THE General Overseer of Victorious Army Ministries International, Rev. (Dr.) Joseph Dominic Agboli and his pretty wife, Mama Blessings are obviously in a joyous mood at the moment. They would be celebrating 17 years of one of the fastest growing Pentecostal churches in this side of the world this weekend.
The three-day programme would kick off on Friday, June 29 to end on Sunday, July 1, 2012, at the church’s headquarters at Plot 22, Acme Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos. Tagged 17th Faith Celebrations Anniversary with the theme, The God of Vengeance (The Master Key that Unlocks Your Destinies and Fortunes), the programme would also feature star comedians Julius de Genius Agwu, Ayo Makun (AY) and gospel music crooner, Sammie Okposo. Winners Chapel’s Bishop (Dr.) David Oyedepo, would be guest preacher that special Sunday, July 1.
Asked what has kept the church going all these years, Rev. Agboli said that all glory should be given back to God. “He has been our pillar of support since we started 17 years ago.” He also thanked the congregation for their support from the very beginning.
And reliving how the church started, vis-à-vis where it is today, the GO’s better half, Mama Blessings Agboli also gave it to God Almighty. She equally opened up on her business, married life amongst other issues in an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly.
How has it been jostling between the UK and Nigeria?
I have moved to the United States of America now.
What especially are you doing in the States?
It is still real estate. The market is good in the US.
Do you do similar business here in Nigeria?
I don’t think the business has really picked up in Nigeria. When it gets better, of course, we will do business here. So, we are waiting until Nigerians get used to investing in real estate.
You also invested in the oil sector, or have you dumped the business?
No, we are still there.
How do you combine all these with the ministry?
It’s about you understanding the power of grace. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ enables us to do whatever we choose to do. And once you understand your purpose, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I’m purpose-driven. I tell people to just sit down and ask God questions, get to know why you were created and know your purpose. Once you know your purpose, you cannot be denied. You might be delayed but not denied.
You are also a lawyer?
I am a Barrister.
Is there any aspect of your legal background that is helping you in your business right now?
I did Business Law. Law also enables me to know my rights. I know what to do at any point. It has helped my business, it has also helped to improve me.
So you are fulfilled?
I have done well for myself at my age. I have been able to raise my children successfully. It’s all about knowing what you were created for.
You also have this passion for women, children and youths, what informed it?
You don’t hit a woman for any reason.
But some women are terrible and nasty?
Every woman has the good and the bad side, just like you said. But I don’t like using that word for a human being because you are not the same every day. Nobody wants to be under-estimated. We all have ego. One of the challenges we have in Nigeria is trying to put each other down which is not right.
Mama, your house is peaceful, how do you manage it?
Understanding each other and letting love take the centre stage. I will rather say Rev. Agboli was first my pastor. He fathered me as a pastor. I don’t know what my biological father looks like. I met my dad once, he died few months after. So, my husband was first my father and my pastor. Then we became friends, husband and wife. So, I have maintained that. When we come to the work place, I’m working with my boss. When we get home, I’m in my house with my husband. That’s my home. My children also cherish our marriage. They look at us and are pleased to have a father that is so loving and caring. He affords me the opportunity to be whom I want to be. He also gives me the platform to exhibit my talent or the gift God has given me. He is not threatened by my success. He’s very receptive of my ideas and suggestions in the ministry and in the marriage. He’s quite understanding and this balance is the key to our happiness.
How does he pamper you?
He surprises me with gifts all the time. Like now, I just came back and he flew me to Dubai. And all he wanted me to do was just rest. He wanted me to be away from work and all that.
What more does Daddy do to make you happy?
On Mother’s Day, I came in from a seminar in Canada. I flew into Nigeria with our private jet that Sunday morning. When I got home he had prepared breakfast. It was so overwhelming. We came to church with all the women in blue attires, celebrating Mother’s Day, welcoming me. At the middle of that service, he just gave me a very small envelope. I was like I’m done with cars now. But it happened to be a car key. I looked at him, smiled and he wished me, Happy Mother’s Day. I know he loves me well beyond what I can say. It is an inexplicable experience for me. The only way I can explain it is that Jesus wanted to show me His love and He entered through Rev. Joseph Agboli, to show me how much He loves me.
Mama, you talked about the private jet. How do you maintain it since it costs much or do you lease it out?
Yes, we do. We lease it out. We lease it out mainly to stars in California, US, which is why most of the time I’m there.
How is Victorious Army Ministries International doing there in the States?
We have a branch in Baltimore, not in California. The one in London is still doing very well. My children are there too.
Do they have a say there?
We have a pastor there but my children also participate actively.
Quickly about the 17th year anniversary of Victorious Army Ministries, what should we expect?
God’s miracles as usual. There is nothing as good as being in God’s presence. As usual, it’s a time to minister to the poor. It’s also a time to minister to the world. We are having a low-key anniversary this year because we have a bigger programme coming up after the 17th anniversary.
When are you now celebrating?
Friday, June 29 through July 1, 2012.
Who is the man of God you are inviting?
We are inviting only Bishop David Oyedepo.
There is also this entertainment aspect that goes with the celebrations. So, who are the artists you are inviting this time?
We have Praise Nite. We want people to forget whatever they are going through to come and enjoy God’s presence. It’s a night we have a lot of musicians (not listed in our advertorial) performing with our own choir as well. We have to sing, dance and laugh. That is for Friday and Saturday, June 30. Star comedians, Julius Agwu, Ayo Makun and gospel music crooner, Sammie Okposo would be there.
Although you are celebrating in a low key, are we going to see Victorious Army feeding the congregation as well as the less-privileged?
It’s still the same way. We have a lot of charity. We are going to the prisons, I’m thinking of going to Kirikiri Prisons this time. We do a lot of charity work at Victorious Army, which we don’t talk about. Like we did recently when I walked with women and children on the streets. We blessed them, we gave out motor bikes. We spent millions of naira taking care of them.
Other than the grace of God, what else has kept Victorious Army Ministries going stronger and stronger these 17 years?
Focus, nothing more.
Considering the massive growth recorded so far, is this where you want the church to be?
No, we are about to embark on a lot of projects which should be starting in January. I would be staying more in Nigeria because of this. Don’t be surprised if you see us having a university in the next one year.
By the time Victorious Army clocks 20, where would it be?
If you are asking about the Victorious Army Ministries of our dream, this headquarters will be a branch later. That’s our projection.
What are you and your husband most grateful to God as the church turns 17?
His backing the vision. It is not easy to speak and it comes to pass. If you go to Rev. Joseph Agboli’s Facebook page, you would appreciate the number of messages and comments of people whose lives have been affected by the servant of God. We went for a lunch one day and a woman walked to us and said, ‘Papa, these are your children.’ She was barren for many years. I have seen healings here more than anywhere. My husband is not that kind of man you doubt whether he carries grace or not because he’s undiluted.
What’s Rev. Joseph and Mama Blessings word to millions of people the world over wishing Victorious Army happy 17th anniversary?
We say to them stay real. Don’t allow circumstances determine who you are. Whatever you are going through is temporal. I don’t believe there is anything called disappointment. Disappointment is a perception. It is not real. God is trying to teach you something with whatever that comes your way. Always take time to ask God what do you want me to learn from this situation. I don’t believe in failure. If I fail in one thing, I’m going to do it again in another way.
Can you recall the greatest challenge the church has faced in the last 17 years?
I think the most challenging situation I have faced is having Christians who mock Christians. For instance, if there is a delay in another Christian’s life, others mock the person. The Bible condemns it. Don’t judge people you don’t understand their being.
- UCHE OLEHI
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, 3, 2012