MEET ‘’MAD PASTOR’’ WHO MENTORED DAVID OYEDEPO, FRANCIS WALE OKE MOSES ARANSIOLA, EMIKO AMOTSUKA & OTHERS
Rev (Dr) Mike Oye (second right) receiving an award for impacting Christianity
When Apostle Paul appeared before King Agrippa and delivered a powerful speech, the king said: “You are out of your mind, Paul! “Your great learning is driving you insane.” But Paul was not insane, but totally sold out to Jesus Christ. My first physical contact with Rev’d Dr. Mike Oye was at the year 2002 Annual Convention of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Ibadan. He stepped graciously and briskly in a manner that belied his advancing age. He had, as at year 2002 served in the vineyard of God for four decades; yet full of the urge to serve the more. The man of God, Mike Oye was ushered into the auditorium of the Christ Life Church, cIbadan, the Church arm of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries which was holding its annual Convention. The significant occurrence that appeared to suggest that he was highly revered was the way he was ushered into his seat; followed respectfully by other servants of God who are also deeply respected. The man of God sat quietly and humbly, but radiated joy as evident on his smiling face. Sure-footedly, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, the set-man of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries that was hosting the convention went on the altar to introduce the guest speaker.
Revd Mike Oye, was the first to be recognized by Wale Oke as “One of the foremost Christian leaders who have contributed enormously to the spread of Christianity, particularly Pentecostalism in Nigeria’’ Bishop David Oyedepo, who was also at the same ceremony described Pa Mike Oye as ‘’a gift to this generation’’ The seemingly ‘ageless’ Mike Oye, now 80 years old, and still putting all he can muster into soul winning got a loud ovation for what God has used him to do in Christendom. And for the next 30 minutes, he set the tone for the evening’s messages by preaching the undiluted word of God, laced with the exploits of Daniel. Bishop David Oyedepo who sat next to RevdOye was the main speaker for that evening at the convention which ran for one week. Oyedepo, to the admiration of the congregation went down the memory lane, recalling how lucky this generation was, to have been privileged to partake of God’s blessings upon the life of MikeOye.
Acknowledging the grace of God upon the life of the servant of God in a convivial manner, Oyedepo, in his introductory comments said “Revd Mike Oye has never preached a message without mentioning Daniel. ‘’I would have been surprised if he did not speak about the exploits of Daniel in his message tonight. ‘’I give glory to God for your life sir, (Mike Oye) and you have been a blessing to us. ‘’May the good Lord continue to strengthen you sir. We thank you for showing up here tonight”. All the relatively junior ministers had cause to be grateful to God for Mike Oye’s life because the Lord used him at the teething stages of their building relationships with the Creator. Oye had served impeccably as the first indigenous Travelling Secretary of the Scripture Union, Nigeria. Such was his total commitment to serving the Lord that he was nicknamed: ‘’Mad Mike.’’ After graduation from the University of Ibadan in 1965, Mike Oye refused to take up a government job that would have entitled him to a saloon car and other comforts of life. Instead, he chose to serve the Lord as Travelling Secretary of the Scripture Union, Nigeria and, not only earned about half of the amount he would have earned as a senior civil service; but also rode on motorcycle to evangelize.
ORIGIN OF THE PREFIX: ‘’MAD MIKE’’
Mike Oye was completely sold out to Christ and his conducts, and non-materialistic stance, like those exhibited by Biblical Paul earned him the appellation: ‘’Mad Mike;’’ though Pa Oye is sound, hale, heary and highly cerebral. Oye nursed radical opinions, along the line in his ministerial career. For instance, he wasn’t born a Methodist, but became one simply because he wanted to please God. He had been requested by the Methodist Church, Nigeria in the 1970s to work with them to reach a very difficult community – Kaiamo – located between Kwara and Kogi state. It was this same time that an American mission agency invited him to come and plant churches for them all over the United States, with a very juicy offer. Brother Mike’s response was: “There are so many evangelists already in America who can do that. Let me go to the unreached land of Kaiamo.” In fact, this was part of the reasons some people then labelled him. Some people felt only a ‘mad person’ would refuse such an offer but Mike Oye went on to serve God in a rural part of Nigeria. Mike Oye pointed out that he got into the Methodist Church by choice because he saw an opportunity to reach the unreached. This notwithstanding, he has not allowed his involvement with the Methodist Church to cage him; as he has made himself available to serve the entire Body of Christ.
Revd Mike Oye is a servant of God that could rightly be described as one of the fathers of Pentecostalism evangelism in Nigeria. He criss-crossed tertiary institutions in Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s to breed some of the present generation of Nigerian preachers through whom God is making waves all over the world. Most certainly, the history of Pentecostalism in Nigeria will not be complete without a generous mention of MikeOye’s name. He bonded with late Rev’d S.G. Elton, a British missionary sent to Nigeria by the Lord in the 1930s to set the campuses ‘’on fire’’ for Christ. He served as the first indigenous Travelling Secretary of the Scripture Union of Nigeria from 1966 to 1972, to raise many of the present generation of Nigerian preachers. Pa Mike Oye is the holder of two Doctoral degrees in Agricultural Extension and Naturopathy, that he is still using for service in the vineyard of God.
HONOUR:Only God could reward adequately; though human beings could recognize contributions. Pastor Poju Oyemade’s Covenant Christian Centre celebrated and honoured this legend, who took up the position of Scripture Union’s Travelling Secretary from John Dean in 1966. Rev Emiko Amotsuka, who presented an award to Pa Oye noted that he is ‘’a man of God that could rightly be described as one of the fathers of Pentecostalism and evangelism in Nigeria’’. God visited students of tertiary institutions with the Holy Spirit impacting them like never before. Together with Rev. Sydney Granville Elton, Rev. Oye made a huge impact on the campuses. The structure of the ministry of Mike Oye is based on four major principles/cardinal points: Repentance & holiness; diligence in all things, riches in all things, and love, compassion and service. Indeed, Pa Mike Oye is worth celebrating. It is rare to find any of the top successful Pentecostal ministers that didn’t pass through the hands of Oye, who moved round institutions to monitor, encourage, and coordinate the affairs of Christians on campuses. Pa Oyetrans versed the length and breadth of the country, to promote the essentials of Christian indigenization which were ‘’Self Governing, Self Propagating and Self Supporting’’ The minister of God made lasting impressions on the students he mentored in institutions of learning.
One of RevdOye’s mentees, Bishop Mayungbo of the Bible Life Holiness Ministry describesOyeas ‘’a very popular Christian and anointed man of God who was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. ‘’God had then backed him up to do a great work amongst believers.’’ Every so often, Oye spoke on the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a “definite experience that comes with the speaking of tongues.” On the campuses of higher institutions and Scripture Union camps, God proved Himself strong so much that the Spirit of prophecy manifested at some of his ministrations. That era was the teething period of the Scripture Union in campuses of higher institutions in Nigeria. These meetings produced several Christian leaders across the various Christian religious sects, particularly the Pentecostals. God spoke to several participants at camp meetings and campus fellowships on why people needed to preach the Great Commission and raise Christianity to the next level. ‘
The Anchor Scripture of his Ministry is contained in Ephesians 4:28: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that neededth” All the cardinal goals of the ministry of Revd MikeOye are hinged on the above quoted scripture. He believes that: “There is a wrong misappropriation of Christian love in a global church. He asserts that:‘’This is a kind of deviation from what it used to be in the early Christian life. There are times we do right things; and even with right motives in a wrong way, laying aside the concepts of honesty and integrity in Christian service.‘’Divisions have been the greatest havoc to the work of God and that ‘’Non-denominationalism is of God; denominationalism is not of God! Listen, I am first a Christian and a servant of God, before being a Methodist; and the day the Methodist Church tells me to obey something that is not Biblical, I quit. ‘’I don’t need their denomination to get to Heaven; I only need Christ to get to Heaven.’’
ANOTHER VIEW: Not a cynic or critic without suggested solutions, Pa Mike Oye identifies the problem as closing their gates to reasoning and positive influence, saying that ‘’Churches that allow someone like me to go into them in one way or the other have been influenced by me. ‘’Churches that allow someone like Adeboye have been influenced by him positively. ‘’What would have been the ideal thing is for Adeboye, myself, WF Kumuyi, people in that category, to come together once in a while like the Jerusalem Council and compare notes in an honest effort to sanitize the whole Church of Christ.’’ RevdOye identified the obstacles to achieving this objective as selfishness, greed, kingdom power, jealousy, envy, and rivalry. He is disappointed by these ungodly developments and has decided to stay aloof, especially considering the fact that he made efforts in the past to correct these perceived lapses but some key leaders dodged him. But Mike Oye believes that it is still possible to get the situation corrected because ‘’Jesus is coming to meet a wonderful church.’’ But he says ‘’It will take a lot of shaking and the Lord will literally have to call some leaders home in order to allow His will to be done. ‘’It is a process, but God will see to it that it is done.’’ (Mike Oye in Essence Restored Vol. 1, 2004 by NIU Nation Publishers)
ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS CHRIST
Mike Oye knew Christ about two weeks before his return home to Nigeria from Ghana for his tertiary education at the University of Ibadan in 1962; and got firmly entrenched in Christian activities when he joined the Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU) to strengthen his faith and belief in Christ. He rose to become the leader of IVCU between 1965 and 1966. The story of how his association with Jesus Christ commenced is quite fascinating. Dr. Oye was teaching in a secondary school after his ‘A’ levels when one of the girls in the school gave him a tract. He had just finished reading one of the tracts one day and was listening to a particular secular music with the lyrics emphasizing that there would be a day of judgement where everyone would give the account of his stewardship before God. Instantly, the thought of the message contained in the tract he had earlier read lingered in him and in penitence, Oye knelt down by his bed side to view the picture of his past life. He, thereafter, confessed, repented and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal Saviour. In his words, “the girl that gave me the tract must have been praying fervently and that was why the memory of the tract came to me again repeatedly”.
He was to later encourage students in institutions of learning to follow his good and rewarding example. Finally, what exactly is the need that you think God cannot adequately meet in your wildest imagination? Talk of wealth and riches. ‘’He can offer you durable affluence crowned with long life.” But it is to be noted that anybody who wishes to enjoy a special relationship with Christ must forsake his/her old ways and embrace Jesus Christ by getting ‘born again.’ Happy Sunday.