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.