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To many pastors and ministers that passed through Church Growth Institute between 1998 and 2005, Rev. Michael Kolawole Olalere was a familiar face, not only as a student, but also as a member of the team, dishing out lectures and prayers on deliverance and Church Growth. But after his years in the foremost African Church Growth Institute life has to move forward. Rev. Olalere is now both a teacher of the word and a Church founder. Today, he is the General Overseer and Founder of The Victorious Church, An Arm of Warfare Prayer Ministry International. Come August 1, 2021, his Church would be celebrating ten solid years since inception. Rev. Olalere here shares with PTL News the story of his one decade in practical Church planting from his base in Ijagba Estate, Lafenwa, by New Powerline, Otta, in Ogun State.

According to him, God has made it possible for him to celebrate the ten years of his Church. “The celebration is about thanksgiving. By it we need to thank God for seeing us through the journey of the first ten years of our Church, The Victorious Church, an arm of our Warfare Prayer Ministry International. Whoever God has so much favoured and refused to thank Him is nothing but an ingrate.

“It is our 10th year anniversary to appreciate God that we are not ungrateful of what He has done and for what He has in stock to do. We are celebrating it so that God will do more.”

For the one week a number of programmes have been lined up to bring together children of God to learn, pray and appreciate God for the journey so far, which according to him are by divine leading.

“This is because we don’t do anything on our own outside His leading. We are going on a one week convention tagged Multiple Increase drawn from Exodus 1.7. It holds from Monday July 26 to August 1, 2021. There will be revival at 5.00pm with many ministers who will be there to be blessings to us.

“On Friday 29th July, there will be a special Praise Night from till dawn. This will be done with our youths and our invited guest artistes and choristers. It promises to be a night of breakthrough for anyone that cares to be there. We expect the power of God to come down with anointing for multiple increase.

“The thanksgiving holds on Sunday August 1. By 7.30 am that Sunday our father in the Lord, Apostle Ezekiel Aremu Abatan will be here to bless us, to give us what we call Father’s Blessings that day. He does it every year and he has been praying for us since the inception of the Church.  After that we go into celebration proper and that will be starting by 10.30 am. That is why we are inviting people to celebrate with us. It is a special celebration.”

Looking into the journey of the first ten years of the Church, Rev. Olalere said it was not a journey without its lessons, achievements and challenges.

“It is a journey I never thought of starting. It was not in my plan to start a Church, despite that I have been in the ministry since 1997. I will be 24 years in the ministry this year by the grace of God. It was when I clocked 14 years in ministry that the Lord told me that my work was over in the office that I should meet Him on the mountain. It was there God gave me the directive and the name of the Church and we started on August 1, 2011.”

Rev. Olalere also spoke about the journey and its challenges. He said, “The journey has not been all that smooth, as expected but we still have reasons to thank God. We started by faith. Somebody gave us a space in Ipaja, and I started with my family and the Church has been growing, and God later led us to this community of Ijagba. It was after two and a half years in Ipaja that the Lord brought us here and since then the favour of God has been flowing. We thank God today for what he has done for us, and what He is still doing with glorious testimonies, we can say God has been good to us.

Life like any other things is without its challenges, and Rev. Olalere and his Victorious Church also have theirs.

He revealed, “Challenges are parts and parcel of ministry. We can’t grow without challenges. The first was the challenge of acceptance. When one is starting a new move like that, people will like to watch you from a distance, people may think of your background and what you can offer. There would be questions, but we thank God for proving us with our testimonies and growth within these years. Seeing what the Lord has done in our life, we have not only got our land, we have built it, we have our private house, we have our own car and we are expanding the church building, all these are part of our testimonies.

“There is also the challenge of faithful servants and followers, at the beginning, but we can say we have overcome that, the good and committed people are also coming and they are staying. All these have been reassuring to us.

We cannot but also mention the challenge of finance like any other venture or ministry. We have limited resources against unlimited needs. That is where prudent management comes in. We need to understand how to dispense funds. We thank God for divine promotion too. For all we have done we have not borrowed and we are not owing anybody or institution. Anything that comes to us we manage it well.

“The greatest or the worst of these challenges which I cannot but mention was the blow I suffered at the home front which is understandable to God. It was about my beloved wife who went to be with the Lord about a year ago. She slept in the Lord on July 11, 2020. The grace upon it is that she had seen the Lord before she saw death. When her time was up she told me that she had seen where she was going and I should pray that the Lord open the door for her to enter, and I prayed, and she slept. It was a very painful experience, it was a challenge, but in all we still thank God.

Asked about how his past has helped in his ministerial journey, the spiritual war commander has this to say again, “I am a product grace. I was born again in 1991. That was November 16, 1991 when I had an encounter with Jesus Christ inside a mosque. I was a born muslim. My father was an imam, in the order of muslim cleric. Jesus appeared to me while I was to do my afternoon prayer. It was about 4.00pm as I could not join the congregation in the normal Friday Jummat service, I had to organise my prayers separately after the congregational prayer. Right from when I was to do my ablution, the confusion started, because everything is in a process. I was confused and could not complete my prayers.

I had to go to the Imam to explain what I saw but he said I should not allow anything to confuse me.

“In the evening, I had to kneel down and pray at home in the night. I prayed to God to confirm his purpose for me and to prove the encounter I had in the afternoon. I had a dream. In that dream I saw some muslim students trying to fight me but I saw Christ protected and led me out of their assault.

“Later, I asked God to prove Himself in my calling by requesting from him some of my demands, and He met my needs. He gave me a wife and he provided for my needs.

One other area of my life is my encounter with Dr. Francis Akin-John of Church Growth Institute. In 1998, I joined Dr. Akin John. I was divinely led to his ministry too. I started from attending his conference in 1994, by divine leading.

“I thank God for my encounter with him because most of the things I know today he taught me. I can always refer to him as my good teacher and a mentor. When it was time to leave him, something had to happen and I had to leave in November, 2005. When I left, I headed to my house, and I began to pray. While I was praying the Lord told me he was not sending me to do Church Growth but to go into a kind of intercessory prayer with warfare ministry, and we began a study and prayers towards that end.

“While I was doing that God told me again that it was like when a child is carried without the mother, and that led us to starting Warfare Bible Academy Inc. It has made a lot of impacts. We have now reduced it to one basic studies in June. It is a three-week training in June. We have held that of this year, we are now waiting for the one of next year. It was three weeks of exposition and training in basic course in Spiritual Warfare for Church leaders, ministers, Church Workers and disciples of Christ. We held it between June 7 and 26, this year, 2021.”

He also spoke about his expectations after the 10th Church anniversary, of which he believed he still has a lot to do for the Lord.

“There are lots to acomplish for the Lord. We are believing God for more exposure, enlargement for the work of the kingdom, with more impact in leadership, with more breakthrough in ministry. We will also embark on the extension of our Church in having branches, and training workers to handle the branches, both in Nigeria and overseas, in Europe, America, African countries and uttermost part of the world. When God gives you a vision, it is not meant to be a local one. But we thank God for what He has done for us in Ijagba community here. We are marching forward, and good reports must be expected from us after the celebration.”

The church anniversary holding between Monday 26th July and Sunday, 1st of August has Multiple Increase as its theme with different ministers joining the host to appreciate God and bless the participants spiritually with prayer and the word of God, while there will also be others to minister in gospel music.

The team of the men of God is expected to be led by the President of Virgin Prayer Fellowship, Apostle Dr. E.A. Abatan, with others like Pastor Peter Oladipupo, Evang. Ruth Ajoke Falayi, Evang Funke O. Bhadmus and Pastor Titus Akinbiyi and others.

The celebration will take place at the Church premises at, 1, Ti Oluwa Ni Close, Ijagba Estate, New Powerline Otta, by Lafenwa, Ogun State. The Church can be reached on 08132323722.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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