Not many are aware that veteran gospel musician, Pastor Joseph Adelakun (Baba Ayewa), is also a church planter. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, the septuagenarian music minister speaks on his building a place of worship for God, Christ Apostolic Church, Mercyland Unity Zonal District, Akute, Ogun State, as a promise kept.
You have experienced a steady growth as a veteran gospel musician and a cleric. How do you feel that the church you established has clocked 25 years?
I feel happy and great, but the greatness is in the Lord. I am happy because as a military man, I never thought I would establish a church. The reason is because I am a straightforward person. I knew that I wasn’t a jovial person and you know people think a person who is not jovial or friendly must be strict; but later they often change their views to like me because they will see that I am neither a crooked person nor do I have favourites. So, I have been applying the military-style to my activities. It has been an interesting experience for me.
Initially, I believed that the ideal thing to do is to send anybody who misbehaves away and ban them from the church. But then, I realised that a church is not run that way. So, later, the Holy Spirit helped me to bring up a lot of ministers that became successful and are even taking care of me today. What I am most joyful about is that God has not allowed us to have crises. Often times, most churches have crises; we hear stories of churches dissolving and coming back together. So, I really thank God for a smooth journey in the last 25 years. I am a disciplined father and they all know it. They know my likes and dislikes. So, I realised that it has been God Himself who has built the church to the level it is today.
You had a Muslim background, and now you are a cleric. Does this have any difference in your life?
I thank God for my life and the salvation of my soul. It was a great turnaround for me and I bless God for the grace to be one of His vessels. Yes, I came from a Muslim background, but here I am today standing tall as God’s servant to the extent of building and nurturing a church for 25 years. Sometimes I find myself wondering how the church grew to this level; it makes me happy. Mind you, I am not the head pastor of the church at the moment; I have stepped aside. I made a vow that if God helped me, I would build a church for Him and I thank God for answering my prayers. So, when I clocked 75, I formally stepped aside completely and focused more on my music ministry. So, all the properties that has to do with the church will be handed over to the church. My wife and I have agreed to take that step about seven years ago and it will no longer be my property till Jesus comes, even I won’t be involved in the administration of the church.
I will not have anything to do with the church. This is the vow I made with God. I had even forgotten that I promised to build a church for God before the Lord reminded me through a minister of God. So, we started on April 6, 1997 at the headquarters in Ketu, Lagos.
Are you fulfilled that you eventually built a church just as you said in your covenant with God?
I didn’t establish a church to oversee it. I remember in 1974 when a church was to be established (CAC Number Seven), I used to attend service from the barracks; I was at CAC Number Four. So, Baba Abiye wanted to establish Number Seven, and whenever they established a church, they would select some people from the church. So, I was one of those selected to go and establish the church. Palm fronds and mud was what they wanted to launch the church with. I was not comfortable with it, but at that time, aluminium zinc was expensive and I couldn’t afford it. And I told God that if He can make me to be successful in life, I would build a church for Him.
I said it and I forgot it until 1996 when I went to a prayer mountain, and I was reminded of the covenant I had with God. I was told to set aside everything I was doing when I get home. Interestingly, that was the time that Baba Obey, Prince Siju Adeniyi, Ibunkunola Printers, who used to make the album covers for our records were to support me with another project. I had a land on which I had laid the foundation of a duplex, given to me by General Ajayi when I retired. So, I abandoned the house I was building in collaboration with Prince Siju and Baba Obey. I thought by six months, we would already be done with the construction, not knowing that God had His own plans. So, when I marked my 60th birthday, and Baba Oyedepo was coming to the church, we had to demolish the house to be able to accommodate more worshippers. I do not have any regret doing this because God has rewarded me in bountiful folds.
So, God said He needed the place and I told my wife and she agreed that we must do what God had instructed us. So, I don’t see it as our property. That was why I fenced my house separately from the church. So, we didn’t want to build the church with bamboo sticks and mud. We made it look better with woods, then we commenced the building of the church. So, as we were doing that, I was transferred to Kaduna, so that paused the construction of the church. From Kaduna, I was transferred to Lagos and as God will have it the Ayewa Music Ministry started in 1976 November when I was a soldier. I bless God that both the church and the music ministry have grown in leaps and bound today.
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