Rev. Dr. Israel Kristilere has emphasized the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer, and also disclosed how the gift of faith has distinguished him as a servant of God. Rev. Dr. Israel Kristilere is an ordained and anointed minister of God’s word and his power. He gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1982 and received a special touch of the Holy Spirit in 1989. He responded to God’s call into the ministry in the year 1991 while studying Accountancy at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Rev. Kristilere (PhD), a native of Oyo town in Oyo State, is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan and the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Oyo State where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Bachelor of Theology (1995) respectively. He also holds a Masters of Arts Degree from the University of Ibadan (2006) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Religious Studies from the same University (2014), specializing in the New Testament Languages and Literature. He is happily married to Toyin, a Chartered Accountant and banker at First Bank. The family is blessed with three children: Heritage, Jedidiah and Lois. Rev. Kristilere has authored eight inspiring books namely: 1. Lord, Increase Our Faith, (2002), 2. This Valley Valley Shall Be Filled (2002) .Marriage: A Mystery and A Ministry (2004). 4. Seven Pillars of Wisdom(2014). 5. The Manifestation of the Sons of God (2014). 6. Your Pathways to Undeniable Blessings (2004). 7. Money: You Can Control It (2014). 8. Beware: Making Your Life Journey A Success (2014). He was the Pioneer Full-time Pastor of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Ilupeju. And later the Senior Pastor of Ijero Baptist Church, Ebute Metta, and currently Senior Pastor, Shepherd hill Baptist Church (The Sanctuary of Grace and Glory), Obanikoro, all in Lagos State. He conducts pilgrimages to the Holy Land twice a year (March & October) and plans same for Churches and Denominations. He is also the Founding President, Friends of Israel, Nigeria (FOIN) and the Visionary/Lead Worshipper, “JUST WORSHIP”, a Night of PURE SOAKING in the Holy Spirit at which over 8000 worshippers gather annually to be soaked in God’s presence through worship. Read more about how the erudite preacher and multi-gifted Rev. Dr. Kristilere from the ancient Oyo town, abandoned his accountancy study at The Polytechnic, Ibadan for a seminary.
Sir, please can we meet you?
My name is Israel Kristilere. By the grace of God I’m an ordained minister of God’s word and his power. I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos. I hail from Oyo town in Oyo state, Nigeria. I was privileged to study at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, where I obtained Bachelor of Theology and also a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Ibadan all in 1995. I also obtained a Masters Degree from the same university in 2006. I’m a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan (2014). I’m married to Toyin, a chartered accountant and a banker. We are blessed with three children, Heritage, Jedidiah and Lois. I served as the pioneer pastor at Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Ilupeju, Lagos. Later, I became pastor of a Yoruba speaking assembly of Ijero Baptist Church Ebute Metta, Lagos, before I came to serve since 2006 as a Senior Pastor of Shepherdhill Baptist Church. I love worshiping God and I love preaching his word. I love standing on God’s word. And I have no doubt that God’s word is always doing us good.
Can we have a look at your upbringing?
I was privileged to have grown in a Christian home. My parents were Christians. Actually, it was my mother that first went to a seminary in 1975. In the year 1978 my father also accepted the call to serve the Lord in the ministry. I grew up in the mission house with my parents serving the Lord. I’m the third child of six in the family, but the first son by His grace. I love serving the Lord. I enjoyed living with my parents, especially my father who was a pastor in my church. Actually he was the first pastor I grew up to know and recognize in my family.
Share with us your rebirth experience by which you became a believer?
Like I said earlier I grew up in Christian home, but I didn’t give my life to the Lord until 1982. Despite that my parents were pastors I still had my own quiet way of living my sinful life. It was not as bad as that of my other colleagues who would look at me as someone who was special. But I knew I was not okay until in December 1982 after I watched a film show in one of our Baptist churches titled “The Restless Ones.” The film was about some young chaps who were restless and disturbing the society until God arrested them. After I watched the film I decided to turn my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and stop being restless. I decided to serve him and please him. When the altar call was made after the film I came out and gave my life to the Lord. The Lord has been faithful over the years since 1982 till date.
How many years now have you been walking with the Lord, and how will you describe your walk with him over the years?
It is about 38 years now that I began my walk with the Lord. I have been privileged to be in the Lord. I must confess that the Lord has been very wonderful to me. There have been ups and downs in my spiritual journey, but I thank God for his grace that has sustained me thus far. I give him praise. With him I have surmounted mountains. To the glory of God I got baptized in 1983 and had a special touch of the Holy Spirit in 1989. That quickly changed my life and I began to walk with the Holy Spirit. It is actually the Holy Spirit that motivated and catapulted me as a catalyst to greater heights. My walk with the Holy Spirit makes the difference in all my ministrations and activities. I value his presence and power most in all that I do. I have enjoyed my walk with the Lord these 38 years and still enjoying it for his glory.
Share with us how you received the call into ministry, and also tell us some of the gifts that God endowed your for the ministry.
I didn’t like to serve in the ministry because my parents who were in the ministry didn’t enjoy their ministry. The churches they served with and the experiences they went through didn’t encourage me. I told myself I would rather grow up and get a better job and make better money. I wanted to be an accountant and not be in ministry whereby people determine what they will give me. I didn’t want to depend on what people would give me. In 1982 when I returned from school, I went straight to my parents and told them that when I grow up I want to do three jobs together. I will love to be a teacher, a pastor and a doctor. My mother said I cannot do the three vocations together. She said I could probably be a teacher or preacher, but not a doctor. That time doctors were never pastors. That occasion made my father to tell my mother to tell me the story of my birth. Actually the first three children my parents had were girls. One of them died before I was born. My father was not yet born again that time in the late 1960s when we lived in Lagos. He traveled to his home town Oyo to consult his uncle who was an herbalist. That uncle gave him a statute that if my mother could make a sacrifice to that statute they would have a male child. My mother, being a born again child of God refused to worship the statute. Instead she threw the statute into a pit latrine when my father went to work. When my father returned from work he was very angry for what my mother had done. In anger he told my mother I’m making efforts to ensure that we have a male child but you are not willing to cooperate with me. You don’t want me to have a male child. If you ever have any girl again in addition to the ones you have had, you are leaving my house. That was a threat really. That was what my mother needed to go to the house of the Lord, Union Baptist Church, Agege, Lagos, that year to pray to God. She said, ‘Lord, you have heard the threat of this man. I did what I did because I believe in you and trust in your power. Please, give me a male child. And if you give me a male child I promise you he will serve you.’ That was my mother’s vow before the Lord. And according to her, the following year, precisely May 14 of that year, God gave her a male child, and that male child happens to be me. And that is why one of the names she gave me is Oluwadamidare (God has vindicated me). Another name that she gave me is Akinremilekun (a boy has come to comfort me) because the girl before me had actually died before I was born. When I heard this story I was not really convinced because I had made up my mind that the ministry work is not something I should go into because of the experiences that my parents had in ministry.
Share with us how you eventually began your journey into the ministry?
When I finished my secondary school I was blessed to have a very good result; seven (7) distinctions and only one (1) credit from eight subjects. I told myself I needed to study accountancy. So, I made efforts to study accountancy. And all my attempts to get admission into a higher institution to study accountancy failed, until I realized it was God that was blocking me. But I was not willing to go to seminary despite the fact that I never had the opportunity of going to the university. I told God if you can offer me admission into any higher institution the moment you open the door to a seminary training I will go. And that year 1990, I gained admission to study accountancy at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. I had finished a year and I was in my second year when I got admission to study at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso. It was a tough decision for me to go ahead and drop accountancy, which I was almost concluding at time because the Lord needed me in the ministry. So, I left The Polytechnic Ibadan for the seminary. Many of my colleagues wondered why I would do that. God wanted to use me. Some said I can defer my admission and later come back. But the Lord said to me I must leave. So, I went straight and had my 4 years training at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso and graduated in 1995. So, my going into ministry is first, as a result of my mother’s vow. Secondly, personal encounter with the Lord later telling me I was created and born to serve him. And that is the goal of my life; serving God all the days of my life.
What are some of the gifts that God endowed you for the ministry?
I must confess to you that by the grace of God I’m a multi-gifted minister of God, but the gift of faith is paramount and that is what people see most in me. I believe God for greater things and he has always been working greater things. Discernment of spirits is another good gift that God endowed me and also the gift of healing. I have seen all manner of miracles under my ministrations. Also by the grace of God I have the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. Occasionally, when I minister God gives me a word of knowledge and a word of wisdom. So, I can say that those nine fold gifts have been manifesting in my life. But of paramount evidence are the gift of faith, the gift of healing and the gift of discerning spirits. These are gifts that have been so evident in the ministry the Lord has given to me.