Pastor Emmanuel Phillips is the General Overseer of Divine Increase Assembly, Iba, Lagos, with branches in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Warri, Delta State, Ajangbadi, Ojo, Lagos and several preaching stations in Lagos.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, he gave a graphic account of the ministry’s 11 years and more.
Congratulations on the 11th anniversary of Divine Increase Assembly.
What does July 6, 2004, mean to you and how long have you been in the ministry?
July 6, 2004, was a turning point in my life. I have been a Christian since November 1978. From the time I gave my life to Christ, I have served in various capacities in the church. I started as children’s teacher and grew to Sunday School teacher.
In 1990, I was appointed the general secretary of the church where I served until 1995. In May 1995, we started another ministry where I continued as general secretary and remained until 2000, when I was appointed an Assistant Pastor until May 22, 2004, when I resigned my membership. I started fellowship with Winners Chapel, Otta, Ogun State on May 29, 2004, until July 6, 2004, when the Lord specifically visited and spoke with me, on the need to start a new ministry so, that day was a turning point in my life.
Can you give us a graphic narration of how the ministry started and the church structure?
The Lord visited me on the early morning of July 6, 2004, in my bedroom and spoke to me about the ministry. He gave me a scriptural quote Though your beginning was small your latter end shall be greatly increased, Job 8vs7. The Lord began to speak to me on the new assignment which I documented.
That this church shall be a movement that no man shall be able to stand against it.
That where others go and assume that there is nothing, out of there shall I bring out the wonders that shall be amazement to this generation.
The Lord told me that this church shall pass through a progressive, consolidated, sustainable growth, in such a way that there will be no time in the history of this church that the previous year will be better than the current year.
That the growth of this church shall be all embracing: spiritual, financial, material and physical growth
That as people begin to hear the word of God from my mouth, there shall be a dramatic transformation in their lives, in such a way that stars shall begin to emerge from our congregation.
Now, the Lord told me that the name of this church is DIVINE INCREASE; I was the person that added ASSEMBLY to it. Also, given to me was the structure of the church. The Lord said the structure of the church should be divided into three viz: the spiritual, administrative and the social.
The spiritual instrument to grow the church was equally delivered in that vision.
That this church must believe absolutely on the word of God.
The church must engage in heart-felt prayers. That this church must engage in higher praise.
He said that if we engage these spiritual weapons that He will take us from obscure places to the place of glory and honour, we have never deviated on that and we can never deviate from it.
What is your greatest asset as the General Overseer?
The greatest asset is my relationship with God; most of the time we pass through challenges; I came into the ministry by the election of grace and it is the grace that has taken us to this level in l1 years. I had no human credentials and never served under any great man of God. Therefore, whatsoever I am today is God.
I cherish and jealous His presence so that all my decisions are on the basis of His word. My faith in Him is so strong that I always say that it is better God stands by me than men, so, the greatest asset is my personal relationship with God which I have vowed that I will only do what is right and continually promote the presence of the Almighty God who has been with us. We started from a parlour on August 15, 2004, (the parlour that was not as big as my office then and there was nothing to glory about). No pulpit, No flyer, no banner. But today we have land, we have our church and branches especially in the Niger Delta region, infact, God is connecting me by Himself to people and bringing people by Himself and showing Himself strong. So, God is my greatest asset.
My next asset is the people because the strength of the king is in the people. No matter how great the vision is, without the people, it will perish. I have come to understand that anyone that God wants to bless is connected to the right people.
Can you give us a vivid assessment of your human capital?
The growth of the church has lived according to the name from the beginning. On the first Sunday of our worship, the attendance was 45 adults. There was no flyer, banner and no evangelism in anybody’s house, I was even wondering where all those people were coming from.
Second Sunday, we were 67, the third Sunday, we had to open the door for the children to sit outside. Then when we moved to Time and Tide International School at Iyana School, Iba, we grew to 160 adults in six months. Since then the growth has been on the increase. People have not stopped coming.
Presently, by the grace of God, some Sundays we have a population of about 700 and 800 people worshipping with us. And God has also given us four branches in Nigeria. We also appreciate the name of God for the growth, God said “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.
Why must I worship at Divine Increase Assembly?
First, I want to thank God, it is not about the gift because Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2 vs. 2, that things that you have learnt of me commit them to faithful men. The greatest assessment of human capital is to have people who are faithful, because you will agree with me that there is nothing only one man can do but when you have people who are faithful and are put in proper places and they do their work faithfully, that’s the greatest asset.
Nobody knows me either in the timber market or steel market. If people are dubious and are not faithful and you commit things into their hands, you will hear all manner of stories. The greatest asset to the main capital is the faithfulness of the people. If you are to worship here, you must be prepared to go to heaven because we know that whatever thing we are doing here is temporal. The Bible says we are pilgrims and ambassadors.
11 years, we have not remained in the same position. As many as have genuinely connected to the grace of· God working in this commission have experienced change, transformed life. God has promoted His people. In fact, when we started this church. none of us was a land owner. All of us were tenants, no car, nothing but today I can tell you that almost all the founding members are living in their homes with cars.
What are the structures you have on ground in your ministry?
In this church we believe in setting a workable structure. Like I said, the Lord laid down the structure of this church. Therefore, this church is a structured church. You can see our organo gram.
Do you believe in church planting, if so, how many branches do you have now?
I believe in church planting and we have opened four new branches of our church from 2010 till date. The branches are in Port-Harcourt, Uyo, Warri and Ajangbadi, Lagos.
We also have three preaching stations, that only meet on Wednesdays; they are in Agbara, Isashi, and Ilaje.
How do we fix Nigeria?
The Bible says when the righteous is on the throne the people rejoice. The problem of Nigeria is leadership, people don’t prepare for leadership in Nigeria. What we have is emergency leadership. In advanced countries they are trained for leadership, and when they become one, they know what to do. Our leaders are not trained. It’s just trial and error.
Does the ministry pay tithe to other churches?
We pay tithe to men of God whose grace we connect to.
If you were President Muhammadu Buhari, what would you do now?
I will live by example. When you have a selfish interest it will always becloud your judgment.
– TIKI MYVYNN-CHUKWURAH