- In His Sitting Room Inside UNILAG
There is, perhaps, no better time to tell the story of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry and its off-shoot, Deeper Life Bible Church, than this time when the doors of its expansive ultra-modern headquarters building are flung open. The beauty, tenacity of purpose, solidity and sheer commitment that characterize this edifice are metaphoric expressions of what constitutes the Deeper Life. As you walk through this brief narrative about the ministry, may you find beneficial inspiration to help you have a firmer grip on commitment to the Lord and may He alone take all the glory.
The emergence of Deeper Christian Life Ministry was manifestly auspicious. Smarting from a devastating civil strife, the Nigerian nation was in acute need of spiritual awakening, healing and revival. The political class and the generality of the people were unwittingly sinking into the emerging culture of corruption. The Christian community that was supposed to chart the right course and provide exemplary leadership was buried in orthodoxy and nominal existence. Then God, who understood the mood of the nation, raised a ministry with a mandate to reach the people with a message of hope and experiential Christianity. From the quiet ambience of his sitting room on the campus of University of Lagos, Nigeria, William F. Kumuyi, a Mathematics lecturer at the institution, gathered a group of 15 sincere seekers of truth who had requested teaching of the word of God. With this motley group, he began a Bible study in August 1973. Thus, was born the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, (DCLM) a non-denominational endeavour, committed to the spiritual welfare of the people.
This group continued until early 1976 when the venue of the Bible study became too small for their growing membership, necessitating relocation. The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) headquarters provided a sanctuary for this purpose. Located on 1-5 Redemption Way, Ebute Metta, Lagos, the then moderate church auditorium was venue to the now-famous Monday Bible Study sessions which held for several years before DCLM acquired a permanent site at Gbagada. Besides the central Monday Bible Study sessions at Ebute Metta, pockets of believers met regularly in different parts of Lagos for studies and evangelism. By 1977, centres had been established at the following locations: Baptist Church, Chemist Bus-stop, Akoka, Gospel Pentecostal Assembly, 17, Shoremekun Street, Mushin, Yaba Model School, Surulere, Pentecostal Holiness Church, 97B, Ogba Street, Agege, 25 Mba Street, Ajegunle, Christ Gospel Mission, 6, Onitire Street, Itire, among others. Siting study locations closer to the people was a strategy meant to bring the benefits of in-depth Bible study closer to the people. This, coupled with the exemplary lifestyle of the leaders and members, brought rapid growth to the new movement.
Nineteen eighty-five was an unprecedented year in the growth of the church. The ministry organized a city-wide crusade tagged “The Great Miracle Crusade” held at the main bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. With attendance of well over 60,000, its impact was phenomenal. Several thousand souls were converted and established in the church, many of them making the current cream of leaders in Deeper Life Bible Church. Numerous spectacular miracles took place as well: the sick were healed, the afflicted and oppressed delivered and many signs and wonders were wrought. For example, a boy who was born without bones in his leg (a rubber-like leg) received supernatural healing. Indeed, God used the instrumentality of miracles to expand the frontiers of the gospel in the ministry. In the words of the General Superintendent: “God, in the growth of Deeper Life Bible Church, has strategically and prudently used miracles to make all come to him”. By 1992, membership had risen to 50,000, ranking the church as the third largest single Christian congregation in the world. The church continued to grow in leaps and bounds. Proffessor C. Peter Wagner, a Church Growth expert, wrote: “Go to almost any metropolitan area and ask to visit the largest Christian Church … In Lagos, Nigeria, it would be the Deeper Life Bible Church, pastored by William Kumuyi.”
In order to cater for the specific needs of the society, the church created sub-ministries. Among them is Children for Christ for youngsters between age three to twelve. The children church is an integral part of the adult church. It was established to expose children to all the provisions of grace, enable them to have the basic Christian experiences and assist them to live victorious Christian lives in readiness for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its programmes and activities are aimed at evangelizing, teaching and discipling the children for Jesus; training them up in the way of the Lord and equipping them to win their world for Christ. The Children Ministry is for all the branches of Deeper Christian Life Ministry at home and abroad. The ministry is under the control of the General Superintendent who also delegates duties to the National Children Co-ordinator at the headquarters church in Lagos.
Deeper Life Schools Outreach (DLSO) supervises evangelism towards post-primary teens otherwise
called junior and senior secondary school students. The Students Outreach started in 1979 when the General Superintendent held the first ever Free Vacation School for Secondary School Students in Lagos State. The impact of this programme was tremendous as lives of many young people were transformed and they were motivated to succeed academically. Widening the horizon of youth evangelism, the outreach to students in their various schools was established as Post-Primary School Outreach. This was eventually changed to Deeper Life Schools Outreach (DLSO). Over the years, this Outreach has operated in secondary schools directly or indirectly under the names Success Club or Christian Student Fellowship. There is an off-shoot of DLSO which caters for the youth in Deeper Life Bible Church. This is named Youth Home Success Fellowship. There is also the Leadership Ttraining Programme (L TP), a platform for training officers for school fellowship.
Deeper Life Campus Fellowship (DLCF) exists to meet the spiritual needs of students and staff of institutions of higher learning. It is an inter-denominational fellowship that strives to lead students, corps members, academic and non-academic staff and other members of the campus community to a personal encounter with the Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ and to a deeper knowledge of the Lord and Christian experiences. Over the years, DLCF has helped to acquaint the campus community with necessary means of grace for a happy, holy, fruitful and balanced living. It has been a platform for imparting basic Bible principles of success, to help students and staff make a habit of succeeding in their academic work, career and leadership roles while also equipping them for the Great Commission.
The Deeper Life Women Ministry has been playing a key and supportive role within the Deeper Christian Life Ministry right from inception. It focuses on meeting the specific, spiritual, and family needs of women within and outside the church all over the world. Through this ministry, multitudes of women have been saved, restored, sanctified, and Spirit-filled. Many separated families have been re-united and family problems resolved through God’s intervention. The Women Ministry was pioneered and developed by the late wife of the General Superintendent, Sister Abiodun Kumuyi who passed on to glory on April 11, 2009. The late Sister Abiodun Kumuyi, was very energetic, dynamic and visionary.
Apart from mentoring and galvanizing the women in the church, she started the widely circulating Christian Women Mirror magazine, a monthly publication that has been helping to meet the spiritual and family needs of women within and outside the church. The magazine has been of tremendous blessing to both women and men. The articulate and hardworking Sister Esther Kumuyi (popularly referred to as Mummy Esther), wife of the General Superintendent, is now at the head of the Women Ministry. Building on the legacies of Late Sister Biodun Kumuyi, she has expanded the scope of the Women Ministry. The ministry organizes regular and special programmes aimed at enlightening and uplifting the women spiritually
One of the indices of an expanding, outgoing church is her ability to cross national and international boundaries with the gospel of Christ. Since its inception, the DCLM has pioneered gospel work in many countries across the continent of Africa and beyond. Presently, beyond its established branches in all 774 local government areas in Nigeria, it maintains a strong presence in virtually all the countries of Africa, the United States of America and Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Australia. With its aggressive drive to reach the un-churched multitude, DCLM, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, has continued to explore innovative ways of evangelizing the world. Both leadership and laity are involved in concerted efforts to spread the gospel and save the lost before Christ’s imminent return. Standing on a two-pronged platform of holiness and evangelism, the church initiated the Gospel Explosion Movement (GEM) which aims to make further forays through evangelistic outreaches. At Deeper Life Bible Church, all hands are on deck to preach the gospel and the Lord is adding “to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
In over four decades of its existence, the DCLM has become a force that cannot be ignored. The Lord has used this umbrella ministry to bench-mark biblical Christianity. Born again members of the church are known for uprightness, honesty and truth in their daily life, workplaces and business deals to the point that some employers of labour deliberately source their key personnel from among members of the church. The influence of the DCLM is so widespread that many churches and assemblies, today, have recourse to the doctrines of the Bible as expounded by the church. Many use the ministry’s literature and other materials for devotion and worship. This impact is further driven by leadership by example and commitment to holy living that characterize the ministry. Also, through programmes like Success Academy for Youths (SAY) initiative, The Deeper Christian Life Ministry has impacted greatly on the younger generation.
They are being prepared to maintain high morals, strong godly character, faith in God and take on leadership roles in society. Today, many of the youths that passed through the Ministry’s tutelage are excelling in various fields of human endeavour. The Deeper Christian Life Ministry has been committed to holistic education and human development. As far back as its early days, it established the International Bible Training Centre at Ayobo, Lagos which later opened branches in four other locations in Nigeria, for the training and equipping of Christian leaders, missionaries and church founders.
The Deeper Life High School, with campuses in 21 states in Nigeria, is another bold step aimed at providing an all-round and transformative education with emphasis on academic and moral excellence and production of future godly leaders. The Deeper Christian Life Ministry is also the proprietor of Anchor University, a citadel of learning for holistic human transformation and development. Anchor University which was granted license by the Federal Government in November. 2016, commenced operations in February 2017, and has continued to cultivate an enviable reputation as a quality institution of higher learning.
The DCLM has also been involved in helping other ministries and churches in various ways, including the hosting of Ministers’ Conferences for training and equipping Gospel Ministers and Church Leaders of all denominations. The Ministry’s materials are widely used by other churches and ministries.
It also provides financial and material support to persecuted Christians in different parts of the country. DCLM has a robust and fruitful Prisons Outreach Ministry which visits and ministers regularly to inmates of prisons in different parts of the country. Today, Deeper Life Bible Church has planted churches in every part of Nigeria and in most countries of Africa. It maintains a reasonable presence in every continent with a membership that is growing in strength.
With regular weekly programmes of Sunday Worship Service, Bible Study, Revival and Evangelism Training Service and Home Caring Fellowship, the spiritual, social and material needs of members are adequately catered for. At the same time, members are equipped for evangelism and other Christian services. Retreats have been a regular feature of The Deeper Christian Life Ministry. Two regular retreats hold every year – Easter Retreat and December Retreat. These events happen simultaneously across Nigeria and beyond. More than any other attribute, The Deeper Christian Life Ministry is known for its emphasis on personal holiness and strict adherence to fundamental Bible doctrines.