A Brief History of Deeper Life Bible Church

 

Deeper Life Bible Church is one of the oldest and biggest Neo Pentecostal Churches (NPCs) in Africa. The founder of this church is William Folorunso Kumuyi, popularly known as W.F. Kumuyi. Pastor Kumuyi was brought up in a strict Anglican family but it was in the Apostolic Faith Church, a Pentecostal holiness church from North America at Ikenne, that he became born again in 1964. Pastor Kumuyi attended the famous Mayflower School at Ikenne for his secondary education and after completing his Higher School Certificate he went to study mathematics at the University of Ibadan. He later graduated in 1967 with a first class honours in mathematics. While he was studying at the University of Ibadan he was involved with Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU) and he also continued to attend the Apostolic Faith Church.

After graduation Pastor Kumuyi went back to teach at Mayflower School. It was while he was teaching at Mayflower that he became involved with the work of Scripture Union (SU). In 1971 he did a post-graduate diploma course in Education at the University of Lagos. In 1972 he was employed as a Lecturer at the same University and he retired in 1983 in order to serve as a full-time pastor. It was while he was a Lecturer at the College of Education, University of Lagos that he started a Bible study group for students and non-students in 1973.[i] As a result of Pastor Kumuyi’s exposition and interpretation of Scriptures more students began to attend and Pastor Kumuyi was also invited on numerous occasions to speak at seminars, conferences and other Christian gatherings.

In 1975, the Bible study group had its first retreat at Akoka, Lagos State, which later became a major landmark in the history of Deeper Life Bible Church. The same year the name Deeper Christian Life Ministry was adopted by the group. In 1976 Deeper Life had an Easter retreat which attracted around 2,500 people. In 1977 Pastor Kumuyi left the Apostolic Faith Church due to doctrinal differences.[ii]

Through Pastor Kumuyi’s publications and retreats the message of holiness and sanctification was spread all over Nigeria. This holiness code has become a defining feature for Deeper Life Christians in Africa and abroad. In 1983 Deeper Life experienced a dramatic growth through House Fellowships known as ‘home caring fellowships’, and by February of the same year 15,000 house fellowships were established all over the country.[iii] This became a concept that other NPCs started to use. In the early 1990s Deeper Life had more than 5,000 branch churches in Nigeria and many more branches all over Africa. The headquarters of the church at Gbagada attracts around 150,000 attendants during its five Sunday services. Deeper Life Bible Church started in Britain in 1985 through the pioneering work of Pre Ovia. The church now has about 65 church plants in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The church also have been planted in Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand.

The UK church recently purchased a former cinema building in St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction in London. The multi-purpose building has been fully refurbished into a modern auditorium with the capacity to seat 2,500 people.

 


[i] Musa A.B. Gaiya, The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria, a paper presented at a seminar of the Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen, 2002, p. 12.

[ii] Alan Isaacson, Deeper Life: The Extraordinary Growth of Deeper Life Bible Church, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1990, p.125.

[iii] Ojo, op cit., p. 168.

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About israelolofinjana

Rev Israel Oluwole Olofinjana is an ordained and accredited Baptist minister and has pastored Crofton Park Baptist Church (2007-2011) and Catford Community Church (2011-2013). He is currently the pastor of Woolwich Central Baptist Church, a multicultural church in south east London. He is Nigerian coming from a Pentecostal background. He holds a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and MTh from Carolina University of Theology (CUT). Israel is the editor of “Turning the Tables on Mission: Stories of Christians from the Global South in the UK” and author of “Reverse in Ministry and Missions: Africans in the Dark Continent of Europe” and “20 Pentecostal Pioneers in Nigeria” He has spoken in a number of conferences regarding reverse mission and Black Majority Churches (BMCs) and has also contributed to academic journals and Christian magazines on the subject of Black Majority Churches (BMC) in Britain. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at Queens Foundation, Birmingham and a trustee and visiting lecturer at Redcliffe College. Israel is also one of the Directors of Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World an initiative design to train and equip pastors and missionaries from the South. He is a member of the Global Connections council. When he is not preaching or writing he is playing with Lego! He is happily married to Lucy who works as the Media and Communications Officer with Churches Together in England. She is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), earning a BA in Social Anthropology and International Development. Lucy loves baking and watching movies! They are blessed with one son, Iyanuoluwa (God's miracle)
This entry was posted in African Church History and Theology, Black Majority Churches (BMCs), History and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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