Charismatic Nigerian pastor, Chris Oyakhilome.

IT’s just a few days before charismatic Nigerian pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, hosts a Global Worship and Communion Service at the 60 000 seat National Sports Stadium.

Judging by his popularity in South Africa where he holds a record of filling the giant FNB Stadium whose capacity is close to 95 000, the leader of Christ Embassy is quite an extraordinary character.

The prolific preacher makes a debut visit to Zimbabwe next Sunday for an afternoon service which has been dubbed a ‘not to be missed event’.He will be coming from Johannesburg, South Africa, where the church hosted a four-day Loveworld Festival of Music and Arts starting last Thursday.

While many may be attending the service predictably due to their need for miracles, deliverance and healing; there are some who would like a first hand experience with the ever-smiling pastor whose soft spoken voice easily attracts an audience. It won’t be surprising if most churches, especially those with followers with a penchant for miracles, will be empty on this particular day.

American business magazine, Forbes, ranks Pastor Chris among the top richest clergy in Africa. According to the profile on the church’s official website, Pastor Chris’ ministry spans over 25 years and is characterised by teaching, healing, television hosting and writing books.

Among the well known publications is the ‘Rhapsody of Realities’, a daily devotional and Bible-study guide which has been distributed in over 242 countries and is translated in over 800 languages.

These include Afrikaans, Arabic, Cantonese, Croatian, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Mandarin, Myanmar, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili among others, the website states. It is recorded that Pastor Chris holds crusades like the Higher Life Conference and Night of Bliss, drawing crowds of over 3,5 million in a single night.

While many local prophets have laid structures for guest houses which provide personal interactions with their rather inaccessible religious leaders, Pastor Chris runs a popular Healing School ministry after which testimonies of miracles are televised on the church’s stations.

“Pastor Chris in the year 2003, pioneered the first 24-hour Christian Network from Africa to the rest of the world, and this has given rise to three satellite stations, the LoveWorld TV in the UK, LoveWorld SAT in South-Africa and LoveWorld PLUS in Nigeria and still counting.

“Through this medium, millions of people have been reached with the beautiful message of salvation and many lives have been transformed.These stations are also available on the mobile platform,” the church’s website states.

Pastor Chris also hosts the “Atmosphere for Miracles”, a programme airing on major television networks in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Asia, Europe and other parts of the world.

“The man of God, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (PhD), established the International School Of Ministry, specifically to train and equip ministers of the gospel of Christ, building in them the realities of God’s word and empowering them to carry the message of eternal life in Christ Jesus to their world, with great demonstration of the miraculous power of God.

“Pastor Chris also pioneered the establishment of the Inner City Mission of Christ Embassy, a ministry to children living in the Inner cities of our world, to give them a hope and a future.”