SUPERINTENDENT, Deeper Christian Life Ministry worldwide
In 1973, while
serving as Math Lecturer at The University of Lagos, W.F.
Kumuyi started a Bible study group with 15 university
students who had come to him requesting training in the
Scriptures. By the early 1980’s that small group had grown to
several thousand, at which time Deeper Life Bible Church was
By 1988 the congregation had grown to 50,000, and now numbers
120,000 members, making it the third largest Christian church
in the world. Dr. Johan Combrinck reports that the Deeper Life
Bible Church not only has an attendance of 120,000 every
Sunday, but has planted 500 churches in Lagos, 5,000 in the
rest of Nigeria (with an independent estimate of more than
800,000 members in Nigeria alone), and 3,000 elsewhere (with
missionaries to 40 countries of Africa) as the movement
missionary contribution. (Source: AFNET).
Dr. C. Peter Wagner, in an article titled 'Those Amazing
Post-Denominational Churches' wrote: "By far, the most rapidly
growing segment of Christianity on all six continents is a
type of church that does not fit traditional categories or
classifications. Missiologists have recognized its presence
for some time, but it is such a recent phenomenon that they
have not yet agreed on a name for it. Perhaps one title that
would fit is the term 'post-denominational."
"Go to almost any metropolitan area and ask to visit the
largest Christian Church. Chances are it will be one of these
new post-denominational churches'. In Lagos, Nigeria, it would
be the Deeper Life Bible Church, pastored by William Kumuyi.
On a recent Sunday I saw 74,000 adults worshipping together,
with 40,000 children meeting in a separate building across the
street." (Apostolic Team Ministries, Intl., Newsletter 09).
How Did It Happen?
Journalist Alan Isaacson provides a helpful study of this
phenomenal ministry in his book Deeper Life, talking with many
members of the church who told him how Christ has miraculously
intervened and changed lives in response to prayer and the
proclamation of the Gospel. In Pastor Kumuyi's own words:
"God, in the growth of Deeper Life Bible Church, has
strategically and prudently used miracles to ‘make all men
come to Him' (John 3:26). We take Christian living and
According to Isaacson, “The history of Deeper Life is very
much the personal story of W.F. Kumuyi. He is a gifted man,
clear-thinking and humble. He is a dedicated Christian and
deserves the title ‘the man of God,' which his followers have
given him. Since he was a young man, Kumuyi has devoted his
time to reading and studying the Bible. He knows the
Scriptures inside out, and has struggled to understand and
apply them. As he shares that struggle and his love for the
word of God, so people have been drawn to him for advice, or
simply to listen. When he preaches, his message is clear,
simple, and profound. Poor street traders who can barely read
sit next to university professors, all equally captivated by
the way Scripture becomes suddenly relevant to them.
Pastor Kumuyi's own Christian life developed because he took
the Bible so seriously, and so the Deeper Christian Life
Ministry has developed in the same way. In Alan Isaacson's own
words, he "preached Deeper Life into existence." His
sermons were captivating, wrote Isaacson, "I would classify
him as one of the greatest living preachers, giving a
straightforward Bible-based message, his sermons thorough, and
always personally challenging. He always gave a wide range of
cross-references, which were read in their context,
supporting, clarifying and expanding his main points. He spoke
clearly and authoritatively to the Nigerian situation. He
dealt sensitively with African culture, but also made a firm
stand in highlighting the points where local culture was
incompatible with the will of God. While stressing the high
moral tone, which is one of the virtues of most African
cultures at their best, he was at pains to specify those
aspects of local culture which were unchristian and even evil.
In this way he was not only concerned with some kind of
personal holiness, but also genuinely seeking the wholeness
and harmony of the community at large, where truth, honesty,
and justice should be the predominant characteristics.
A Man With a Great Heart For God!
He is not tall, and does not have a larger-than-life
character. He does not dominate, nor has he accrued power to
himself. He walks slowly, is relaxed, and has a gentle sense
of humour with a warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He
dresses simply, eats simply... and could have assumed titles
to himself. As the Deeper Christian Life Ministry developed -
most people enjoy the trappings and regalia of status, which
followers gladly give. But he calls his follower’s brothers
and sisters, and treats them as colleagues.
W.F. Kumuyi was born in 1941 into an Anglican home. It was a
very strict Christian home, he told Isaacson, and “We would
get up in the morning, read the Bible, sing hymns, and go to
church regularly When I went to secondary school I lost
interest in the church because our principal taught us
atheism. But after a while I thought again and started going
to various churches in town. Eventually, in 1963, a group of
singers and preachers from a Gospel church got permission to
come to the school. I understood the Gospel message, and was
born again on April 5th, 1964. I read John Wesley, Charles
Finney, Spurgeon, and lots of other books. I got involved with
the Scripture Union, and I grew."
From Professor to Preacher!
He gained a first-class degree in Mathematics at the
University of Ibadan; then went back to Mayflower School to
teach. After five years he went to the University of Lagos to
do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and became a
lecturer there in 1973; and that was when he started a small
Deeper Life Bible Study group.
In speaking to a group of Pastors under his leadership
as General Superintendent, W. F. Kumuyi said: "Our emphasis
should be on the practical side of going out. If the Lord
comes, let him meet us working for him. Now every time I
preach I try to mention evangelism. I have told all the Lagos
District Coordinators and Zonal Leaders to spend half their
time on evangelism and only half their time on their members.
There will always be problems in the church: don't let them
take up all your time".
Concluding his book, Isaacson writes, "And, of course, Deeper
Life are self-governing. Kumuyi is the founder & General
Superintendent, and he carries a tremendous weight in
pastoring the Gbagada (Lagos) church alone, quite apart from
the (now thousands) of other congregations across Nigeria and
the rest of the world. He is a remarkable leader, one of God's
people for this generation. Kumuyi has received a great deal
from God, but he is adept at passing along what he receives.
My feeling is that what God has given his people
through Kumuyi will be kept and developed long after Kumuyi is
gone. This has been God's work, and to Him be the glory."