Pastor Bukky Obey-Olaiya is the eldest daughter of the music legend, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi. She speaks with SEYI SOKOYA on why female pastors are important, how Christians can evangelise effectively, among other issues. Excerpts:
How have you been able to combine being a pastor, wife and mother?
The calling of God is what gives me fulfillment and joy. To do the work of the father and also have influence over the church, I mean the body of Christ as a whole, is a privilege. This has made me see all other aspects of my life, even as a wife and mother, as a privilege. The way I manage all these tasks is beyond what I can explain. All I know is that God has been the reason behind our success as a family and ministry.
Some people have frowned upon women becoming pastors, saying that it is against biblical injunction. As a female pastor, how would you react to that?
We have all been called by God to minister and one ought not to compromise in whatever way one can serve the Lord or minister as a child of God, whether male or female. Some are gifted with songs, while some have the grace to teach. In fact, some people would be called to full-time ministration, while others would be part-time. However, we are all ministers. God has called many ministries. So, we all have a place at the feet of the father. He is calling everyone, including men and women and it is our obligation to obey the call. We cannot exempt women because we are all in the body of Christ and it is all about relationship. I can confidently tell you that some women have better relationship with God and the only thing that connects God and humans is relationship. The fact still remains that by the order of God that men are the head and women are helpmates, we are all working together for the greater good and service to God. Above all, we are all expected to fulfill God’s purpose. Women are just dynamic; they are there everywhere you go, and they even take the larger number in any house of God. They do so many things at once. They take care of the home, children and are instrumental at work place as well as always willing to do the work of God either as a worker in the church or supporting their husbands as clerics.
A female evangelist was killed in Abuja recently. What safer methods would you suggest for Christians in propagating the gospel?
I just pray that such will not occur again. This is Nigeria where we have freedom of worship of whatever religion we choose. Jesus Christ was all about love and rather than push a person to accept Christianity, he preached acceptance. We have freedom of religion here and it is uncalled for to harass or kill anyone involved in evangelism. I pray God will touch every heart. We should continue to pray that God will give us more inspired ideas and dynamic ways to evangelise. However, there are other mediums that can be explored for evangelism, such as through phones, social media platforms and other new technologies, but that doesn’t mean the old way of evangelism, especially the door-to-door should die. It is proper to set boundaries than to kill anyone preaching on the street. And for Christians, I want to advise them to be vigilant, and take caution where there are boundaries regarding public evangelism.
How did you receive the call to become a minister?
I was privileged to grow up in a Christian background and at a very early age, 13 precisely, I gave my life to Christ and it really affected how I lived my life. I later rededicated my life to God in 1994 and I have been working with and for Him since then. I went to a Bible school and eventually got married to a pastor. I had already been ordained as a pastor at Obey’s church before I got married and it has been awesome working with my husband at the Universal Evangelical Church Tabernacle of Praise Ministry, at Abule Egba in Lagos State.
Would you say that your parents influenced your becoming a pastor?
Definitely. Everything I became was as a result of what I was taught at home. The family altar and the home front were very strong. My mother was very committed to the family altar and the raising up of the children. My father too is very awesome. A lot of people just see Obey the musician, but they don’t have full insight of Obey the man of God, the teacher and a person who does not seek the face of God through any prophet. He is a man that works with God and God talks to. He carries the gift of prophecy. There is a difference between when you know God for yourself and when people deliver God’s messages to you. My apologies but I must say this, some people have missed the call because somebody else is directing their lives. This boils down to the fact that some people are very lazy because they cannot stay in a place of prayer and pray for themselves, that is why people go to some prophets and in the process, many homes and lives have been destroyed.
I am fortunate to toe this path which has given me solid foundation about the knowledge of the word and solidified my relationship with God through personal encounter.
What does it take to be eldest daughter in the Obey dynasty?
Actually, I am surrounded by a lot of siblings; especially my brothers and they treat me like a princess. It has been that way for a very long time and I am very close to every one of them. We had fun growing up and there were always pranks growing up with a lot of brothers; sometimes, I am even the object of the pranks. However, I am extremely close to my father. It is not easy for me to fill the vacuum my mum left behind, but I have been able to do my best to make sure everyone is happy. I ensure I see my father every week, except when he is not in the country. Aside that, we talk heart-to-heart and it has been wonderful.
What do you think people don’t know about you?
I am a very private person and the lines have been falling unto me in pleasant places; I have a good heritage, especially being brought up in a Christian home and being taught the word of God early in life. I am privilege to be a mother. Unlike most women, I was not privileged to have my child early. I was in my mid-40s before I had my son and you can imagine what I would have gone through. Though I was into audio cassette business, the CD technology made it obsolete and in that process, I had my son and I decided to be a stay-at-home mum to bring up my son because he is a miracle baby. This has really given me a lot of joy and also changed my life. Now that he is coming of age, I now have the opportunity to venture into some businesses.