- “Pastor Kumuyi is an apostle par excellence; a solid, impeccable and thorough man of God, A man of solid integrity that is so well versed in the Scriptures. God has used Pastor Kumuyi to usher Christianity to a new phase in the world. ‘When the history of modern-day revival in Nigeria comes to be written, the activities of Pastor Kumuyi as a servant of God who laid the foundation for the teaching of holiness will occupy a whole chapter.” (Bishop Francis Wale Oke)
- “I would classify him (Kumuyi) as one of the greatest living preachers, giving a straight-forward Bible-based message; his sermons thorough, and always personally challenging. He always gave a wide range of cross-references which were read in their context, supporting, clarifying and expanding his main points. He spoke clearly and authoritatively to the Nigerian situation. – Alan Isaacson
- Pastor Kumuyi as “a man of tremendous grace. I love and respect him. He has done great work in this country and we hold such men in tremendous respect. His writings are very fiery, very impactful and in the days of the early awakenings in Nigeria, he was a major player. He is one of several ministers from whom we draw goodwill at all times” —BishopDavid Oyedepo
- “God, in the growth of Deeper Life Bible Church has strategically and prudently used miracles to “make all men come to Him’ (John 3:26). We (Deeper Life Bible Church) take Christian living and holiness seriously.” WF Kumuyi
- “There are no theatrics in our church……because from my background, I don’t like anything that is turned into a show or drama. Some pastors like the drama rather than the results. I want the results rather than the drama. I have also looked at the Ministry of Jesus Christ and I want to as much as possible follow the Ministry of Jesus Christ. ‘’So in the interaction and relationship with people, and the life I live, I want it to be the life of Christ. I want the Jesus’ type of ministry. I don’t want anything fake”. – WF Kumuyi
- “God is the force driving him; it’s impossible for such a man to work unless he drops that control! It’s akin to the contest in Acts 5: puny apostles versus mighty priests and pharisaic council. The second reason is Pastor Kumuyi himself. He is a sacrificial leader. He works tirelessly, selflessly and with unblinking commitment to achieve goals. He is a poor humble leader who hasn’t monetized fame nor personalized the popularity of Deeper Life Bible Church. He has logically hatched a fellowship with the same virtues’’ – Banji Ojewale (2011) when Pastor WF Kumuyi turned 70.
The Pentecostal revival that featured various African Independent Churches in the 1920s and 1930s, on the whole, prepared the grounds for the great breakthrough recorded by Christianity in the western part of Nigeria which has been fortunate to have produced the greatest number of educated people and elites in Nigeria today. Largely, the development is traceable to the influence of early western education and the positive effects of the slave trade. It was a combination of these factors that prepared the way of university-trained professionals to take the leadership of the contemporary Pentecostal revival of the so-called ‘Born Again’ movement. Thus, part of the aftermath of the Great Revival is the emergence of the ecclesiastic scene of two outstanding world-renowned Pentecostal preachers: Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi and Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye. Incidentally, both were lecturers of Mathematics at the University of Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria until the Lord called them to serve in His vineyard. And William Kumuyi has become known as a reputable and worthy tool of God for the salvation of souls. Kumuyi, a highly revered minister of God had given his life to Jesus in 1964 as a mathematics teacher at the University of Lagos.
EARLY LIFE: William Folorunso Kumuyi was born on 6th June, 1941 at Orunwa in the Ijebu divisional area of Ogun State, Nigeria. However, he hails from Erin-Ijesha in Osun State. His parents were devoted members of the Anglican Church and hence understood the Bible as the very important compilation of the Words and deeds of God. And so, they would rise up early in the morning to sing hymns, read the Bible and pray. However, it was not until Kumuyi secured admission into Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne, Ogun State that young William got to know Jesus Christ in practical terms and what radical changes He could effect in lives surrendered to Him. Examining the preponderance of those who could be classified as leading lights of the gospel who hail from Osun State, one of the 36 federating units that make up Nigeria, Pastor Matthew Asimolowo, who heads the Kingsway International Christian Centre, the largest church in eastern Europe believes that the origin of these great servants of God in Osun State and in Nigeria is a product of the Great Revival of the 1920s and 1930s.
What has now come to be regarded as the popular revival featured notable servants of God like Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Prophet Moses Orimolade Tunolase, Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, Prophet Orekoya, Olulana Babajide, SG Elton, and a host of other members of what later became African Instituted Churches remains till today a reference point in the history of Christianity in Nigeria. From Osun State where Pastor Kumuyi hails, come so many notable servants of God – Enoch Adeboye, Mike Oye, William Folorunsho Kumuyi, Samuel Kayode Abiara, Matthew Asimolowo, Joe Olaiya, Timothy Obadare, Gabriel Fakeye, Foluke Adeboye, Gabriel Oladele Olutola who was the head of the Apostolic Church in Nigeria and several others.
Is this a divine arrangement? Matthew Asimolowo says this is a product of the Christian revivals of the 1930s noting that “every time there is an earthquake, it sends reverberations far and wide. Many leading priests come from no more than 10 miles radius to Ilesha in Nigeria. Because in 1928-30, when Joseph Ayo Babalola was called, the magnitude of prayer and anointing that broke out is what is still creating a reverberation. It is a sure sign that God has a way of birthing spiritual things. None of the servants of God under reference got saved in the same circumstance. None of them had connections to their salvation in the same circumstance. I have sat with Pastor Adeboye; his testimony is so different from that of Pastor Abiara. I am so close to Pastor Abiara and his testimony is so different from that of Pastor William Kumuyi. So, Ilesha was more like the centre-point of the ‘spiritual earthquake’ that exploded in Nigeria. So we are like the first off-shoot to experience the earthquake and then it spread on to other places. Of course, when it affects you, you now take it, and your own grace is added, your own calling is added and everything is mixed and a better coming forth takes place”.155
One of Pastor Kumuyi’s strong points is his proficiency and adeptness at preaching and teaching the word of God. He is thoroughly knowledgeable about the word of God such that he always gives a wide range of cross-references which were read in their context, supporting, clarifying and expanding his main points. He speaks clearly and authoritatively at his meetings which largely emphasize holiness and purity as a way of life and some of the critical determinants of making heaven. From the early life of his ministry, Kumuyi’s assembly which later metamorphosed into a Church preached pure purity and holiness in a manner that made most members of his congregation shun material things of life which they believed could provoke them to sin. These include television sets which they believed could promote obscenity and dressing flamboyantly and provocatively. Some adjustments have however been made by members of the Deeper Life Bible Church in recent years.
AS DESTINY CONNECTOR: One of the leading lights of the gospel in Nigeria, Bishop Francis Wale Oke who was one of Pastor Kumuyi’s students at the University of Lagos and who attended his ministrations as a young convert says “Kumuyi’s image has loomed large as a preacher and teacher since the 1970s”. He describes Pastor Kumuyi as a “first-class apostle of holiness and consecration whom God has used to usher Christianity to a new phase in Nigeria and beyond”.156 Though “conservative and reserved” says Wale Oke, Pastor Kumuyi is an enigmatic purveyor of the message of God who preaches undiluted messages of salvation”157. At one of his ministrations at the year 2005 Holy Ghost Convention of his Church, the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Wale Oke recalled the early days of the Scripture Union, describing Pastor Kumuyi’s appearances then as that of “a no-nonsense man, always dressed in business-like short-sleeved shirts, pencil-like trousers and wearing a pair of sandals”. He described the ecclesiastic activities of Kumuyi this way – “Pastor Kumuyi is an apostle par excellence; a solid, impeccable and thorough man of God and a man of solid integrity; a man that is so well versed in the Scriptures. When the history of modern-day revival in Nigeria comes to be written, the activities of Pastor Kumuyi as a servant of God who laid the foundation for the teaching of holiness will occupy a whole chapter.”
HOW GOD USED KUMUYI’S ABSENCE AT A MEETING TO PROMOTE WALE OKE: Incidentally, it was the inability of Kumuyi to attend a Christian prayer meeting at the University of Lagos in 1979 that paved a way for the substitution of relatively younger and far less gifted and experienced Brother Wale Oke (as he then was) to lead the prayer session. Wale Oke himself confessed many years later that he developed goose pimples and was sweating when called upon to minister in place of Kumuyi who was unavoidably absent. But happily, the Holy Spirit had, unknown to Brother Wale Oke prepared him ahead of the meeting by directing him to fast and pray ceaselessly the previous day. Apparently, God had indirectly prepared Brother Wale Oke for the meeting he would lead in the absence of Pastor Kumuyi. That meeting marked a turning point in the life of Bishop Wale Oke who as a result of the move of God at that particular meeting gained instant recognition on the university campus as a potent instrument of God. He, thereafter, got invitations to minister on the campuses of Nigerian universities as the then President of the University of Lagos Christian Union (LVCU).
In that capacity, assignments took him all over the country as a result of the move of God at the prayer meeting where he preached in place of Pastor Kumuyi.
KUMUYI’S MENTEES: And Bishop Wale Oke is not the only prominent servant of God who has profited from and tapped into the immense grace of the Lord upon Pastor Kumuyi. Another leading light, Bishop David Oyedepo describes Pastor Kumuyi as “a man of tremendous grace. I love and respect him. He has done great work in this country and we hold such men in tremendous respect. His writings are very fiery, very impactful and in the days of the early awakenings in Nigeria, he was a major player. He is one of several ministers from whom we draw goodwill at all times”.160 Pastor Sunday Adelaja, head of God’s Blessed Embassy Church in Ukraine met Jesus Christ at one of the ministrations of Kumuyi. Pastor Adelaja was born in Itomina, a sleepy rural settlement in Ogun State of Nigeria. He was born into the Anglican Church. His transformation came quite early. One day, as he was watching a televised religious programme by Kumuyi in Nigeria, Adelaja was touched by the Holy Spirit and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. The event was a stadium crusade that featured Pastor Kumuyi. It was through his preaching that young Adelaja committed his life to the Lord. He was then 19 years old. That falls within the category of the impressionable ages when peer group influence could make or mar the future of the growing ones. But Pastor Adelaja chose and walked the right path very early in life by embracing Christ at an impressionable age, with Pastor Kumuyi emerging as his destiny connector.
Easily, Pastor William Kumuyi is one of the most respected servants of God within and outside Nigeria. He stands tall in the fold of Pentecostal ministers of God and indisputably Christendom. An author, Alan Isaacson who chronicled his life and ministry, notes that “I would classify him (Kumuyi) as one of the greatest living preachers, giving a straightforward Bible-based message; his sermons thorough, and always personally challenging. He always gave a wide range of cross-references which were read in their context, supporting, clarifying and expanding his main points. He spoke clearly and authoritatively to the Nigerian situation. He dealt sensitively with African culture but also made a firm stand in highlighting the points where local culture was incompatible with the will of God. While stressing the high moral tone which is one of the virtues of most African cultures at their best, he was at pains to specify those aspects of local culture which were unchristian and even evil. In this way he was not only concerned with some kind of personal holiness, but also genuinely seeking the wholeness and harmony of the community at large, where truth, honesty, and justice should be the predominant characteristics”
Pastor Kumuyi is quoted in a publication: ‘Ijesha Icons and the Making of Modern Nigeria’ as ascribing his simplicity and meekness to his background. According to Kumuyi, “there are no theatrics in our church……because from my background, I don’t like anything that is turned into a show or drama. Some pastors like the drama rather than the results. I want the results rather than the drama. I have also looked at the Ministry of Jesus Christ and I want to as much as possible follow the Ministry of Jesus Christ. So in the interaction and relationship with people, and the life I live, I want it to be the life of Christ. I want the Jesus’ type of ministry. I don’t want anything fake”.
EARLY LIFE Kumuyi was born to the Akinfenwa dynasty of Idi-Ayan Area in Erin-Oke, Osun State Nigeria. He is the first son of his parents. His father was the late Pa Gabriel Kumuyi Akinfenwa who was a prominent trader in the Ijebu axis of Ogun State. His mother, Comfort Idowu Kumuyi Akinfenwa was the first of the three wives that the father married. William Folorunso Kumuyi would have changed his surname – Kumuyi (which was his father’s middle name) to Akinfenwa (the family name) while he was in the university but for his inability to raise the sum of ten shillings to effect the change. Kumuyi was born into an Anglican home. It was a very firm Christian home and the Kumuyi family would get up in the morning, read the Bible, sing hymns, and go to church regularly.
Due to his Christian background, Kumuyi was baptized early according to the Anglican Communion doctrinal belief and was named Williams instead of his preferred name Johnson. As observed by Kumuyi, one of the things that influenced his adult life was the experience he had at around age 11 while he was preparing for a promotion examination from Standard Two to Three. He was studying under a moon light while at a moment he stopped and beheld the sky to affirm his knowledge of the presence of God in heaven. To enquire from God if he would pass the promotion examinations or not, young Kumuyi picked a broken pot and said “God if I am going to pass, let this side come up; but if I am going to fail, let the other side come up”. He then tossed the broken pot and the right side came up. He eventually passed the examinations and this experience gave him the needed confidence that God is alive and he will always answer the prayers of His people. Kumuyi never forgot this incident which reinforced his belief in God.
REFUSED TO BECOME AN ATHEIST – FROM A MORALIST TO A BELIEVER: Though he was young, Kumuyi realized that God would always help those who seek Him. By the time young William got to the secondary school, he lost interest in the church because his principal at the Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne, the famed Dr. Tai Solarin taught his students atheism. But after a while, Kumuyi broke free from ‘bondage’ and again started to attend various churches in town. Soon, the Holy Spirit convicted him in 1963, when a group of singers and preachers from a Gospel church got permission to visit his school. In spite of William Kumuyi’s staunch religious background as an Anglican member, he never truly experienced genuine salvation and eventually became born again until April 5th, 1964 after attending an Apostolic Faith Mission programme in Ikenne. His conversion experience is recorded in a publication: ‘The Pentecostal Revolution’ authored by Gaiya, A.B Musa (2002) Kumuyi revealed that a preacher was delivering a simple message and because he had almost become a moralist who only had interest in protecting his name and personality, he discovered that it was not just our actions that made us unacceptable before God; our wrong thoughts, wrong plans or planning our lives as if God did not exist could also make us unacceptable. It was on this premise that he realized that God was unarguably needed in his life. When the opportunity to embrace Christ came through an altar call, he responded enthusiastically by approaching the altar of God, knelt down and prayed for the salvation of his dear soul. The memory of that day, the joy and peace that enveloped his heart and the reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ still linger in Kumuyi’s memory.
QUIET; VORACIOUS READER: Soon after his conversion experience, Kumuyi read works of John Wesley, Charles Finney, Spurgeon and lots of other books voraciously and became a staunch member of the Scripture Union. Attesting to his faithfulness, his uncle, Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, who once served as a minority leader in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria said “from his formative years, Folorunso Kumuyi demonstrated the traits of a quiet but serious-minded personality with a mission and vision. He added that“Kumuyi took after his parents in so many aspects. On very many occasions that I checked him up at school during his university days, I always found him studying his Bible more than his academic books.”163. It was from the secondary school that Kumuyi was admitted into the University of Ibadan from where he obtained a first-class degree in Mathematics at the prime age of 23 years. Generally, William Kumuyi is a quiet personality who carries himself with grace and simplicity, in spite of his high rating as a great and respected anointed servant of God who is richly and truly blessed with enormous spiritual powers. Kumuyi is a very humble and meek pastor. His lifestyle has never had any trappings of arrogance and naked show of power. Kumuyi addresses his teeming followers as “brothers and sisters” and all, the young and old as well as men and women have the inalienable right to seek an audience with the servant of God who is the General Superintendent of the church. It is patently clear that the paramount agenda of the General Superintendent is the salvation of souls. And so, it is commonplace at his meetings for him to admonish the congregation while praying to “confess your sins, talk to God, become a new creature and nothing will hinder the manifestation of your miracle.”
From Ibadan after graduation, Kumuyi went back to Mayflower School to teach and was there for five years before returning to the University of Lagos for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. On completion of that leg of his educational pursuits, Kumuyi became a lecturer at the University of Lagos in 1973. Interestingly, Kumuyi says “it was in the school where we were taught atheism that I was born again”. Instructively, that is the way God works, as “His ways are not our ways”. God, it must be noted, does whatever He likes and cannot be questioned by any mortal or force on earth and in heaven.
Culled from: Nigeria’s Leading Lights of the Gospel – Revolutionaries in Worldwide Christianity, authored by Femi Adelegan. The book treats the lives and ministries of 43 prominent servants of God of Nigerian origin. Hard copies available at the following locations:
- All branches of BIOBAK KITCHENS, Abuja
- CITYMART SUPERMARKET, 35 Pomona Street, Suncity Estate, Abuja
- The Bookshop, Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries, Dakwo Region, next to Sunnyvale Estate, Abuja
- E-COPIES available at shop.terrificinvestment.com,