Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Bishop Oyedepo Begins 1000,000 Capacity Fully Air Conditioned Church Project

By Julius Babatunde

*Bishop Oyedepo's Winners' Chapel begins multi-billion naira 'fully air-conditioned' 100,000 capacity church project as Faith Tabernacle attendance surpasses 300,000, becomes world's largest single 'weekly' congregation.

*Targets 700,000 worshipers every Sunday in Faith Tabernacle before end of 2015.

The 'Wonder Double' agenda of Bishop Oyedepo, determined to double attendance/membership of all Winners' Chapel churches worldwide seems to have achieved her desired aim, leading to the building of a new 100,000 capacity (possibly 120,000), air conditioned church auditorium. The present 50,000 capacity auditorium, the Faith Tabernacle which has remained the largest in the world for 16 years has served enormously in this mega-growth phase of the church and would finally become a Sunday school facility as the new project is completed.

The church has thus called in architects to begin drawings for the project which would be completed by 2018. The attendance which grew from 50,000 in Sept 1999 to 140,000 in January 2011and now to over 300,000 (24,000+ home cell groups) as at Sept 27,2015 makes the church the world's largest single congregation. The Yoido Full Gospel Church (Yoido Soon-Bok-Eum) founded by David Yongi-Cho and now pastored by Young Hoon Lee peaked at 253,000 in 2002. Additionally, the massive cell system grew to 19,515 home cell groups in the same year.

One major difference with the new structure is that it would be fully air-conditioned as worshipers have had to grapple with heat due to weather or after very intense praise sessions at the Faith Tabernacle. The vision by Bishop Oyedepo is to have a facility large enough to service up to a million people on Sundays so as to fulfill a prophecy on April 10, 1982 that "very soon, we shall begin to see millions gathering". The prophecies on that day included that of the printing press, church aircraft, branches, 50,000 auditorium among others. Only the gathering of millions prophecy it seems, is yet to be delivered. While the Shiloh attendance via live connection to all her branches worldwide is already in millions, the Bishop believes that the million gathering vision refers to presence in a single place. Attendance at Canaan-land during Shiloh alone is about 300,000.

On December 11th 2010, Bishop Oyedepo had since declared that the Faith Tabernacle had become too small and there was a need to move to a bigger place. Again on Sunday, 30th January 2011, he announced to the pastors, future plans to build a new auditorium. 

He reiterated in May 2011, that as functional as the 50,000 capacity building was, it had become inadequate. He then spoke humorously to the whole church on Sept 18, 2011 when the building clocked 12 years 

" Don't you think that we don't have to be in this Sanctuary (50,000 seater) forever, we have to start planning how to build another one. You say 'what are they going to build? Just relax! When the plan comes, you are going to see the plan and the same God who built this without putting pressure on you or me will do it again. We can't end in a small sanctuary like this. God couldn't be bringing all those people and expect that we would be here....for how long? So we have 5 services? Start service at 4am? Or 7 services then you start at 12 midnight?.....we will be stupid not to build another one because the present enlargement is for 7 years. We will also build a place for helicopters to land and there will be no place where we will have helicopters as much as we will have here for Sunday services".

Today, 4 years later, the church conducts 5 services, necessitating the need for a relocation.

Interestingly, at the time the Faith Tabernacle was completed, it was easily the largest in the world. Today, the revival in Africa has positively ensured that the Faith Tabernacle can not remain so for much longer.

These are the world's largest mega church projects going on presently-all located in Nigeria.

1. MFM's (Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries) Deliverance Auditorium, Prayer City, Mowe, Ogun State,Nigeria-500,000 capacity (commenced 2011-initially estimated to be completed in 5 years)-Pastor Daniel Olukoya

2. Salvation Ministries' Auditorium,Omagwa, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria- 90,000 capacity (commenced 2013)-Pastor David Ibiyeomie

3. Apostolic Faith Mission's 'The Great Tabernacle', Faith City, Igbesa, Ogun State, Nigeria-75,000 capacity (commenced 2002)-Rev Emmanuel Adebayo Adeniran. #4. Dunamis International Christian Centre's Auditorium, The Lord's Garden, Abuja, F.C.T

4. Dunamis International Christian Centre's Auditorium, The Lord's Garden, Abuja, F.C.T, Nigeria-70,000 capacity (commenced 2014)-Pastor Paul Enenche