Interview: How I Dump My Thriving IT Business For Pastoral Calling -Femi Faseru
Pastor Femi Faseru oversees the Lagos branch of Matthew Ashimolowo’s Kingsway International Christian Centre. The father of Ifeoluwa, Olaoluwa and Iyanu, he is married to Sade, his soulmate. In this interview, Faseru traced his journey into the ministry and how he dumped his thriving IT business to answer God’s call on his life
What have been the challenges so far after 17 years?
Any vision will have challenges and that’s the challenges of which the vision itself was given, souls has to be won for the kingdom of God and the message of the gospel has to be taught, that is what KICC embark on. The challenge is to see the people work on what they have hard or what they’ve been taught.
We thank God, we see the manifestation of the word in the life of the people, particularly the mission that we are in, with the amount of the word that has been shared across the pulpit, we expect that Nigeria by now will be a better place.
We expect the people of this nation will have really evolved to be the people that God has created them to be. God is doing awesome things, we see changes, we would just like to see it faster and quicker.
We have so many churches in Nigeria, despite this there are still some ills that need to be curbed, what is your ministry doing about this?
The ministry is fundamentally set up to minister the word. The word of the Lord is one answer to every problem, nation, family, business, city, town.
What we have to do is what we’re doing, preaching righteousness, undiluted word of God, so that people will know how to do things.
The word of God is the manual for living, what we’re trying to do is to get the manual and encourage the people to follow it.
Once we see a lot of people more committed to the word of God, not only hearing it but also doing what they’ve heard or what they have read from the word of God, we’ll surely see a better Nigeria.
Can you measure the impact in your ministry?
The impact is measurable. The success is measurable, when you put in teaching and you begin to see the manifestation in the lives of the people then you can tell them this is the product of the teaching of the word that was shared.
Nigeria, for example, you cannot put aside the impact of the word of God in our society. For example, the security level in this nation is not enough to
keep someone in this nation, but it is the security we have in the word of God that is been taught that makes people to know that a thousand may fall at our side and ten thousand at our right side and they will not come near our dwelling place.
It is not the business you see, not the industry that the government has instituted that is bringing prosperity to the people in this nation, it is the word of God that is been shared that the people put into use that is bringing provision into their lives.
So, definitely you cannot undermine the impact of the word of God in this society. When you go to the southern part of Africa, you will find out that HIV rate is so high, don’t we have much people here, why don’t we have such a high HIV rate here.
It is because there is a pulpit, there is someone preaching and saying live in holiness, purity and that’s why we are not going through what other people are going through.
What were the greatest sacrifice you had to make, and the basic ingredient for a successful ministry?
I don’t think I want to classify the greatest sacrifice but in terms of me working in line with the ministry that the Lord has called me into, the sacrifice I have to make was basically that I was an IT professional and I had my own business, amongst other things I was doing.
I had to make every other thing I was doing my part-time work and make the ministry full-time. It is a huge sacrifice, considering the fact that seven years ago, this guy was married and had two children.
I basically had to walk out of my business and work in the church that was barely kicking off in this nation. So, that was what I could liken as a sacrifice, the courage and conviction to walk out of what I knew how to do and obey the call of the ministry. The basic ingredient for a successful ministry is obedience.
I thank God for my senior pastor, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, to a lot of people he’s a great preacher but he’s such a dynamic man of God, talented in numerous ways. He is a great mentor, man of God, he is skillful at mentoring people. He is a quality leader that makes the work look so easy with the principles which I have learnt.
What does it take to make heaven?
I believe on the judgement day, God will open every man’s heart and there will be a time of reckoning. Basically, God will weight what you’ve done on earth and He’ll weigh it based on what He told you to do on earth.
Part of the things He told you is for you to accept Jesus, not to fornicate, not to commit adultery, not to tell lies.
So, I belief on that day before the gate of heaven is opened, there will be a time of reckoning to find out how you lived your life. Did you live your life in obedience of what God has told you to do or did you live your life to please a man, please yourself or you lived your life to please God.
The Bible says there’re some men who said they prophesized in His name but He said I do not know you because of the works they did. So, it’s important we understand the whole gospel.
Paul said that can we continue in sin and expect grace to abound, so it’s important that we understand that we’ve to work out our salvation. Salvation is great but there’s a work you do while you are saved.
Some people belief once they accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour, that’s all.
The acceptance of Christ as their Lord and Saviour, a lot of people misunderstand what that means. When you have Christ as
your Lord and Saviour, they are two different things, Jesus has come to save mankind, laid His life down for us and then He expects us to put Him in our lives so that He can live through us. So, the laying of His life is the work of salvation so if you’ve accepted that Jesus died, that’s you recognizing the work of salvation.
But you’ve to ask Him to live your life for you, that is the lordship of Christ over your life, the qualification into heaven. Belief is based on you accepting Him and you allowing Him to be the Lord of your life, the acceptance is something you do once but the lordship of Christ over your life is a continual thing until you die.
So, the question is would you allow Jesus to live your life for you, Jesus won’t tell a lie, he won’t fornicate, commit adultery. So, it goes beyond you stepping out before the altar and say Lord come and be my Lord and my Saviour when you turn back.
Remember that you made that decision by saying I am repenting, in order words I am walking away from my sinful ways. If you turn back, the Bible says that is, nailing Jesus back to the cross again.
A biblical scripture says we should labour not to be rich, yet another says we must work, where is the balance?
The Bible does not encourage laziness but at the same time, hard work is great, hard work makes you have a feeling. It actually goes beyond a feeling, it makes you to know that you are actually putting into humanity, you are actually trying to make where you live a better place.
Hard work is dignifying, but I’ve seen so many hard working people in civil service, after 65 years they don’t have anything, it’s not because they were lazy. I’ve seen businessmen and women who worked hard but yet the businesses didn’t grow, I’ve seen career folks who never got promoted to the level they wanted despite all the hard work they put in it.
So, the Bible makes us to understand why we have to work hard, our eyes for wealth and riches should not be on them because you might be disappointed. It is God who shows a man favour.
In Deuteronomy, the Bible says it is God who giveth power to get wealth, it’s not power to work for wealth, its power to get it. Wealth is received, God called unto Abraham and He said look up, lift your eyes up all that you see I’ve given them unto you.
We have to know the source of wealth, riches and prosperity and it’s in God.
Managing a large congregation like this could be a big job, how do you cope?
I thank God for my pastor once again who is my coach in this job and one of the things he told me in the early days is Femi, the Lord God use you to build the people and the people will build the church. So, the work will be smooth and it will flow well because it’s the people’s work to build the church.
When on the pulpit, in counselling or at every opportunity, I speak into their lives and encourage them individually and collectively. When they are going through challenges, trials, they think its finished, I come back to them to tell them what you’re going through is the removal of the limitation to where you’re going, rather than you crying or shedding tears, speak, there is peace, there’s breakthrough and when people hear that, they begin to develop and grow.
By themselves they begin to organize and get the church going. The time has come for the church to understand that the work of the ministry will be a lot easier if the pastor will let the people do the job.
While growing up, did you plan to be a pastor or you saw a vision?
To be honest with you, I never saw a vision, God never spoke to me directly. In fact, I was minding my own business in England, doing IT, I pioneered a couple of things in US, majorly in software testing and assurance.
By the grace of God, I set up a school in UK which happens to be the first of its kind in Europe and a lot of people came through this school. We were even using University of East London for lecture and people learnt how to work with big organization.
In Scotland, they came to get people to come and work after finishing weekend programmes. I felt very comfortable with what I was doing until I started feeling a nudging in my spirit that God wanted me to leave UK in the midst of my success and I prayed more.
I felt maybe God wanted me to move to the USA until that time a company had asked me to come over and have given me a work permit to come over and work for them. I wasn’t led to go so I stayed, I came back to Nigeria to start my IT business, it wasn’t until about that time my pastor called me and told me to come and pastor the church here.
It was an act of obedience, he has been my mentor, so I will obey first before complaining if there happens to be complain. I started and it wasn’t until two and half years then the church has grown from 100 to about 700 people.
As at that time after I have prayed and discussed with my wife that I actually felt that look in the last one and half years I hadn’t been to my office and I felt strongly that I was called into full time ministry.
My boss said I have always known that you have a calling of God upon your life years ago but I knew you were not ready. I was only waiting for the day when you will see yourself in the ministry and you’ll come to me. So, that was how I came into the ministry.
Is it only when the number of people in church is growing that you can say there is success?
The kind of success that God is looking for you cannot separate it from church numeric growth, the mandate the church has is not to preach to a few people, Jesus gave the commandment to preach to everyone, we are limiting our calling, assignment if we focus on few people.
If God will open the world to you, take advantage, where the carcass is there the eagle will gather. If your church is not growing don’t think that is what God wants for you, look into your church.
What am I doing wrong? Maybe you’re trying to build the church yourself and you’re ignoring the people, maybe you focus on how other people will come from outside and ignore the people in the church.
The report that the people in the house are giving people outside is not encouraging the people outside to come in, check what is not right. Instead of you saying that attendance is not a relative to the move of God in that assembly, where there is the love of God, where the people are been delivered, happy, healed, there will be the microphone, tapes that will go out and say hey come and feed where I am feeding.
So, I believe that numeric growth is an indication that you are on the right path. Of course, the quality of the gospel also have to be tested because you don’t have numeric growth based on lies, telling people that God will do what God didn’t promise and people also been gullible, you have a lot of people where there are lies.
But once you have tasted the undiluted word of God, then the pastor must expect growth and if growth is not coming, you must sit down, find out, talk to someone whose church is growing and find out what are you doing that I am not doing because I appreciate what God is doing in your life. The success of the disciples was measured in the Bible based on how many people came to the knowledge of Christ through the ministry of these apostles and we should not ignore that.
What is the vision of the ministry?
Raising champions, taking territories because we believe we are not making champions, God has already made champions, but champions sometimes are asleep.
Our mandate is to get into the territory and challenge the men, women, boys, girls, youths in the territory, challenge them and there is a champion in you.
Help them to see the champion in them and help them to rise up and answer the call of God on their life, so we do that from territory to territory.
How do you relax?
I play golf on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, I create that time for golf.
This interview was first published in the Encomium magazine