Sam Adeyemi, 53
What would Jesus do?
We speak of shaking tables more freely today than at any other time. Some applaud “table shakers,” while others attack them.
Whatever you think of them, especially in our Christian faith, at least they seem to be direct descenders of the father of our faith. Because, over 2,000 years ago when the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were always hugging tables, Jesus was not only shaking them, he was out shattering tables. And we are not just talking about the tables he physically broke in Matt 21: 12- 13 when he “entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”
He said to them, “The Scriptures declare,‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”. He was the true definition of ‘disruptor of the establishment!’
What would Jesus do is a question that requires continuous reflection by every Christian, admonishing us to look in the mirror and not only see ourselves but see Jesus; measuring the action we have just taken or about to take against what he would do. For Christian leaders, whether in Nigeria or elsewhere around the world, the question applies. Would Jesus act like we act today? Would Jesus avoid speaking truth to power? Would he preach one thing, and turn around to the do the complete opposite?
Would Jesus look away from injustice, inequality and human rights abuse? Would he choose to be politically correct about issues like rape or misogyny; issues that affect humanity at its core? Or would Christ embody a life of love and service to humanity? Would he take the burden of his calling with a strong sense of responsibility, engaging truthfully and frankly with his congregation, explaining why we must give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, especially in a year like 2020?
In a year fraught with turbulence, Rev. Sam Adeyemi was a guiding light, unafraid to use the podium and his considerable influence to speak truth to power as well as rallying people to always do the right thing. When young people took to the streets in October 2020 to express their disgust and disapproval of police brutality, Rev. Sam became one of the early supporters of the youth-led #EndSARS movement. He encouraged young people via his social media handles to make use of their people power to push their legitimate demands, but to also listen to each other with respect and humility.
Rev. Adeyemi’s messaging was tailored to respect the mood of the nation as he provided messages of encouragement and hope. In that moment, Pastor Sam, as he is fondly called, became the pastor of Nigeria’s young people. In a tweet, Ijeoma said, “because of Pastor Sam, I may go from being an atheist to attending church from Sunday.” Rev. Sam more or less drew up the agenda for the church’s response to times of uncertainty and civil upheavals.
Of course, it came as no surprise that Rev. Sam Adeyemi would find himself in this role. For many years, before “connecting with the youth” became popular, Rev. Adeyemi has been helping young people realise their lives’ purpose. He founded the not-for-profit Daystar Leadership Academy with a vision of raising exceptional leaders and managers capable of transforming the world. The Academy offers diverse courses in leadership and counts over 20,000 students as alumni since 2002.
Rev. Adeyemi’s strengths as a business, strategy and spiritual leader come to bear on every single decision that he lends his huge influence to.
Intellectually curious and big on knowledge gathering- he holds a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University, Virginia and a Masters degree from the University of Exeter. Rev. Adeyemi has for over twenty years, run Success Power International. The multimedia platform helps people maximise their potential through teachings distributed via telecast, radio, seminars, audio and video. He is the author of several well received books. His annual Excellence in Leadership Conference is always one of the high points of the year for many people who troop to Oregun in Lagos, to have mind shifting moments. “I teach people that they need to change their thinking. If their thinking can change, their lives would change.” Rev. Adeyemi once said.
Then there is his work with the Daystar Christian Centre, which he runs alongside his wife and partner, Pastor Nike; with a vision to raise global role models. From humble beginnings, attended by only a handful of people, the church now attracts more than 25,000 members weekly. These people keep coming back because they see in Rev. Adeyemi a genuine spirit and warm heart that seeks to build and nurture all aspects of their being.
For decades, Rev. Adeyemi has continued to model an exemplary behavior. Drawn to meaningful causes that on first reading appear to be radical, Rev. Adeyemi’s message is simple, really. A ministry that is called to spread love, show love and be love. This message has never been more useful than in these times of uncertainty and division. He talks it, walks it and lives it.
Think again, isn’t that what would Jesus do?
To vote Sam Adeyemi as YNaija Person of the Year 2020; visit ynaija.com/personoftheyear2020