The spread of the gospel across Africa is commendable, especially in Ghana, with some pentecostal churches having over 5,000 worshipers in a single service. Many of these ministries had also taken the reach beyond teaching of the word of God alone, as some are now operating schools, hospitals, orphanage, universities, and many more. Here, ENCOMIUM Weekly brings to you insight of some of the biggest churches in Ghana as well as their founders.
ROYAL HOUSE CHAPEL
-Rev. Sam Korankye Ankrah
Reverend Sam Korankye Ankrah is the founder of Royal House Chapel International and the Vice President of Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council. Married to Rev. Mrs. Rita Ankrah, the pastor and one of Ghana’s most influential pastors pursued a career in religion as a result of the visit by the evangelistic group, Joyful Way Incorporated and also holds a certificate in Christian leadership from the Haggai Institute, Singapore and a management and entrepreneurship certificate from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
The Royal House Chapel started with about 50 members but now has over 30,000 dedicated members from over 120 branches in Ghana and beyond. Rev. Sam is one of the humanitarians that have contributed immensely to the needy by creating initiatives to address their problems which includes; an outreach for comfort, ministry for the aged, and scholarship schemes for the less privileged intelligent students. Rev. Sam, who has received many awards for his selfless service to humanity, was also honoured with Order of Volta award from the government to appreciate his efforts in giving back. He and his wife are blessed with four children; Nana Akos, Paapa, Naa Dromo and Mawuwna.
-Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams
Considered as one of the largest charismatic and pentecostal church buildings in Accra with 8,000 seats, the Action Chapel International was founded by Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, a devoted disciple of Bishop Benson Idahosa. He was the first to introduce the charismatic way of worship in Ghana followed by Dr, Mensah Otabil of the ICGC. The Action Chapel which can also boost of many branches in Ghana and the world in general has definitely had its own share of rocky and controversial days due to issue of separation and divorce between their general overseer and his wife of 26 years, Mrs. Fransisca. The first couple of one of the most popular churches in Ghana first separated in 2001, got back four years later trying to make it work but finally got divorced in 2007, due to irreconcilable differences as stated by Archbishop Duncan-Williams. The pastor has since remarried Mrs. Rosa Whitaker, who is the CEO and founder of Whitaker Group in Washington, D.C, said during one the church services. “I don’t want my situation to give anybody a license to commit suicide or go out there and just do anything they might call right or wrong. I take responsibility of my own situation”. He added that his divorce is not an excuse for any member to separate from his or her spouse.
Archbishop Duncan-Williams popularly known around the globe as the Apostle of strategic prayer is also considered as one of the richest Ghanaian pastors which is noticeable in his flashy fleet of cars and his designer wears, and a bank on the church premises which operates on Sundays in order to take care of the church finances.
PEREZ CHAPEL INTERNATIONAL
-Bishop Charles Agyin Asare
Formally known as the World Miracle International Church, the Perez Chapel is one of the leading charismatic and pentecostal churches in Ghana. Presided by Bishop Charles Agyin Asare, who also doubles as the founder, once revealed during an interview on a private radio station in Accra, that God found him by saving him from Buddhism which he practiced for four years. He said he followed a girl to a church with the intention of taking her out after the service and in that process he had an encounter with God and that was it. Today, he has become one of Ghana’s leading preachers, and also considered as one of the richest.
The controversial man, who was born Charles Yewuraekow Agyin Asare changed his name to Charles Agyin Asare after turning from his old ways of smoking, clubbing, womanizing, etc got married in 1985 and left for Nigeria in 1986, to study crusade planning under the leadership of Bishop Ben Idahosa. He came back to build one of Ghana’s biggest church auditoriums, a 14,000 seater which the church also leases for events. It was once described by President John Dramani Mahama as one of the seven wonders of Ghana. The government also conferred on him the Member of the Order of the Volta for his immense contribution as a religious leader for a better Ghana and the African continent in general.
LIGHT HOUSE CHAPEL INTERNATIONAL
-Bishop Dag Heward-Mills
The Light House Chapel was founded by Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, a Ghanaian with Swiss background in 1998, in the city of Accra. Inspired by Kenneth E.Hagin, the charismatic church, which started as a student evangelistic ministry when he gained admission into the University of Ghana Medical School has since grown into one of Ghana’s largest religious building complexes which includes; an orphanage, school and a hospital. With over 1,000 branches all over the continent, Bishop Heward-Mills had his own share of humble beginning and so many obstacles trying to build one of Ghana’s biggest churches today. He left for England in 1982, when the government closed down the university for 10 months, but came back when it was re-opened and continued with the burning desire of winning souls for Christ. Today, the Light House Chapel, though has developed into a transnational church with members from all walks of life, still draws its strength from student evangelism on the campus of University of Ghana. It is also appropriate to note that he started the church while he was serving as a physician at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in the 80s, but eventually left to become a full time pastor in his quest to win and save more souls for God. And in this process, he met his wife of over 20 years on campus, Rev. Mrs. Adelaide Heward-Mills. Bishop Dag, as he is popularly called, oversees 1,550 branches of the LCI in 66 countries worldwide and services are conducted in Twi, French, and English which makes it a multilingual church with its headquarters in Qodesh, which means the Holy Hill.
THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC)
-Dr. Mensah Otabil
Popularly known as ICGC, the church was founded by Dr. Mensah Otabil on February 26, 1984, with 20 committed members and now boosts of thousands of active members. Over the years, the church has grown so big and has many local branches in all the 10 regions of Ghana and also extends to Europe, and the United States of America.
The church which started meeting in a small classroom now owns a university known as the Central University College which was established for students in Ghana and also scholarship scheme known as the Central Educational Trust to help in financing the less privileged irrespective of tribal, ethnic or religious affiliation. It has since developed into a registered non-governmental organization known as the Central Aid. The General Overseer, Dr Mensah Otabil, who is known for his modest way of life and his spectacular way of preaching the Gospel is also a philanthropist, entrepreneur and a renowned motivational speaker with many books accredited to him which revolve on leadership, daily devotional, motivation and inspiring books which are highly patronized not only by his church members but the general public.
Every year, the church organizes a conference which over the years featured top Nigerian pastors like Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, the General Overseer KICC, Bishop Mike Okonkwo of the The Redeemed Evangelical Mission(TREM) and top motivational speakers from around the globe. Due to all of these and his great concern and contributions in providing solutions to some of the issues affecting the continent of Africa, he was voted the most influential man in Ghana in 2015, in a poll conducted by a private TV station and the government under President Kofour honoured him as the most popular church leader in Ghana with a state award of Order of the Volta (Religion). Dr Otabil is married to Mrs. Joy Otabil and they have four children, Sompa, Nhyira, Yoofi and Baaba Aseda.