Olakunle Yusuf is the General Overseer of Grace Assembly Christian Church. In this interview, he explained how he almost died over his disagreement with his senior pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church over the payment of tithe.
As a pastor, how were you called to serve by God?
I never knew I could become one until God dealt with me. I was a minister with the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Doing well until life happened. As a staunch believer, I believed in tithing. Doing this was both rewarding and fulfilling. But this later turned out to be my Achilles’ heel. I can’t recall the year, but must be sometime around 2005 or 2006, one pastor ( name withheld) was transferred to the parish where I was serving as minister. He never saw the reason why I should be paying tithes, especially in cheques. In expressing his dismay and wickedness, he did launch spiritual attack against me. I was furious and in utter confusion. Why would a senior pastor, especially in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, where doctrine of tithing was laissez faire wouldn’t believe in tithing. For over four years under the watch of this pastor, I was struggling but persisted in paying my tithes. When the attack was unbearable almost leading to my untimely death, I had to retreat. I started paying in cash but this only led to temporal reprieve. Meanwhile, I was fervent in praying, asking God for direction. Answers to my prayers was Grace Assembly Christian Church, where I am now the General Overseer.
Were you called by God or you went for pastoral training?
As earlier alluded to, I was called by God. Perhaps, this was not mentioned. While struggling with this vista attack from a supposed pastor, my business went under. I couldn’t meet up with my responsibilities at home. After a given period of time, mercy prevailed. God intervened. I was told in plain language that I must serve God beyond my understanding and purview. This also led to other revelations. In answering this divine call, I did enroll in bible college, where I bagged Post Graduate Diploma in Theology. So I can boldly confess I was called by God. I can’t imagine what would become of me if I never heeded the call.
You are also into secular work, how do you cope with both?
Now I am executive producer of all our programmes- TV and radio. I’m not finding it challenging coping with these tasks. My experiences over the years both as a minister and consultant came in handy. This later metarmophosed into public relations. This never came as surprise. I majored in Public Relations and Advertising, at Master’s degree.
Have you ever been tempted by women as a pastor?
Haa…No. Discipline is the watch word.
Who is your role model?
Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye. He inspired me. He lives a life of devotion. His commitment and attitude toward God’s kingdom is second to none. He is waxing stronger by the year. At 78, he is still agile. His simplicity and intellectual depth is unrivalled. He is a study in humility, persistence, prosperity and holiness.
What are your plans for this year?
A lot. Not really this year but in the nearest years. We intend floating our own TV station in Ibadan. We would also like to move our church headquarters to Ikeja, Lagos.