed us the picture of where to start the ministry. In 1994 we started the field work of the ministry. In 1995 we fully began the church with the official commissioning of the church. That will be 25 years ago this November. God has been faithful to us till now.
When WEBIC started 25 years ago in Lagos, did you envisage that the church would attain the high level of success and fame it has attained today at 25?
Yes, I believed that. I told prophetess that we would be traveling around the world preaching the gospel. I saw the vision of us holding crusade in stadium from as far back as 1986. I used to see myself in the stadium preaching the gospel to a huge crowd of people. So, I was basically thinking of ministering at crusade programmes.
Will you please share with us some of the early challenges of the church, and how you survived those challenges to keep the church going successfully till now?
One early challenge was when some men that started with us suddenly left us. We also had challenges in the area of finance and how to combine the crusade work with the church work. In the course of our crusade many times we had been attacked by armed robbers. We have had several road accidents. For instance, on our way from Idiroko crusade through Atan, Ado-Odo-Ota to Sango-Ota we were shots by armed robbers. Our convoy was ridden with 16 bullet shots by armed robbers. But God is faithful. We survived that attack. None of us was injured.
Share with us your services to the Lord before WEBIC started 25 years ago.
Before WEBIC started I served with Jesus Alive Evangelical Mission (JAEM) in Zaria, Kaduna state. I started some centres for the mission in Kaduna and Jos. Of course we went round holding crusade in Kaffancha and Koi among other places in Southern Kaduna where they are killing people today. I worked in those places. They were not as violent as today. Most times I worked in the forest. When I resigned from JAEM, I worked as a freelance evangelist for two years until the Lord told me to move to Lagos. So, I left Zaria in 1993 and started WEBIC in 1995. While in JAEM, because I am an evangelist they transferred me from one place to another, and I planted many fellowship centres for JAEM. Fellowship is different from church. The only church I pioneered was burned during the Maitasene protest. The one in Kaduna was also burned. In those days when the Islamic fundamentalists struck they burned churches everywhere. About three JAEM churches were burnt twice by the fundamentalists and we had to start all over again until I left the ministry.
What is the exact mandate of your commission by the Lord into the ministry?
The exact mandate of my commission by the Lord is world evangelization via crusade and the mass media of radio and television stations as well as the social media. We extensively use the mass media of radio and television to achieve this mandate. We organize our crusade in conjunction with the local chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of our host communities. We don’t use our crusade as an opportunity to start church. As a policy we don’t plant church in the places we organize crusade. We didn’t hold crusade in those places we planted churches. If we plant churches in the areas we organize crusade it will affect the local churches in those areas. Therefore, we release and distribute the converts in our crusade to local churches in those areas instead of planting churches there.
What are the gifts that God endowed you to achieve the above mandate?
Basically, they are gifts of evangelism, miracles, deliverance and healing, and the gift of word of knowledge and discerning of spirit. The prophetic is part of it too.
Tell us the vision, mandate and impact of your famous Anointing Night service
The sole purpose of that programme is soul winning for God to confirm his word through miracles that people can think and accept Christ. Again, it is to populate churches by circulating the souls we harvest in our crusade to the local churches of our host communities. We then return to the base to continue the church work. When the season for the Anointing Night came, we hosted it at LTV, MITV and finally at the national stadium, Lagos. It was when we moved the programme to the national stadium that the Fire Crusade started. Subsequently we started taking the Fire Crusade from place to place and state to state. And talking about the impact of the Fire Crusade, the harvest was ripe and the season was indeed good.
It appears the Anointing Night programme has been suspended, and why sir?
Originally Anointing Night is not an outside programme. For the Fire Crusade this is not the season for crusade. Taking the programme back to the church there are a lot of logistic problems involved like transportation, the nature of Lagos, then the fact that the work now is more demanding on the church. At a stage we were doing crusade connected with the church. We were using crusade to start church programmes. It has been very challenging because when you use crusade crowd to start a church, not many of the crowd come to be established in church. When you do a crusade to build church it’s like you throw a net in the sea and you catch some elements inside the net. Inside the net you carry fish, crab, stone and debris. And what you really need is the fish. The crab is edible but you do not really need it. The stone and debris are inedible but you don’t need them. That is how crusade is. When you use those kinds of people (stone and the debris) from a crusade to start a church it has poor impact on the church.
Some years ago the Nigerian government clampdown on miracle broadcast by religious organizations on the television stations in the country. It was at the peak of your popular miracle broadcast on television stations. How did that clampdown affect you?
The clamp down forced us to shift our crusade outside the country. We moved the work outside the country because the government wouldn’t allow us to broadcast miracles. We were first forced out of the national stadium before they banned us from television. It was when the government chased us out the national Stadium that we started taking the fire crusade to different places in the country. When the government now banned our miracle broadcast outright we had to move the work to other countries. So, it was Nigeria’s loss and other countries’ gain.
Your lovely wife, Prophetess Mercy Ayorinde, plays a prominent and significant role both in your life and ministry. How will you describe her impact in your life and ministry these past 25 years of WEBIC’s existence.
To the glory of God, she is doing the work very well. She is very zealous about the work. She is mummy to the core. She is very consistent in prayer and very caring. She is very supportive in the ministry. She is full of zeal. She has always been there all these years. I pray the Lord will give her very long life with sound health.
Both of you are always out together doing the work. How do you combine the ministry work with the home responsibility without one affecting the other?
It is a challenge too but we are able to manage with all the children, especially now that we are getting “younger” (laughter) we are now more at home. We now have more time for the home. Some of our children are now outside the country. We have time for those at home. Things are getting balanced and the work is progressing.
Please share with us some of the sacrifices you made to take the work this far?
First, it takes the grace of God to be able to wait on the Lord in intensive fasting and prayer. We shed the flesh to be able to feed the spirit. That is a very strong area of the ministry. Then the sacrifice of not been able to sit down with the family to be available for the children and other things at home. There were several times of complaints from the children; we want to see daddy and mummy more at home. I bless God for prophetess. She is very communicative. She is more of a talker than me. Communication is always a challenge both in the ministry and at home. But God is faithful. Another sacrifice is the area of doing counseling all day and praying all night. It seriously affects my sleeping pattern. It is one area I want the youth and younger ministers of God to watch. My intensive prayer and fasting for several days or months affect my sleeping pattern. For you to be able to work effectively in miracle ministry there must be a constant life of prayer and fasting of at least six hours per day regularly. I did that for several years. I doubt if there is anyone who operates in miracle ministry without making such a sacrifice. So, it’s quite demanding. The pressure is connected with the crusade.
Now, looking back in retrospect are you fulfilled with WEBIC at 25 years?
If we say we are fulfilled it means we are telling God to stop the work. There will always be the hunger to want to do more. We are forgetting the past in order to reach out to more souls for Christ. What have we done yet? We still have more grounds to cover. May God endow us with more grace and strength to do more in Jesus name.
By God’s grace World Evangelism Bible Church (WEBIC) will celebrate its 25th anniversary this November 2020. What are the expectations?
As a result of the social distancing restriction due to the corona virus pandemic we are planning to organize virtual programmes. We will have Ministers Conference. We will hold the Sunday thanksgiving with a combined service here at the Ogudu headquarters church. There will be visiting, song ministrations and testimonies. Definitely we are trusting God for normal gatherings during the anniversary week.
When you started WEBIC 25 years ago and till now who are the people you look up to as your mentors or role models in ministry?
I normally do my 40 days prayer and fasting at the Redemption Camp. I study and follow Baba E.A Adeboye’s footsteps and attend his Holy Ghost service. Then I follow the crusade pattern of Reinhard Bonnke. I follow the ministry pattern of T.L Osborn as well as Morris Cerrulo’s evangelism pattern. These are the people I always look at in ministry work. In addition, we appreciate and celebrate our other fathers in the faith, Bishop David Oyedepo, Rev. (Dr.) Moses Omodanisi and Rev. D.B Akinyemi among others.
Can you recall and appreciate the contributions of some of the people that started with Word Evangelism Bible Church (WEBIC) with you 25 years ago.
We really appreciate all the people that started WEBIC with us for their support and contributions in the success story of WEBIC at 25 years. We don’t want to mention names because we may offend some people if we forget to mention their names. We are indeed grateful to everyone. God will bountifully reward them all. We appreciate them. We celebrate them.
If Christ tarries, WEBIC will be 30 years in the next five years. What are your expectations in the church within the next five years that it will clock 30?
Our expectation is that we want the church work to be more established in all the assemblies. We want the construction works at the headquarters church completed in Jesus name. We want our foreign mission work to increase. We are trusting God to further establish our broadcast media ministry. These are some of the projections that we have in terms of establishing and starting a kind of campground for combined services that can bring the members in all our branches together.
What is the spread of World Evangelism Bible Church worldwide?
WEBIC has spread across Nigeria to some other West African countries. We have a branch in South Africa. We have a branch in the U.K. We are trying to establish the branch in Canada. In Nigeria we have branches in Lagos, Abuja, Ilorin and Port Harcourt. We have 32 branches in Lagos and 3 branches in Abuja.
In 25 years of WEBIC, have you at any time considered quitting the ministry?
There are always times of discouragement that one feels like quitting, and there is always also that inner voice telling one to go ahead. Right from the beginning I was very reluctant to go into ministry but that inner voice was insisting I must. Moses complained he was a stammerer God still pushed him to do the work. So, there is always the grace of God that sustains us at the moments of discouragement.
Finally, let’s have a look at the upbringing of Prophet Dr. Samson Ayorinde.
I came from a very humble upbringing where we were not even sure where the next meal would come from until God graciously blessed his work in our hands. There were lots of prophecies about my birth that I was an unusual child who has a specific assignment on earth. I was raised in a Christian home where regular prayer and fasting is a pattern of life. And that defines my person today as a man of intensive prayer and fasting lifestyle. My father was a staunch follower of Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola. My mother was a very committed member of ECWA.