General Overseer, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr Daniel Olukoya, tells SIMON UTEBOR and ALEXANDER OKERE about his humble beginning, what he thinks about the tithing debate and Nigerians’ religiosity amid endemic corruption in the country
You recently spoke about how God gave you the vision to start Mountain of Fire Miracles Ministries in a one-bedroomed apartment. What was your initial reaction to such a dream considering your state at that time?
Truly, the vision came precisely in 1977, when I was a student in the University of Lagos. My reaction to the dream was one of surprise, joy and acceptance. That was because, though an undergraduate, I had already developed an intimate relationship with God and was deeply involved in His work.
In most cases, God does not give a complete picture when He calls a man. He provides the details of His assignment in easily absorbable stages. God, who sees the end from the beginning, knows that releasing the entire picture may seem illogical and scary to the new insider. He takes you on the journey step by step in small ‘doses’, walking all the way with you. We never knew that MFM Ministries would experience this reverberating explosion and become the global brand it is today.
I was at an embassy some years ago and an official of the embassy asked me, “Dr Olukoya, did you ever think that the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries would become a huge ministry with a global presence like this?” My response was, “It was never in my wildest imagination. What has happened so far is completely to the glory of God, who gave the vision and has been piloting it from glory to greater glory continuously.” This would explain to you that it is the work of God and not man.
The dream took 12 years before it was kick-started when you founded the church. Why did it take so long?
God is an epitome of excellence. That is why when He calls, He leaves room to prepare and equip His vessel so that they will carry out the assignment excellently. Apostle Paul spent 14 years in the desert of Arabia after he received a revelation on the way to Damascus, getting prepared and equipped for a ministry whose positive and redefining impact is still being felt today.
Although I did not struggle with the heavenly vision, my human mind was in action in the world of time, space and society as it interfaced with the divine mandate gestating within a calling. This divine errand erupts into definite manifestations at particular intersections of the temporal and the eternal. Thus, I journeyed from the academic world to ministry, assuming my current identity when the time was ripe.
Within this context of the dealings of God with a human being, I was constantly involved in measuring the present against the future, and my academic and career development against my spiritual calling.
As a result of these developmental trajectories, the vision of MFM Ministries was birthed in 1989, 12 years after it was given. Even at that juncture, I did not start until I was given a specific go-ahead. God is a masterplanner and He believes in preparation. As it is said, “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
When MFM Ministries started in 1989, I was already a researcher and molecular geneticist, working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos. As a researcher, I was widely travelled and already had over 70 publications in scientific journals. It was in the middle of this promising and fulfilling career that God instructed me to start MFM Ministries, the vision He gave to me 12 years earlier.
However, when MFM started, I was still in service and remained in service, pursuing my career until 1998, when I retired to face the work of God fully and give my utmost to the Highest.