WINNERS Chapel founder Bishop David Oyedepo has announced plans to spend N200bn ($500m) building 9,250 churches across rural Nigeria next year as part of an ambitious expansion programme aimed at boosting membership.
Bishop Oyedepo, 66, is the head of Living Faith Church, popularly known as Winners Chapel and is believed to be the wealthiest of Nigeria’s new breed of pastorprueners. These wealthy clergymen collect 10% of their congregations earnings in the form of tithes and with their large following have become millionaires.
Most of these pastorprueners own strings of businesses, have fleets of posh cars, own private universities and travel around in private jets, with a retinue of body guards. Bishop Oyedepo is estimated by Forbes to be worth $150m as he exerts control over churches in 45 African nations, as well as several in Dubai, the UK and the US.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, church revenues have been hit hard as closures, a fall in attendance and the economic impact of the lockdown have taken their toll. In a bid to reverse this trend, Bishop Oyedepo revealed yesterday at the church’s annual Shiloh programme that the massive project would create jobs for villagers.
According to Bishop Oyedepo, his church spent hundreds of millions of naira to distribute palliatives in 30 states of Nigeria and 14 countries. He added that these new rural churches would be built without any stress.
Bishop Oyedepo said: “This year’s Shiloh sacrifice is dedicated to the building of 9,250 sanctuaries in the countryside/hinterland. We are building for Jesus in those villages and to give them a sense of worth.
“We gave hundreds of millions in servicing palliatives across the nation and across the nations of the world and we bought major things to help like ambulances and all that. So you wonder why we don’t have stress? We don’t have stress because we have an understanding of the covenant?
He added that the churches or sanctuaries would become solution centres for humanity. “There is no one that partook of this sacrifice that will struggle to build a house. Many people will come out of their own houses before Shiloh 2021.
“There is no one that participated with His precious seed, it may look small in the eyes of men, your precious seed who will not return with rejoicing. Many will return with tears of joy. Many will be on the floor sobbing.
“My God will turn the captivity of everyone that partook of this sacrifice. Father we present these sacrifices before you, let it be a sweet smelling savour before your throne and let curses be averted like you did in the time of Noah,” Bishop Oyedepo prayed.