Pastor Shola Adedeji, singer, gospel artiste, minister of the word, also runs a non-profit organization in the United States. Adedeji, in this interview with Tunde Oso, says humanitarian service by religious leaders to the mass of the people should supersede personal comforts like private jets. Excerpts:
What motivated you to go into the ministry?
I’ll say you know sometimes, there’s a purpose God has destined us for. I believe there is a calling upon my life. It’s not something I just woke up one day and I said I want to go into the ministry. When God wants to instil something into your life, you just see that all things you do are things of God. You want to be in His presence. You want to help other people especially with the music ministry. God keeps giving me songs, ideas keep coming. So, I now went before God in prayer and received like my confirmation or conviction that God really wants me to go here and propagate his word around the world. These are what motivated me that gave me that boldness and strength I’m using today.
How often do you travel from Nigeria to other African countries and Europe?
For now, I’ve been going to African part of the world like Nigeria, South Africa at least may be 5 to 6 times a year. I travel on ministerial assignment. I also have a women’s ministry. It is called Women of Virtue International. We have our headquarters in New Jersey whereby we empower women, we motivate them and we do like transformational programmes that will transform them their lives for women to discover themselves. How can they know who they are even after getting married, having children? What are the things they can do to be who the Lord destines them to be, so I travel a lot for this programme.
In the humanitarian service, what calibre of people do you assist?
With the humanitarian service, we’ve been empowering widows, old people or we call them senior citizens. Even, in the United States, I’m the director that facilitates our food pantry, whereby we give our food to the community. We give food, we give clothes, and we also give out school supplies to kids. In Nigeria, we’ve been having a lot of empowerment programmes for the youths, the younger ones and also for the elderly. We have a situation that a lot of people that came for the empowerment programs are teachers, and we discovered that can also do something else apart from teaching. So, we empower them into even decoration, how to become a MC (master of ceremony) at programmes, how to make soaps and other things like that. We actually have different programmes for different genders. For example, men: we went to the grassroots, somewhere in Ibadan, gathered the men, who needed bikes, like okada, to be able to support their families. Even though, we didn’t buy a whole okada for them but we were able to support them a little bit so that they can hire-purchase the okada and from there continue to pay.
Some people say with pervasive poverty in the country, preachers should not prioritise acquisition of private jets, what’s your view?
That’s a tough question. But to me as a servant of God and as a preacher, the first thing we need to think about when God blesses you is that He wants you to bless others. The people around you, are they comfortable enough before you decided to go and buy a jet? I don’t have any problem honestly speaking if a preacher has a private jet. But with the situation of things going on around the world today, what is the purpose of having a jet when the mass of the people around you are in abject poverty? The Bible says we should go into the world to preach, it doesn’t say if you don’t have a jet you cannot preach the gospel. To me, if God blesses me the first thing I want to do instead of buying a jet is to make sure that the people that God has placed under me are comfortable. So, it’s not about acquiring a jet as long as I can get to where I’m going comfortably through other means. We need to help other people. There was an instance I heard on the internet that a well-known preacher said that he was able to acquire three jets or whatever during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and was boastful about it. I don’t think that’s good. If you have a jet you should not be boastful about it and you have to make sure that the people around you are comfortable. I think that is the most important thing. Our concern too should be on providing succour and humanitarian service to the mass of the underprivileged people we minister the word of God to.
How do you balance your music ministry with other responsibilities?
For a very long time, it has been a little bit difficult. I’m not gonna lie to you because of family, church, raising kids, taking care of things. But, by the grace of God, I just continue to ask God for wisdom and for direction. And what I do is to make sure that my family is okay. I make sure they are comfortable before taking any steps so that I will have to make sure of taking care of my responsibilities. So, first it is my primary responsibility before going out to take care of other people’s problems so I try as much as I can to work things around my family schedule to make sure that we are all in good terms and conditions before embarking on any project.
What distinguishes your music?
I believe that my music is unique because God has given everybody a unique gift or unique grace. When I’m ministering in songs, the atmosphere changes, the spiritual gift and the presence of God come down. It is not about the singing, but it is about the power that backs up the song. It is about the power of God that is behind that ministration and that is what makes it to be unique and different. And, it’s just the grace of God. The Bible makes us to understand that that the gift of a man maketh room for that man. So, it’s the gift, the power of God, the spiritual gift, the presence of God that comes down and all these change the atmosphere and that’s what makes it unique I believe.
Do you have a music album coming up soon?
Yes, it’s called Dawn of New Glory.
How did you come up with the idea?
Thank you. I’m going to thank God in the life of our mummy, Mummy Tope Alabi. Because when we composed the song, it was New Glory but by the inspiration of God when we came into the studio, she was like why don’t you go this way? Why don’t you sing the song this way? So, God used her to change some of the lyrics and that was how we came up with it. Though, we had New Glory before, so it eventually came out as New Dawn of Glory.
How do you think gospel songs can inspire people?
Because gospel song I believe is not like a secular song. So, as a gospel artiste, I have to continue to ask God from the grace to be unique. So, when you are unique, your song comes from God. So, it is the inspiration you receive from God that will help you to be able to touch lives of your fans because it is not just singing. It is not just about the song, but it is about the power of God behind your ministration. I believe as gospel artistes, we have to continue to ask God everyday for the strength for the enablement that we need because there is no other way to it. The anointing doesn’t come from the East nor from the West but it comes from God Almighty. When the backing of God is with you, then God will begin to move because the most important thing is when your audience and fans listen to your song, and it brings a change in their lives, that’s what make the difference. This is what makes the song to be different from any other song. Unfortunately, things have already changed now because of what is going on around the world. But, I believe that when we continue to ask God for divine inspiration, for the Rhema, I believe the believers’ lives will continue to change. That is what matters most.