Pastor E.A Adeboye
IMAGE: Pastor E. A Adeboye »
Born on March 2nd 1942 to Moses Adeboye, a farmer and part-time traditional musician, and Esther Adeboye, a trader in locust beans, Enoch's poor parental background painted a grim picture of a child that would be confined to the peasant life. But the little lad, whose father had migrated to Ilesha now in Osun State in Nigeria to settle, had a different agenda for his life. Enoch was registered at St. Stephen's Anglican Primary School, Ifewara to begin his primary education.
Brilliant, calm and reticent with amiable primness, his teachers had no doubt that the lad had a scholarly aura and a cut for the academic event at that tender age.
It was therefore, not surprising that young Enoch Adeboye soon gained admission into Ilesha Grammar School. But therein lay the acid test and indeed a gulf to cross. The bruising truth was that Enoch's tall ambition to pursue an academic dream in a high school was irreconcilable with the abject poverty of Moses, his father.
Destiny indeed smiled on Adeboye as Moses and his wife were compelled to sell their few cherished possessions and borrowed from kind neighbours to ensure that their son's dream took a step towards a practical reality. And so, Enoch landed at Ilesha Grammar School. And the little chap soon began to see a grey light of dawn on a horizon. In school, his closest companions were poverty and hunger. But he carried his pains with stoical poise. He never had a fat wallet but he sure had a fat will. And so he resolved to work hard to succeed and to lift his parents from the despicable dungeon of poverty. He almost did. But this noble dream was fractured while he was in his final year. The sad news sneaked in that solemn afternoon: Moses his father was dead. It was shocking and traumatic news.
Led by his principal, Adeboye returned home to pay his last respect to his father and went back to school same day to face his exams; his mind blurred by the interrupting memory of his father's freezing silence.
Adeboye finished his secondary school career, winning prizes for the best student. However, on the prize-giving day, the pain of poverty once again loomed. At the ripe age of 18, it dawned on him that he had neither a pair of trousers nor a pair of shoes, even if ugly, to wear to the prize giving ceremony. He borrowed a pair of shoes and pants from a relative. Even though they were the wrong sizes, and he must have looked awkward and ludicrous in them, he wore them with pride to pick his prize. This poverty for him must be the spur in his quest to be a paragon of success in life.
Enoch taught briefly at a local school before gaining admission into the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). Here, he joined the volleyball team, not so much because of his love for sports but because of some free meals. The Nigeria civil war jeopardized his career at UNN. The Ifewara lad later obtained his bachelors degree from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
Enoch, now caressing the sunny side of life, soon obtained his Masters degree, and a PH.D in Hydro-Dynamics from the University of Lagos at the youthful age of 30. His whole ambition now was to be the youngest University Vice Chancellor in Africa
But Adeboye's ambition was short lived; for he would soon have his own 'burning bush' experience. One of his daughters became ill and orthodox medicine proved ineffective. This was in 1973. A cousin had invited him and his wife to a church, The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), to seek divine healing for their daughter.
What the Mathematics Teacher and his adorable wife did not know, and could not have imagined, as they stepped out of their house that day was that they had begun to walk into God's ultimate plan for their lives.
Adeboye could not understand why this bunch of illiterate preachers felt he had to surrender his life to Jesus Christ in order to overcome his afflictions. “What do these ones know about the philosophy and psychology of religions?” he thought to himself.
Finally the Word of God penetrated, and on July 29, 1973, sobbing like a baby, Mr. Adeboye ran to the altar to accept Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour.
The young convert received a divine touch, and peace returned to his life. As he heard the message of complete holiness, he decided to live by the Word. He rarely missed church services. He started reading the Bible after he found out that the mostly illiterate members of the church had better grasp than him. He decided to take Sunday School very seriously and pay attention to the weekly memory verses.
A Living Witness
From the moment he gave his life to Christ, Pastor Adeboye eagerly shared the gospel. His colleagues and students at the University of Lagos were the primary targets of his evangelical zeal. His passion to win souls for Jesus led him to reach out to members of his extended family, and neighbours. In 1977, Pastor Adeboye paid 15 years rent to hire a cocoa warehouse in Ifewara, for use as a branch of RCCG.
Pastor Adeboye has a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Lagos, and worked as a lecturer in mathematics at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin; After joining the RCCG, he began working to translate the sermons of its then Pastor and founder, Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, from Yoruba into English.
The Mantle Falls
As Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi grew old, the issue of his successor crept up. But before he passed on to glory on November 2, 1980, at the age of 71, he had left a clear statement about who the Lord had chosen to succeed him. Pastor E. A. Adeboye, was the choice. He and his wife began to desperately cry to God to let the cup pass over him. But in January 1981, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye became the new leader of the church.
Coming from the ivory tower to a modest apartment in Mushin, a densely populated area of Lagos, was like falling from grace to grass. But that turned out to be the beginning of a new thing. The new leader's modesty would not permit him to be called Reverend or General Superintendent, so he changed his title to Pastor, and his designation to General Overseer. The vision which God dropped in the heart of an unlettered man began to blossom in the hands of the scholar. From 40 parishes, which he inherited in 1981, the Church now has more than 15,000 parishes in more than 100 countries.
Pastor Adeboye and Wife, Pastor Folu Adeboy
Pastor Adeboye's delivery of the gospel is unique. Points follow one another in a logical sequence, as if he is proving a mathematical theory. He is also a giant in prayer and worship. He spends hours with the God whose message he bears daily. As a Pastor, strict discipline and unusual hard work strike a balance in his caring heart.
Mummy G.O., Pastor Folu Adeboye, wife of the General Overseer is a strong pillar and efficient planner that complements the efforts of her husband. She is endowed with immense initiative, and great capacity for hard work. Her attributes have helped the G.O. to obey God's command to be great.
Pastor Adeboye, minister, teacher, evangelist, and academic, is the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a network of over 15000 parish-churches spread across the globe, with active churches in 100 countries.
In the forefront of missionary activity out of Africa, Pastor Adeboye has achieved, through various global ministry and social organs, a great following for Christ Jesus. A counselor to pastors and heads of governments, this venerable elder statesman’s influence has today far outstripped his lowly background, and his all-pervading humility.
In recognition of his contribution as a global icon and teacher of the word, he was voted in 2009 as one of the world’s 50 most influential people by Newsweek magazine, USA.
Pastor E.A. Adeboye website chronicles his journey of faith, his sojourns, his milestone achievements, and future programmes and plans. It details his itinerary, his biography, his bibliography, and his resources. The site brings to life this legendary yet unassuming personage and opens a valve- through contact, chat-room, prayer interface links-to his many children, as he calls his members, and for all who wish to know, follow, and interact with this God’s General of our time.