FAST-growing Pentecostal church, Victorious Army Ministries International is 15. And the founder and shepherd of the church, Rev. (Dr.) Joseph Dominic Agboli is giving God all the glory. The multi-millionaire man of God shares the secret of his success and the amazing signs and wonders happening at the Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos church. He had earlier revealed activities lined up to mark their 15th anniversary.
Was there a sign you would be a man of God when you were growing up?
My father was killed during the Nigeria Civil War. That was in 1967 that really hurt me. It got me depressed. That even motivated me to go into sciences. When I was in Form 2, I was already teaching those in Form 5 Physics and Chemistry. I really wanted to be a military man. I wanted to revenge my father’s death. He was an engineer with P&T, a telecoms company. I didn’t tell anybody my mission and what prompted me to read 17 hours a day. And when I was in secondary school you would see me either in the laboratory or library. So, I wasn’t planning to be a man of God until the Lord met me and I became born again.
How does it feel to see Victorious Army Ministries International clock 15?
To God be the glory, I will say it is the hand of the Lord and His faithfulness. For these 15 good years, we have been enjoying the marvelous presence of the Lord. And to His glory, it’s only a fool that doubts the proof. We have seen all manners of miracles here and testimonies have never dropped for once; an infallible proof that Jesus Christ is in Victorious Army Ministries International.
For the purpose of those who don’t know the history of VAM, can you please tell us your story?
The church actually started in my house with just about 70 people unannounced. When the Lord called me and declared I should raise an army, I didn’t even fast. I didn’t go to any mountain. But I said to the Lord, if actually you are sending me to raise an army and to build for you an enviable church that has no spot or wrinkles, He should do it His way. Amazingly, one Sunday, I was still lying down on the bed, I refused to pray about it, yet 70 people came for church service that day. My wife was like asking them their mission. And they said they came to worship. We asked who told you about the church, some said they did not know, others said they felt the prompting in their heart. Some of them said the Lord spoke to them that there is church service going on here. And these were virtually new people that we have never met before. I didn’t even discuss it with my wife. And she ran to the room and said, Pastor, dress up, church service must hold in this house today. I was thinking she was joking, but suddenly I heard a song, ‘Praising the Lord always.’ I quickly rushed to the bathroom, dressed up and joined them. And interestingly, I used my dining table as my first podium (laughs) to preach that very day and before we knew it, the church has increased tremendously.
Where was the place?
That was in Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos.
Was it rosy at the beginning?
I won’t really say it was rosy or not. Let me put it this way, God is the founder and foundation as well as the chief cornerstone of the church. To God be the praise, I just cannot explain it because this is God Himself and nobody can actually define His miraculous hand in Victorious Army. So, I would say it has been rosy from the very beginning because I don’t know how God started it and how He has been doing it.
What were the basic things you did as a human being to get to where you are at the moment?
I would say it is completely yielding to the Lord. Yielding yourself to the will and instructions of the Lord. Everything that you see happening here is done as commanded by Him. And when we walk in obedience, the result is His blessings.
What separates you from other men of God?
This is a difficult question, I would say that God is a big God and He gives everyone different vision for different assignments. So, as for me, I am pursuing my own vision and every man of God ever sent by God has his own vision to accomplish.
Many say you are influenced by Bishop David Oyedepo, was he amongst the men of God you look up to when you started?
The first time Bishop Oyedepo came to our church for our fourth anniversary, he picked the microphone and said something. He said we have been connected in the spirit long ago. Even when I was quite young in the faith, he has been the man I have been looking up to. I have read his books and listened to his tapes. And I found out the man really has the word of faith and wisdom which I have been looking for. But Archbishop Idahosa, was the first man of God that inspired me. I watched his telecast every Sunday and every word of his inspired me, that has been of great help to me even today and until Jesus comes. Bishop Oyedepo is a great man of God. I have read his books, I want the whole world to know this, He is my father in the Lord.
How do we know the right church, the place God really is?
Revelations would keep coming and the more you say you know God, the more the revelation keeps coming. The steadfast love of God never ceaseth.
What is your reaction to criticism that some Pentecostal churches are flooded with people of questionable characters?
The truth is the church is meant for sinners. It is a place for reformation. There was a man in the Bible called Zaccheaus. He was a tax collector, when Jesus visited him, people were surprised he visited a sinner. But Jesus said for this purpose I came. I came to save that which was lost. As far as God is concerned, if you are born again, you are a new creation, old things have passed away and all things have become new. Nobody is big before God because after you are born again, the next step is to serve. Nobody was born into the world a saint. We all carry what is called the Adamic nature but the difference between the saint and the ungodly is our salvation. When we come to Christ, old things have passed away and all things have become new.
You seem to have more than a working relationship with your wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Blessing Agboli?
I will like to say that a man occupies the place of authority, a woman occupies the place of influence. The man is the head, the woman is the neck. But no matter what, God brought a man and a woman to complement one another for the accomplishment of the vision that God has given to the man. The two are better than one. And they shall have good result. The book of Ecclesiastes says be submissive to one another. So, God wants a man and the woman to work. Again God said in the book of Genesis, it’s not good for a man to be alone. So, it is Biblical to cooperate with my wife. And I encourage others to follow the Biblical injunction in this respect.
You are spending well over N20 million to renovate the church in preparation for the 15th anniversary, why are you splashing this whooping amount on the project?
God Almighty is a God of excellence and every provision He makes for us is to one, build a sanctuary and two, a kingdom. If some people could have a chair worth N10 to N20 million in their houses, why can’t we beautify God’s house with at least N5 million? We are talking about God Almighty, who owns the heaven and earth, silver and gold belongs to God. It is not my house, but God’s house.
What are your plans for this year’s anniversary?
It would be coming up on July 23 to 25, 2010, as a result of some contingencies and the church renovation presently going on. We are organizing a convention in October 2010, by the grace of God.
Who are you expecting at the October convention?
Bishop David Oyedepo of Faith Tabernacle, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of Word of Life, Warri; Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo of KICC, London; Bishop Bismark of Zimbabwe and Apostle Warren Hunter from the United States of America and other great men of God would be here for the convention.
These are big projects, so how are you going to source the fund to accomplish them?
The Lord supplies the needs of the church according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus.
You are also into humanitarian services?
That is the core of our mission at VAM. We have scholarship here. There are also elderly people from 60 and above who have no jobs, we place them on salary. To the glory of God, we also have widows that every first Sunday we provide them food stuffs and cash. We don’t need to know where they are coming from before we help them.
There is so much talk about your anointing oil, does it really work?
We are talking about the spirit of God in the oil. One can go to the market and buy any oil but after the consecration and the blessing, there is a release of the spirit of God into the oil. And you found out that in Genesis 1, the Bible says and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The water is now anointed. That is what happens to the oil, which is now a point of contact. The Holy Spirit is the power behind all the miracles, signs and wonders. When God created man He said you are blessed. Be blessed, be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. He said so to all the animals. That blessing is the divine empowerment. God’s initial blessing is still on, that is also the power to overcome forces of darkness. It is the power of the devil that is making people to get poor. It is also behind all the sickness and affliction holding the world hostage today.
Why are some people rarely blessed?
God is a God of precedence. Without faith, it is impossible to access God. Without faith, it is impossible to access what God has destined for you. So, faith is like a universal current. It’s current that flows, if you don’t know how to tap into it, you won’t access what God has in stock for you. Yes, all things are yours as the Bible says, but you don’t have access to them until faith is in place. And that faith comes from the word of God. So, when people come to church, men of wisdom teach them the principles of trusting the word of God. They hear the word and act on it. Some hear the word, but they don’t act on the word, making the power of God look impotent. It was like what happened in the Bible, Peter was the only disciple that stepped out to walk with Him on the waters after Jesus told them they could walk like Him. They all heard the word, but only one (Peter) responded to it. It is like an examination, it is not every member of the class that would make a distinction.
Have you had any low moment as a minister of the gospel?
I wouldn’t say I have had a low moment because of the Holy Spirit. This is so because the assignment the Lord has given to me is not mine but His assignment. He is the one behind all the miracles going on here. I only stand as a vessel. It is not me, it is Him. I don’t like to be called General Overseer, what am I overseeing? He said He will build His church and the gates of hell shall not prevail. So, His church (Victorious Army Ministries) has been growing from strength to strength and glory to glory all these 15 years.
So, how does it fell to lead one of the fastest growing churches in Nigeria?
Anything that God is behind can never lag behind. I give Him all the glory for honouring His word. So, I can’t exactly explain how it feels since the glory is not mine. All the same it has been great working in the Lord’s vineyard and pastoring His flock.
Do you have a target as regards the church’s expansion in future?
The truth is that anything that God blesses is bound to grow geometrically or astronomically. Nobody can say I want this from now till next year. All that I do is to work in obedience because His grace is all sufficient.
The good Lord has really favoured you in many ways, what more do you want from Him?
The best is yet to come. Although people say I am a successful pastor, to me I am not yet successful until people coming after me become a success. Success is about impartation, I have not yet started at all. I yearn to move forward. Yes, thank God for the success we are seeing, we have seen all manners of miracles. Only on Sunday, June 27, 2010, 11 women dedicated their babies, ten boys and a girl, some of them have been barren for 17 years. One of them said nobody has ever hard the cry of a baby in her husband’s family for 25 years. After I prayed for her, she had a baby.
So, which of the miracles happened in Victorious Army Ministries since its inception in 1995?
It is difficult to point at any particular miracle because it’s on a daily basis. A woman came from Europe, she had been barren for years, after undergoing series of tests, doctors concluded she can never conceive. But when she came here, I prayed for her. Now she has a baby boy. There is also the woman whose husband’s family never had a child for 25 years. That was a sympathetic case. The family now has a testimony. There was also a day we celebrated the birth of quadruplets here. God has also raised the dead in this church. I prayed from here, and the dead rose and walked in Ghana. It keeps happening everyday. It’s amazing. It’s the Lord’s doing and it’s marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has set people in jail abroad free after our prayers. Many people, who came here literally in rags are now millionaires. We teach people how to dominate and rule their world. It is not a one-man show. My members lay hands on the sick and they are healed. I am not surprised because Jesus said we can do more in His name. And that is what we are doing here.
- UCHE OLEHI
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, July 13, 2010