The Winners Chapel International Church last month celebrated 33 years anniversary. Founded by Bishop David Oyedepo of Nigeria, the church has grown into a big ministry worldwide. I spoke to the head of the church in Malawi, Pastor Richard Atiayao on the church’s history and other issues.
Give me a brief insight into the church.
It all began when the founder visited his friends in north of Nigeria. On his way back, the Lord spoke to him to go to a quiet place so He would speak to him. He went to his hotel room and while there, he had an 18 hour encounter with the Lord. Among other things God told him: “The hour had come to liberate the world from oppressions of the devil and I am sending you to undertake this task.” This marked the birth of Winners Chapel International Ministries.
How big is the church?
This is a global church. It is spread throughout the world with global impact on many nations in Africa, Europe, America, Malawi and many other places.
How did the church find its way to Malawi?
It was by mandate given to Oyedepo on May 4 1994 where God spoke to him saying: “The harvest of Africa is now over-ripe. Rush in and preserve it from decadence”. With this mandate, missionaries were sent all over Africa. That is how the church established its salvation ministries in Malawi just like in other countries. And we bless and thank God for the privilege to minister in Malawi. We have 38 branches all over the country.
What exactly makes your church distinct from other Pentecostal churches?
Well, in a football team, every player has his unique contribution, but with the sole aim of winning the match. Pentecostal churches too have different roles and responsibilities in building the kingdom of God. We are just one of the players with a specific assignment of liberating mankind from oppressions through preaching the word of faith. This is the role we have been playing and have never drifted from. I believe this is what makes us unique.
What activities marked your birthday?
We donated food, clothing and money to Chilungamo Orphan Care Centre (where) as part of our corporate social responsibility. We also visited Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) to pray with for the sick and give our various donations. We completed with a road parade where we gave out biblical materials.
Where do you see the local chapter in 10 years?
I see a great and bright future ahead of us! We hope to win many souls for Christ, transform many with the glorious light of the gospel. We also hope to build primary and secondary schools with one tertiary institution; and many more things as the Lord permits us.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of this nation for making a way for this commission to be established here in Malawi.