Apostle (Dr) Oluleye Alli is the founder and pastor-in-charge of Shelter Rock International Christian Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State. In this interview by
OLAIDE SOKOYA, the Veterinary Doctor turned cleric talks about his journey into the ministry and what government should to do to foster peace.
WHAT was growing up like?
I grew up at Oja’ba, Ibadan, Oyo State and had a very humble background. I attended Omolewa Nursery and Primary School and later proceeded to St. Patrick Grammar School, Orita Bashorun, Ibadan. I had my first degree in verterinary medicine and masters in veterinary public health both from the University of Ibadan. I practised as a vet doctor for some years and have always been involved in ministry.
How did you find yourself in full-time ministry?
My journey into ministry has been very wonderful. I got born-again in 1990 and then I had an encounter with the Lord where He told me what my purpose in life would be. After that, I started getting involved in Christian organisations in school; I was a pastor in a thriving fellowship for so many years. When I went to for my youth service in Jalingo, Taraba State, I was privileged to pastor a group of corps members. Afterwards, because I had been involved in some ministries all along, I was able to serve in two or three churches, sometimes as an assistant pastor. So, before I settled down full-time, I had been preaching.
How long have you been in the ministry?
Generally, I have been in ministry for over 20 years. However, it’s been eight years now since I established my ministry.
How have you been able to overcome the challenges you have faced as a cleric?
With the fact that the ministry is still young, there have been a lot of challenges. Everything stops at your table; you are responsible for everything and this also involves managing people and you know dealing with a lot of people requires patience. It takes a lot of time for people to grow. The issue of finance has also been a challenge. However, in spite of everything, we have been trusting in God.
What is your greatest testimony since you started this ministry?
I will say the greatest testimony is that God has been tremendous. There has been so many testimonies like the dead being raised; I have practically witnessed the lame walk. However, the greatest testimony is changed lives. We have what is called fulfillment, that is, when people fulfill the purpose of God in their lives and they can say they have been blessed by the ministry. To me that is the greatest testimony; bringing people to the home of Jesus Christ to become born-again and seeing their lives changing.
With your experience as a cleric, how would you compare Christianity then and now?
Of course, the church has its challenges but in Christianity then, there was much commitment and dedication. Then, we were not involved in the ministry for personal gain. However, now that things are changing constantly, there is a lot of demand due to the economic situation. I believe for some people, that is the root of their commitment to God. But I still believe that these clerics should teach the people more about how they can be committed to the Lord, not just about being involved. We see so much involvement but not so much commitment. But however, now, people are still very committed and of course, these days are even better than some aspects of the earlier times, in the sense that now there is a lot of technology such as the social media and also private television stations, cables, satellites, with which we can reach out to millions of people at once, unlike what obtained in those days, in which we used microphones to go round for evangelism.
Nigeria clocked 56 recently. How would you assess the journey so far?
I have been privileged to understand that it is time for Nigeria to grow. We have our challenges as a nation in the spheres of economy, politics, education, religion, home, society, among others. I want us to believe that every challenge that can be surmounted because the issue we always have in Nigeria is that of leadership. The problem we have as followers is we believe that leadership is all about positions of authority and we don’t believe that leadership starts with the self. Everybody, one way or the other, has a sphere of influence whereby we lead people and it is the people that make a nation. So, if we can control ourselves and lead ourselves right, this nation will move forward.
What is your take on the current economic recession in Nigeria?
Nobody is happy because it is affecting everybody. We believe that there is a God and I believe that God is the one that controls the affairs of men. But things have not been so easy for people. People are finding things difficult in different sectors of the economy and I believe that government should proffer workable economic policies. The only thing we can do is to trust God and we shouldn’t make it a point of prayer alone. People that have should not forget those that don’t have at this particular point in time and be a blessing to them. Also, government should do a lot to empower people and invest in infrastructure. If we can do so much of empowering in a nation like Nigeria, where government can create a conducive environment for business and foreign investment, things will get better.
What is your advice to Christians?
My advice to all Christians is that we should first know that we are Christians. The Bible says that we are called at once and we should not just be Christians in words alone but we should be Christians in deed. We should be Christians to our neighbours because they read us first before they read the Bible. And the Bible says that we are supposed to be the light, salt and development of the world by living according to what the Bible says. And of course, serving God is knowing that it does not just end here. Lastly, we should be good ambassadors of Jesus Christ.