Last October 9, 2020 Rev. Afolabi Samuel Coker, Senior Pastor of The King’s Chamber (TKC) clocked 60 years old. A brilliant geologist and former university don, Rev. Coker shares some of his horrible escapades in his six decades of life and how mercy found him and led him to Jesus Christ to become one of Nigeria’s reputable preachers of the gospel. In the below interview with one of his protégés and publisher of Christian Benefits, Wole Olarinde, the boyish-looking Coker opens the pages of his life and reveals what life has taught him at 60 as he declares, “No matter what life throws at you, hold onto God.” in this no hold barred interesting, revealing and educative interview. Excerpts.
Sir, congratulations on your 60th birthday last October 9, 2020. Please can we meet you?
My name is Afolabi Samuel Coker the visioner of Settle Me O Lord and Senior Pastor of The King’s Chamber also known as Redemption Inheritance Ministries.
What are you most grateful to God for at 60?
I am grateful to God for my salvation. I am grateful to God for calling me out of the dunghill unto the marvelous light of Jesus Christ and being used for his glory. I thank God for the breath of life and for every journey I have gone through in life. I thank him for my ups and downs; losses and profits; successes and failures. I thank God for everything. The scriptures says in all things we should give him thanks.
How does it feel clocking 60 years on earth?
Well nothing is different to me because I am still very young at heart. I still look very young physically. I tell people 60 for me is just an official age.
What has life taught you at 60th?
At 60 what life has taught me is no matter what life throws at you, hold onto God. Your greatest asset is men; your asset worst is also men. So hold onto God.
Can we have a look at your upbringing and background?
I was born October 9, 1960 at Osogbo in present Osun State to the family of Mr. David Babatunde Coker & Mrs. Elizabeth Olufunke Coker; both indigenes of Abeokuta, Ogun state. In 1962 my father was transferred to Ilorin, and so I grew up in Ilorin till 1995. I started primary school in 1966 in Bishop David Demonstration primary school, Ilorin I attended Government Secondary School Ilorin from 1972-1976. I spent a year in at Saint Augustine College, Kabba, from 1976 -1977. I worked as an internal auditor from 1977-79. I attended University of Ilorin, where I had my first degree in Geology. I had my master’s degree at University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, O.AU, Ile Ife, Osun State). I became a graduate fellow at University of Ife same year, and went on and worked as exploration manager for Obokun Minerals Development Company, Ilesa, Osun State. I was also a part-time lecturer at Ogun State College of Science & technology; now Federal university of Agriculture (FUNAB). Thereafter I became a lecturer in the University of Ilorin and left the university in 1995 as Lecturer 2 in the Department of Geology & Mineral Sciences. I had second class upper division in my first degree. In my master’s degree I was the overall best in Applied Geology (Mineral exploration option). I started my PhD in University of Ilorin but I didn’t submit my thesis to complete the course. I came into full time ministry in 1995 at Rhema Chapel Ilorin. I became the church administrator. I was ordained November 23, 1991 as a pastor. In 1995 I was posted to Lagos to plant Rhema Chapel Surulere. In October 2002 The King’s Chamber was birthed after release from Rhema Chapel. We started the first service on the last Sunday of April 2004.
Share with us some of your fond memories as a child, particularly the pranks and other naughty things you played as a kid?
In the course of my growing up I never lived more than seven years with my parents. I lived with my grandparents, relatives or family friends; who were either Muslims or Christians. So, I transverse various homes and families and that helped me to map out what I want my family to be; the kind of marriage and family I want to bring up. When I was growing up there was nothing like liberty. So I learned that the best way to have a fulfilled destiny for your family members is to give your children liberty. When I was growing up I was involved in so many activities. I was a member of Palm wine drunkards club. I was a press man on the campus. I had incidence whereby I was exposing cult members on the campus at the risk of been kidnapped or killed. I travelled for parties from Ilorin to Abeokuta and some other places without my parents knowing. Every weekend we trekked round the town searching for parties where we were not invited to attend. There was a time I was detained at the police station and I had a test the following morning. We had gate crashed into a party and we were pursued and eventually found ourselves at the police station. We were the ones that went to the police station to report only for us to become the accusers at the station. Also during my NYSC days I had 32 female bedmates. And to the glory of God I didn’t contact HIV. I completely went astray to the extent that I was drinking beer like I was a brewery. I eventually stopped drinking alcohol not as a Christian but because of the embarrassment it was causing me and I said enough is enough. I started smoking cigarettes before I was 12 years old. My parents were unaware of my pranks because I was living a dual personality. I was more or a less a trouble maker in school but quiet at home. When I became saved and dedicated my life to Christ I became transformed, but I had to pay the price of losing all my worldly friends. If I had not left them, I may probably have backslide or may have lost my marriage or even lost my life all together. At a point I was alone, but not alone with God because one with God is a majority. I thank God for where I am today. Most of my friends in the world back then are back with me because they have also given their lives to Jesus Christ.
How will you describe the kind of upbringing that those you lived with gave to you?
What I have observed in life is that except God makes you, you can’t be made. Every journey of my life as a child born in Coker’s family, as a student in primary, secondary schools and university, as a geologist, as a university lecturer, as a pastor, as a husband and as father has taught me a lesson that except the Lord nobody can be or become any good in life.
Share with us your rebirth encounter, by which you became a believer?
I first got born again in 1972 in form one in the secondary school. I gave my life to Christ then in order to avoid the morning duties of boarding house students. When I became a senior student in forms 3/4 I backslide. But in 1988 a friend called Derinsola Omole gave me a meal ticket to attend the Full Gospel Men Fellowship Int’l (FGMFI) breakfast meeting at Ilesha. I attended the fellowship, and lo and behold the person who preached at that meeting, Dr. Victor Adeboye, was a surgeon from Ibadan. I looked at the status of the people at the meeting and looked at myself. And I asked myself if this kind of people can be serving God, why can’t I? By the time the man finished preaching I couldn’t eat the breakfast I was served. I was just longing and asking myself what does it take me to be like these people who are top notch professionals, yet they are serving God? Instantly, I gave my life to Jesus Christ at that meeting. Shortly after this encounter its memory and impart were about disappearing when Bishop Mike Bamidele, who was then the vice president of FGMFI Ilesha, started visiting my house. Whenever he saw a lady with me in the house he would just say he came to check on me since he didn’t see me at the fellowship. It was like anytime I was about to commit fornication he would just appear in my house and I would restrain myself from the sin. Gradually I stopped committing sin. If I was going to have anything to do with anyone that person must be born again. I started leading other people to the FGMFI meeting.
How long have you been walking with Christ, and how will you describe your walk with him over the years?
I have been walking with Christ for about 32 years now. My walk with him over the years has been consistent and very pleasurable. I have never for once given up walking with him even when everything at some points looked scattered.
As a young convert or believer, who were those you looked up to as your mentors or role models in the Christian faith?
If at all I looked up to anyone it will be my pastor, Rev. George Adegboye, Presiding of Rhema Chapel Int’l. Christ is the purpose of my service. Out of the 19 units in Rhema Chapel Ilorin I was active in 17 units. I was never tired. I worked conscientiously, fasting and attending meetings. I was never late to any meeting. Nobody can fault my commitment to God and service at Rhema Chapel Int’l.
Share with us how you received the call of God into full time ministry?
In year 2000 I said God it must not be said of me that a fool at 40 is a fool forever. So, I went on 40 days prayer & fasting at Ajebo camp of The Foursquare Church. In the course of that God told me I had less than two years left at Rhema Chapel. Thereafter, I visited my spiritual father Rev. George Adegboye in Ilorin and told him my intention to exit Rhema Chapel and requested for three months break; my one month annual leave and two months to work out the vision of my next assignment. He said I should not leave, but I know the system, once you made your intention known that you are leaving you are already gone. So, you must be sure before you make your decision to leave. After I made my intention known to him, I traveled out of the country to further seek the face of God. When I returned home the pressure was too much for me, but I didn’t get distracted till I finally left as Senior Pastor of Rhema Chapel Surulere and birthed The King’s Chamber in April 2004. The Rhema Chapel authority prayed for me and formally released me.
Tell us the mandate of your commission by God into full time ministry?
The mandate is to bring about fulfillment and transformation to lives by giving direction by the word and by the spirit,
What are the gifts God endowed you to run this mandate?
There is nothing like Reverend in the Bible I am not called as pastor. God allowed me in that office to have a base for the ministry. God called me to give direction by the word and by the spirit as an apostolic and prophetic calling. Different people see me differently. Some see me as a pastor, evangelist, teacher, prophet or apostle.
Share with us some of your high moments and low moments in these 60 years.
One of my high moments was the day of my salvation when I submitted my life to Christ. Another high moment of my life was when God called me into ministry to impart lives. My low moments were anytime I could not do as much as I wanted spiritually, financially etc. Even when people left me I didn’t feel low or downcast.
What does life now mean to you at 60?
What life now means or has always meant to me is I should hod unto God at all times.
If Christ tarries, what are now your aspirations in life before you clock 70?
My aspiration is to do much more than what I have done. I want to rupture empty. I want to reach out more to save more souls and to plant more churches.
Will you say you are fulfilled at 60, especially as a preacher of the gospel?
When you talk about fulfillment you are talking about arrival. There are still more grounds for me to cover. Age is mere number. On this basis I’m not yet fulfilled.
Finally sir, can we have a look at your wonderful family; talking about your beautiful wife and your lovely children?
God who preserved my life till I met my wife knew the kind of wife to give me. My wife is a genuine help mate. My life has been exceptional since we married. She understands me. And for our children, because of my background I don’t force things on them. I only show them the way and it is theirs to make their choice.