Popularity, depth of message, level of influence, online acceptance or just mere talkability are some of the factors we considered into putting together the list of our top 10 Pastors of 2017. Love them or love them, these pastors have won our attention. Either through their works of charity, nation building, scandal, controversial messages and most of us are just die-hard fans of a few of them. In no particular order see our top ten pastors for the year.
10. Prophet TB Joshua: Unlike most pastors, the Synagogue Church of all Nations leader led quite a low -key profile this year. Until that time during the tithe controversy when he taught his congregation to give to the poor rather than give a tithe of their income to the church. As regards achievements, the 54-year-old man of God was conferred the highest award of the Senate of the Dominican Republic. Some others claimed he prophesied Mugabe’s removal, but we don’t know how true that is. We eagerly waiting for the 1st of January for the next set of prophecies. And errr… We still haven’t gotten a reply to Jim Iyke’s claim of being taken advantage of by TB Joshua. We wait.
9. Apostle Johnson Suleman: The founder of Omega Fire Ministry easily makes this list of top 10 Pastors of 2017. Somehow, we just got talking about this one man of God throughout this year. We don’t know how he does it. But, not everyone comes out of a scandal of that nature and rises strong. First, the Stephanie Otobo scandal, his tweet on tithing and his December gift to the Libyan deportees. What a year for Apostle Suleman!
8. Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo: You see, we love Pastor Matthew, Kingsway International Christian Centre but there were so many errors this year. There weren’t so many actually; just a few considerably huge errors. First, it was the church fund in MMM scandal and the message where he asked the congregation to pay $1000 for every year they lived on earth. But, how he has risen above it all, commendable. We just hope all of these would be looked into.
7. Pastor Enoch Adeboye: It was less than 7 days into the new year when Pastor Adeboye gave us the new year shocker. Actually, it wasn’t really a shocker as much as it was a promotion and a succession plan. But, trust social media to take unconfirmed information and blow it out of proportion. Pastor Adeboye handed over to Joshua Obayemi who now leads the Nigeria arm of RCCG while he continues as the General Overseer of RCCG worldwide.
6. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo: You can rant all you can, Pastor Biodun sure doesn’t really care. The Commonwealth of Zion Assembly still grows stronger; planting new branches in newer cities of the world. And those shoes and clothes on his Instagram page, we will get there too. Amen?
5. Pastor Poju Oyemade: We don’t even know how Pastor Poju Oyemade manages to carry everyone along. From his family duties, to the annual gift of the West African Faith Believers Convention (WAFBEC), The International Conference for Pastors, Leaders and Ministers, The Platform and The Platform Young Professionals Bootcamp. Not forgetting his active engagement on social media. This year, more than ever, we learnt so much from the feet of Pastor Poju and beyond the walls of the church too. His constant reproof and doctrinal teachings and words of wisdom on social media did not fall on deaf ears.
4. Bishop David Oyedepo: Currently referred to as the Rolls Royce of Bishops by Pastor Adeboye. The Bishop of one of the largest congregations in Africa is many things to many people but never ceases to be one thing – an inspiration. How he continues to inspire a rapidly changing generation with his massive vision still holds us spellbound. Someone recently asked what his followers think of Bishop Oyedepo and one of them said “A confident, successful and visionary Man of God”. Enough said!
3. Pastor Paul Adefarasin: Pastor Paul is definitely one of the few respected pastors in Nigeria. His presence speaks of elegance, of class, of prestige, yet of reckless faith. Pulling up an event like The Experience every year makes us fall in love with him again, again and again.
2. Pastor Abel Damina: In the middle of a rather heated tithe or no tithe controversy, Pastor Abel Damina came to the rescue. Sharing biblical references and the basis of giving a tithe. His message of the grace of Jesus is one of the few things we know him for apart from his ability to perfectly dissect the word of God.
1. Sam Adeyemi: At the forefront of emerging pop culture, Nation Building and its intersection with faith is Sam Adeyemi – Lead Pastor at Daystar Christian Centre. It’s hard to point to that one thing that Pastor Sam never gets right. Not just because he preaches excellence, or acts the part but because it’s hardly noticeable. His acts of love, humility and the numerous works of social responsibility through Daystar Christian Centre have only made us love him so much more.
Did we miss any? Who and Why?
Bolu Akindele is a freelance writer and journalist whose work covers religion, human interest stories and development across Nigeria and increasingly, West Africa.