Philanthropy as evangelism: The D.K. Olukoya example


Promise Adiele

Promise Adiele

There are current trends in Christendom that many acclaimed churches, pastors, general overseers, and sundry personalities of the pulpit have embraced in their bid to increase the numerical strength of their churches. They do this in the guise of evangelism and winning souls for Christ. These range from analysis of socio-political events to performing stage-managed miracles and chasing clouts on social media. They misname these unfortunate, self-serving indulgencies as evangelism. Of course, miracles are a welcomed development in the Christian community because Jesus Christ, the Master, performed various miracles. However, since charlatans, marabouts and a motley of all-comers have bastardized the spiritual revival and supernatural validation of the power of God through miracles, people no longer take miracles seriously. Evangelism is also waning in Christendom, receding into distant memory. Instead of honest evangelism and winning souls for Christ, many preachers exploit and manipulate the vulnerable in society. Such preachers capitalize on people’s weaknesses to advance their material and gain motivated messages. Yet, amid the rot within the Christian family, Prof. D.K Olukoya, the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries has consistently advanced genuine, verifiable philanthropy as an aspect of his vast spheres of evangelism.

Evangelism is one of the cornerstones of the Christian faith. It involves winning souls for Jesus Christ through preaching the word of salvation to the broken-hearted, pulling people out of despair, anguish and poverty. There are different aspects of evangelism. However, given the harsh economic conditions across the world, especially in Africa, philanthropy, financial gifts and material donations are the most effective ways of winning souls for Christ. Unfortunately, not many churches and preachers are actively involved in this practice. D.K. Olukoya, his wife Dr Shade Olukoya and Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries stand out as leading lights in evangelism through philanthropy. Across the world and especially in Nigeria, D.K. Olukoya and his church have pulled millions of people out of poverty, giving them a new life and converting them to Christ. Philanthropy for him is a way of life, a testimony to his large heart and infinite kind disposition. Some people have said that D.K. Olukoya does not know how to refuse a request for material or spiritual assistance. Asked why he freely donates and gives people gifts, he said, “for me, it is an aspect of evangelism and winning souls for Christ”. The Biblical expression, “God loves a cheerful giver” is personified in D.K. Olukoya and his Ministry.

Pastor DK Olukoya

D.K. Olukoya and Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries have been at the forefront of social responsibility across the world and in Nigeria especially. In 2010, the man of God gave out 20 brand-new cars to first-class graduates of the church across all Nigerian universities. It marked an epoch in Christendom at a time when many churches and pastors were busy fishing into the pockets of their members for personal enrichment. The whole world stood up for MFM and the founder. Never in the history of churches in Nigeria did a church or any preacher embark on a kind gesture of that magnitude. While other churches were encouraging their members to donate their cars as a form of sowing seeds, D.K Olukoya and his church were busy distributing cars to exceptional and distinguished young people. The car gift is part of his 21-point agenda to encourage youths to stay away from different vices at a time when Satan is waging war on the global youth population. Through that gesture of car gift, D.K. Olukoya, who made a first-class in Microbiology from the University of Lagos, sought to promote academic endeavour and perhaps draw the youths closer to God. The car gifts continued until 2019 when the church replaced them with cash gifts because the number of first-class graduates increased exponentially.

D.K. Olukoya has over 80 charitable projects through which he helps the needy, alleviates poverty, spreads the message of Christ and puts joy in the hearts of many people. Through his D.K. Olukoya Foundation, many young people have received free education up to university level irrespective of their states of origin. Many established churches have private universities, yet the indigent members of the churches cannot afford to send their children to these universities. D.K. Olukoya and his church are different. At Mountain Top University which has grown to become the best private university in Nigeria established in the last ten years, members of MFM are given a reasonable rebate in school fees. Besides the Foundation, he also personally grants scholarships to indigent students in other universities and not just only Mountain Top University. At a time when many private universities are becoming unaffordable due to the harsh economic realities in the country, he empathises with parents and has advised against indiscriminate increment of school fees. Today, despite its world-class infrastructure, Mountain Top University is one of the most affordable universities in Nigeria.

In 2014, towards his drive to enhance effective research in education, he donated the Central Research and Reference Laboratory to the University of Lagos, his Alma Mata. The facility is a massive three-wing complex with three floors covering 1000 square metres located adjacent to the Faculty of Engineering complex on the main campus of the university. Some of the platforms in the D.K. Olukoya Central Research & Reference Laboratories include the Analytical Laboratory, Maritime Laboratory, Vita Foam Polyurethane Laboratory, donated by Vita Foam, Fab Laboratory for Innovation, U.K Royal Academy of Engineering funded Thermal Energy Simulation Laboratory, Cell Biology Molecular Laboratory, Molecular Genetics Forensic Laboratory, Microbiology Laboratory, Botany laboratory. Other laboratories include the Genomics Laboratory of the Centre for Genomics of Non-Communicable Diseases, the Air-pollution Monitoring Laboratory, the Biotechnology Laboratory, and the Nanotechnology Laboratory among others. The core Central Research Laboratory of the facility is a UK-Royal Society of Chemistry accredited lab for t r a i n i n g o n G a s C h r o m a t o g r a p h y – M a ss Spectrophotometry, Federal Ministry of Environment accredited Environmental Assessment Laboratory and the facility is currently 1S0-17025 compliant.

At a time when many churches and religious organizations scorn social responsibility, D.K. Olukoya and MFM have blazed the trail in social responsibility. He donated 3 service vehicles to Sabo Police Station with cash gifts and other essential items. Perhaps, the most outstanding channel for his charity works is the We Care Ministry, a sub-division in the MFM family. Under the We Care Ministry, there is the Prison subgroup through which prisoners across the country receive enormous help in different categories. There is also the Rehabilitation subgroup and Orphanage subgroup which all cater for indigent persons and orphans across the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, D.K. Olukoya and his ministry provided palliatives to many people across the country irrespective of the church they attend. He donated a brand-new Hiace bus to the Lagos State government to ease the movement of persons suspected to have contracted COVID-19 to various designated emergency medical centres. The Dorcas Empowerment Foundation within the ministry provides an avenue for people to learn different crafts and trades to be self-reliant. The Foundation provides opportunities for people to learn how to make bags, shoes, clothes and different kinds of craft making. Many beneficiaries of the Foundation are self-employed in different vocations and are also employers of labour.

Besides his passion for preaching and propagating the word of God, he is genuinely passionate about humanity and the human condition. His empathy for the downtrodden is immeasurable and cuts across other Christian denominations. At a time when many preachers and people of the pulpit assume a larger-than-life image, making themselves almost impossible to access, D.K Olukoya’s humility to members of the public speaks to his down-to-earth disposition. His unwavering commitment to youths has inspired him to establish various youth programs including a football club, a handball club and other schemes which according to him, are geared towards pulling teeming youths out of poverty while engaging them in meaningful ventures. D.K Olukoya has the heart of gold. His selfless disposition resonates with his commitment to make material and spiritual expenses for the needy. Although he has reached the pinnacle of his academic endeavour by becoming a Professor of Biotechnology, the first Nigerian scientist to clone genes, he still finds time to war against the kingdom of Satan, setting the captives free and liberating those in the vicious grip of demonic influence. Indeed, D.K. Olukoya is a man of God on a different pedestal. His acts of philanthropy as forms of evangelism speak louder than the clapping of thunder.

Promise Adiele PhD

Mountain Top University

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