MFM at 30: The strides, the strives, the hives
Just like yesterday, that resilient mustard seed planted by a fellowship of less than 25 firebrand cluster of believers has blossomed to now become a giant oak. This oak has successfully spread its branches on lands, far and near, across Nigeria, Africa, Asia, America, Europe and other continents. Today, “everywhere you go”, there is a potent vehicle for deliverance, evangelism and heavenly training, popularly known as the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry (MFM). With millions of active membership in 86 countries of the world, the MFM has proven to be one of the fastest growing single Christian denominations in the world. At the global headquarters in Lagos alone, the regular worshippers are in excess of 250,000. In fact, the local area here can conveniently be referred to as MFM Village. The structures occupied by MFM facilities constitute more than 80% in terms of building and land area.
The above demographics would count for nothing, by the standards of the General Overseer, Dr. Daniel K. Olukoya, without the phenomenon that the brand has become. The MFM deliverance brand of prayer warfare is now a current standard for all Pentecostals and most orthodoxies. Fashioned after the style of the late Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola (a mentor to Dr. Olukoya), the brand has escalated to another higher level, featuring inspirational dissertations based on core biblical principles and concepts. With a do-it-yourself approach, the MFM strives to prepare its devotees as pilgrims on a heavenly journey. It is devoted to replicate the great apostolic signs, using the weapons of deliverance and the machine-gun type of prayers. This brand, which was earlier rejected by the laid-back orthodox institutions and the “jyratiional” charismatics, has soon become the standard across all ministries.
The MFM is not only about deliverance and prayers. It accompanies these with exotic praise and worship, holiness teachings and practices (including a decent and stringent dress code). Under the leadership of the unassuming but highly anointed Prophet of God, Dr. Olukoya and his supportive wife, Pastor Shade Olukoya as well as a host of other anointed and experienced Captains of God, the MFM has made a huge impact in the areas of evangelism and soul-winning, youth development, choral music, full range academics, philanthropy, print, electronic and multi-media platforms. All these activities are regarded as potent tools for the advancement of the heavenly kingdom, here on earth.
In three decades, millions of souls have been won, lives have been touched and transformed, Hope has been offered to the hopeless, countless miracles have been recorded, all to the glory of God. The secret of the phenomenal growth and sustainability of the MFM lies not just in its brand of prayers but as well in the discipline, resilience and steadfastness of the leader, Olukoya under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is worthy of note that for three decades, Olukoya has been resolute and consistent in his dealings with men and his maker. With zero tolerance for inordinate greed and self-aggrandizement, Olukoya is one of the few men of God in our time whose integrity can be taken to the banks. It’s not a mere coincidence that no scandal whatsoever has been linked to this exceptional man of God. His love for academic excellence and passion for youth development led him to initiate the Annual Award for First Class Graduates which entitles beneficiaries to brand new cars or handsome cash rewards. So far and for the records, not less than 600 first class graduates have benefited from the awards.
It’s not surprising that as recent as the last convocation of the University of Lagos, Dr. Olukoya was again honoured with a Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) by the premier university for his outstanding contributions to the development of the institution and its teeming youths population as well as the advancement of knowledge. This is in addition to several other awards of excellence received by Olukoya including the United Nations Humanitarian International Award; the Special Awards for Excellence in Research and Administration; Top Great African Achievers Leader’s Legacy Award in South Africa; Outstanding Christian Leader’s Awards, Quintessence African Leader of Integrity Merit Award. The list is endless. The Hives. The MFM, being a vibrant ministry has over time developed several vehicles and strategies for propagating the gospel. They include but not limited to the following:
The Online Church: Under the leading of the Holy Spirit, the MFM has harnessed prevailing and emerging broadcast technologies to propagate the gospel to life audiences across the world with full compliment of the physical church. This includes counseling, deliverance, intercessory prayer warfare and the whole works.
The School of Music: MFM School of Music has become a veritable, sophisticated and well-developed arm of the ministry, specializing in string and wind instruments. It produces high quality praise and worship songs, hymns, chorals and classicals. A lot of youths have honed their music talents, skills and knowledge on this platform.
Academics: At the present, the highest formal academic platform of the MFM is the Mountain Top University. This is sequel to the primary and secondary platforms earlier established to groom youths for ethical academic excellence. The university currently tutors no less than 2,000 students who are learning, using the principles of Christianity.
Sporting: The MFM recognises sportsmanship as a viable tool for early child development and character molding. The MFM football team has proved to be another quick success. It’s now being followed by basketball. In the background, the ministry has supported individual sportsmen in the field of athletics and other sporting events.
The MFM Women Foundation: This operates under the direct purview of Mrs. Shade Olukoya. The initial objective was to harmonize the dispensation of benefits to wives of ministers. It soon expanded to the widows. Now, it covers general activities for the uplift of the womenfolk. This is another huge success of the MFM.
The School of Ministry: The School of Ministry is the core discipleship and developmental organ of the MFM. The number of courses, projects and disciplines developed and administered under this platform is more than enough to establish a high standard university of Theology.
Strives: As with life in general, every achiever is faced with challenges, which are often associated with the status. The most recent and more critical of these challenges is the phenomenon of renegades among the ministerial ranks. The “Judas among the Twelve” are the ministers who consider pastoral work as a passport to affluence. These people always strive to gain the confidence of the system until they are positioned for higher calling. Then, they strike. Their ranks are daily being defeated both in the spiritual and human courts, especially in foreign lands where the law is no respecter of persons, rather a vehicle for the dispensation of truth and justice. A case in mind is the recent court judgment against breakaway pastors of the MFM Bowie branch in the state of Maryland, USA, for breach of trust and for hijacking and converting the church properties to themselves and their cronies.
In addition, some journalists have, several times, attempted to carry out smear campaigns against the revered and non-controversial person of the General Overseer in a bid to “strike the shepherd and scatter the sheep”. This has also failed. The church, in accordance with the promise of God, keeps marching on with the gates of hell not being able to prevail. As the MFM marks its 30th anniversary, we believe the journey has only just begun. If life begins at 40, as they say, then for MFM at 30, this is just the beginning. In the words of Dr. Olukoya, “you just haven’t seen anything yet”. Long live the MFM!
•Aibangbe, media and public relations consultant, wrote from Lagos.
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