Celebrating a product of Vision- FAITH TABERNACLE,
Canaanland, Ota, Africa
18 Sep 1999-18 Sep 2017
“At the Base of this commission, there will be a tent to sit 50,000 people”
Bro David Oyedepo
10 April 1982
Power House Meeting,
Ilorin, Kwara State,
Few months after the death of General Sani Abacha, Nigerian Head of State, I sat there under the canopy at the overflow section outside the 3,000 capacity building at 28, Raji Oba Street, off Church bus stop, Iyana Ipaja.
International Headquarters of Winners’ Chapel.
The behemoth crowd continued to stream in as the service continued. Soon, overflow facilities had filled up, roads were overtaken by seats, they were blocked, gutters were taken over. True, the multitudes had become a nuisance in this environment, once a gathering of brothels.
The people had come to meet with the God of Breakthroughs. The date was 13th Sept, 1998, the first night of the 15th Victory Celebration of the church.
A number of Bishops had been invited including Bishop John Praise-Abuja, Bishop John Osa-Oni, Bishop Lawrence Osagie-Wisdom Cathedral, Ijesha, Lagos, Bishop Sam Amaga of Foundation Faith Church, Bishop Lanre Obembe of El-Shaddai, of course Bishop David Abioye, Vice President of Living Faith Church, Hosts of the event and 2 others.
As usual however, the opening night would be taken by the short man who had become somewhat a sensation in the area. His name, David Olaniyi Oyedepo.
I can’t remember very much of the events of that night except perhaps I check my very detailed notes, however I write this about 650 miles away from my notes. One thing I remember was a sudden unusual instruction
“Get a pen and paper or note and write this down, by this time next year, we will be dedicating our new 50,000 auditorium”.
There was a hush of silence. I heard whispers and I myself was unsure -Did he say 1 year and 15,000? Again, the short man bellowed, we will be dedicating our 50,000 capacity auditorium. This is not just Faith,it is a Fact”
There was a belated applause and then jubilation, but honestly, this guy had to be kidding I thought. Church building projects are very fast if completed in 3 years.
Why 1 year?
I loved him so much in the period I had come under his teachings-2 years, that I diidnt want him to fail.
I was officially afraid for the man they call ‘Papa‘.
I went through the motions. I was determined to see how this will go. By Sept 18, 1998 (17 years today) ropes were used to measure the construction area of about 66 acres.
Earlier in July and August, two popular construction majors had been asked to give their quotes for the project. Their response was ‘impossible due time factor.
Three years more reasonable’.
Eventually, full time pastors and dedicated members were called upon and the number pruned down to a sizeable one.
In December, I gave my sacrifice of N3,000 for 3 chairs towards white chairs for use during services in the ongoing construction. The Bishop gave N1 million for initial 1,000 chairs.
By December, the construction was 6 weeks ahead of time. I remember we never were asked to pray for money, instead, we were told to always give thanks for provisions.
Again I remember the seed money of N120 million (about $1.5million back then) had been exhausted in a few weeks and as a matter of policy based on Biblical injunctions,this church does not take loans.
Final estimate for the project by the next year was about N900 million (about $11.3million) excluding materials brought by worshippers and friends.
By July 1999, exactly 2 months to dedication, the centre area of the roof had become a challenge. Hosanna night is a July event. Members watched with awe and sadness as the rains fell through the centre cone to beat the Bishop black and blue through the night. He announced “some of you are beginning to doubt the completion of this building, he declared-it took God 6 days
To create the world, it won’t take him 2 months to complete a mere building-2 months too much! I then felt he was pushing it when he then announced-if this building isn’t completed, I am NOT sent. Sept 18 is a practical Reality.
On Sept 18, as a member of the choir and with worshippers from about 25 countries in attendance including Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts, Bishop Mike Okonkwo of TREM and others, I joined 97,800 worshippers too dedicate the world’s largest church auditorium.
Few weeks later, British Broadcasting Corporation came to visit the “rather large church” however, by January 2008, it was officially listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the largest; a fact that church members had known for 9 years.
It is interesting to read one of the stories of Faith Tabernacle online produced thus:
Ota, a quiet town in Southwestern Nigeria, is home to one of the world’s most amazing architectural edifices.
Inside Faith Tabernacle, Ota. The headquarters of Living Faith Church Worldwide.
On January 24, 2008, Nigerians woke up to the announcement of a laudable feat.
The headquarter church of Winner’s Chapel, known as the Faith Tabernacle, had been listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Church in terms of capacity.
With a sitting and overflow capacity of 50,400 and 250,000 people respectively, the bright red roofed edifice sits over a sprawling 5000 acres of land at Cannanland in the Ota suburbs, about 50 miles from Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos.
A behemoth hexagonal multiplex, The Faith Tabernacle took only twelve months to build – and many of the architects and engineers who worked on the project offered their services pro bono.
The Faith Tabernacle is acclaimed to have been built entirely debt-free and with only made-in-Nigeria materials. The most outstanding of the Faith Tabernacle’s features, is that its roof is suspended over the entire structure without a single pillar at its epicentre.
The Faith Tabernacle is deemed one of the world’s recognisable feats in the field of engineering.
A few weeks after the completion of this structure, there was a slight lull in attendance due to the 35km distance from the previous church facility.
Bishop Oyedepo declared
“The Tabernacle has been built, the Tabernacle must be filled”
Presently, service holds at Faith Tabernacle 5 times every Sunday for over 225,000 worshippers with Bishop Oyedepo preaching in all the services.
We salute raw and unbridled vision today!
A lot of ongoing projects have been influenced by Faith Tabernacle all over the world, however none of them has beaten the one year record+ a few from Nigeria are of note:
1. The 500,000 Deliverance Temple of the MFM at Prayer City, Mowe, Ogun State.
2. The 90,000 capacity church of Salvation Ministries, Port Harcourt.
3. 75,000 Great Tabernacle of the Apostolic Faith Mission, Faith City, Igbesa, Ogun State.
4. 70,000 capacity church auditorium at the Lord’s Garden, Dunamis International, Abuja.