Some years ago, I walked into Winners’ Chapel’s bookshop, Ring Road, Osogbo, Osun State, and bought about forty books by Bishop David Oyedepo. A Pastor saw me and asked if I was a member of Winners’ Chapel, and I said, “No Sir. But Papa is my Mentor”.
The look on the Pastor’s face was like, “How would an “outsider” buy this volume of books?”. But that’s been my practice since I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
I was privileged to be part of a spiritual family where our father in the Lord, Pastor Peter O. Morakinyo teaches, models and exemplifies an excellent reading culture and that has shaped my philosophy of ministry.
Now, there are many young ministers in our day who refer to So-and-so as their father or mentor and they have never read any of his materials. How would the person you call your mentor have written about 100 books and you have only read one or two out of them and you claim that you have been “following” him for ten years?
It doesn’t add up. Followership in ministry is not by public affirmation without corresponding private ethical engagement. If you also claim to be following someone in ministry but you always “misquote” his statements, then it is an indictment on your followership.
Always quoting your “mentor” wrongly leaves us with more questions than answers. There’s none of my mentors and fathers in the Faith that I don’t have their materials or read their materials. The first book of Bishop David Oyedepo that I read in the year 2001 was entitled, “EMERGENCE OF THE GLORIOUS CHURCH” and it was fire.
That book has been retitled to, “MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT”. As a matter of fact, I heard the phrase, “MENTORSHIP BY READERSHIP” from Bishop David Oyedepo as a message title.
My discovery in ministry over time is that nearly every giant of Faith in every generation is inspired by another giant of Faith in the preceding generation. Dad Hagin read after men like E. W. Kenyon, Smith Wigglesworth, P. C. Nelson, Donald Gee to mention but a few.
Kenneth Copeland read after men like Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, E. W. Kenyon and others. Bishop David Oyedepo read after men like Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, David Yonggi Cho and others.
The question is that who are you reading after? How many of your mentor’s books have you read? How many of his tapes have you listened to? How many of his videos have you watched? How many of his materials do you have access to? How many of his words ring daily in your consciousness?
When I received Jesus Christ in the year 2000, we were taught the value of prayer, retreats, reading books among others. I sacrificed both food and pocket money to buy books. As at the last count of the number of books in my library which was yesterday, I discovered that currently I have about 550 books, not counting Concordance, Bible Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries, and other study instruments.
This also is without counting the books I lent people over the years but were never returned. I have all of E. W. Kenyon’s books. I have Dad Hagin’s titles of which some are not so “popular” today.
Please note that I’m not talking about e-books here (e-books are fine; please don’t misunderstand me Sir and Ma); I’m talking about “hard copy” books. By God’s Grace, some of us started building our libraries when there were no e-books and there was nothing like social media.
In those days I had many audio cassettes’ messages in my library. It was audio cassettes galore! All the retreats that I took part in during my early years in Christianity, it was purely audio cassettes that we listened to for messages.
So, currently, I have about 550 books in my library and I have not started yet. Among all these books, there’s none of my “mentors” whose titles are not there. And this also includes the many books I have read in the past which are not currently part of my library. Bishop David Oyedepo once said, “If you’re not building a functional LIBRARY, then you’re building a functional MORTUARY”.
The thought is that you cannot say that someone is your mentor or teacher if you don’t cherish their words. There’s none of my fathers, mentors or teachers who is on social media today for instance that I don’t read, like or share their posts.
Their words are not SUGGESTIONS to me; they’re INSTRUCTIONS. At times in ministry, when you’re removed or separated from your “teachers”, adversity, affliction and CONFUSION especially will abound, but when you stay connected, then DIRECTION replaces CONFUSION.
Isaiah captures it like this:
ISAIAH 30:20: And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not THY TEACHERS be removed into a corner ANY MORE, BUT THINE EYES SHALL SEE THY TEACHERS:
After you become connected to your TEACHERS, Isaiah then said:
ISAIAH 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Glory to God! No more confusion and hardship in ministry, simply because you ALIGN with your TEACHERS and MENTORS. My goal in writing this is not to blow my trumpet – FAR FROM IT. It is to show, by the leading of the Spirit, a major secret that many of us may take for granted.
If care is not taken in life and ministry, SIMPLE THINGS CAN BECOME COMPLICATED if there’s no “information”. We see God replicating this pattern in Scriptures – words of mentors and teachers are laid in the hearts of their mentees.
For example, after Israel defeated Amalek in Exodus 17, God told Moses to document everything in A BOOK and rehearse it IN THE EARS OF JOSHUA.
EXODUS 17:14, And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in A Book, and rehearse it IN THE EARS OF JOSHUA: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
Little wonder Joshua was the one chosen to take over from Moses. He was of the same spirit as of Moses. He had read Moses’ books and listened to his messages such that God could not find any other candidate to replace Moses than him.
Now listen to this friend, when God told Joshua, THIS BOOK of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success – Josh 1:8, WHO WROTE THE BOOK that God was talking about? MOSES!
Therefore Joshua read books written by Moses, which tells us that he was not just following by mouth; he rather keyed into MENTORSHIP BY READERSHIP.
Also, in the New Testament, we understand that Timothy, who was Paul’s son and protegee in ministry, had access to the BOOKS and MATERIALS of Paul.
The Apostle Paul once told him:
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the BOOKS, but especially the PARCHMENTS. 2 TIMOTHY 4:13
Little wonder he had same mind and same spirit like that of Apostle Paul to the extent that when Paul wanted to send someone to the Philippian saints, he found no other person worthy but Timothy – Phil. 2:19-23.
Beloved, other examples abound in Scriptures but I have deliberately picked those two for want of space. Reading books by your mentors gives you direct access into their wealth of wisdom and you’re imparted with the same Grace upon them, and in no time, you start flying like them.
By the Grace of God, I have been reading Bishop David Oyedepo’s books since 2001 and I have been privileged of God to stand on the same platform that Papa has stood, to the Glory of God alone. I always encourage people, “DON’T JUST BUY BOOKS; BUY INTO BOOKS”.
One day, I heard Dr. Myles Munroe of blessed memory say that he had read Bishop Oyedepo’s book entitled, “SUCCESS SYSTEMS” over and over again and that really did something to my heart.
I’m not ashamed to be identified publicly with those that I follow in ministry – IT’S A MATTER BETWEEN ME AND THE LORD. Whether people like it or not, understand or misunderstand my motive, I just follow the path that God has chosen for me.
Why would you say that somebody is your mentor, teacher or father but you don’t read their books or make reference to them? You don’t even read, like or share their posts online. I mean that’s nothing but a cajolery. There must be a realignment friend!
I went to preach in a week-long Baptist Teenagers Camp Meeting in Lagos in August 2012, and after I ministered from Monday through Friday, I went to Bible Wonderland, Pen Cinema, Agege, to buy twenty-nine books, yet my wedding introduction was coming up in two weeks time.
Also, I was privileged of God to be invited to minister at a Youth Conference organized by Papa, Bishop Mike Bamidele, after I ministered, I got all his books that I saw that day. I didn’t go there to form tush as a guest minister but I went to learn and connect the Grace of the fathers.
That’s my lifestyle – I’M A BOOKWORM by God’s Grace. That’s how we were trained for ministry. Although we have not yet arrived, but we lean on His Grace every day to give our best shot to the call.
To me, any other life outside of MINISTRY is a MISERY, and any STEP AWAY from the MINISTRY is a STEP DOWN. INVEST in your calling so that you will not be INFECTED. Make your calling and election sure dear minister.
Read books and materials written by your mentors. Go for them. The answer you’re waiting for is in them. Make the right alignment and adjustment today and see Grace flow in your direction like never before.
I see you break forth like the dawn in Jesus’ Precious Name!