Anyone that is interested in acquiring leadership and management skills is probably familiar with the teachings of Pastor Sam Adeyemi, the founder of Daystar Christian Centre in Lagos.
The Kogi State-born preacher, who has become a successful motivational speaker and writer, owes the success of his ministry and vision to his lovely wife, Pastor (Mrs.) Nike who runs the Real Women Foundation, a motivational and healing ministry for women.
The Church, it its headquarters in Lagos, was founded in 1995 at the Eko Chinese Restaurant with a couple of pioneer members. Today, the congregation boasts of over 40,000 members.
The maxim that behind every successful man there is a woman comes into play in the union of Pastors Sam and Nike as he publicly acknowledges how his wife molded him in a lot of ways, beginning with his dressing.
The couple met about 22 years ago; before Daystar Christian Centre was planted and it was definitely not love at first sight. Nike would recall that she wondered how someone could be so skinny.
Nike had just started attending the church and became a worker while Sam was already a Pastor.
“I really did not have much feelings for him, but as time went on I heard God tell me that he was the man for me,” she revealed.
One day, she introduced herself to him telling him that she liked her pastors to know her. Several months later, Pastor Sam and an Assistant Pastor exchanged pleasantries with her after service one Sunday, and after sometime went on to visit her, where he used the opportunity to view her family album.
The story of the birth of Daystar Christian Centre is incomplete without the two lovebirds because everything about the church was done in unison.
Even the name ‘Daystar’ was jointly chosen. “2 Peter 1:19 says that Jesus is the Daystar and that was how my husband and I agreed on the name,” Nike revealed.
“I can still remember clearly, I felt like my ministry was stagnated and things were not moving for me. So I decided to pray. I remember that day in April 1994, my wife and I went to Lekki beach, fasting and to pray. I was praying, asking God about the next level; where do I go from here?” God spoke to me and asked me to continue with the prayer and fasting. After days, He said I should stop the fasting but go ahead with the prayer and I obeyed. Sometime in July that year, the Lord spoke to me clearly one morning that He was going to take me to the next level of ministry to teach Biblical success principles. He said I would not be able to do the things He wanted me to do in my former pastorate, because He was asking me to teach success on radio, television, tapes, publications and seminars. In addition, I was to establish a church that would help people discover and release their potentials. I got the vision for Success Power International and Daystar Christian Centre on the same day. I remember I called a group of people, just a few friends and shared the vision with them,” Pastor Sam said.
The Church aspect started after the radio programmes, but it wasn’t always as rosy as it is now. “On November 18, 1995, Daystar Christian Centre was inaugurated. The inauguration was an interesting period in that we didn’t have the required resources and we could not afford the type of accommodation we were getting. Hotels, banquet halls or some duplexes were between N200, 000 and N250, 000 per annum and they wanted us to pay two years rent. Eventually, the inauguration was held at Eko Chinese Restaurant on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, on the fourth floor.
“Interestingly, I was carrying along my radio audience, telling them about the transition of my life. We had quite a large crowd that day. Long after that, it became a bit tough to pay the bills. I was on radio, paying N7, 000 every week for the 15 minutes broadcast and then we were paying N13, 000 per week for the use of the restaurant. Then, the radio station doubled the rate for the broadcast and we couldn’t cope. We took broadcast off Raypower to OGBC2. We needed some breathing space, so we could keep on the church. However, we couldn’t afford to pay for the restaurant too, regularly. I remember clearly the day I got to church in the morning and met my workers outside. They told me they were not allowed into the hall. I went in and spoke to the manager, who was playing games with his friends in the hall we were supposed to use for our service. I told him to let us run the service and pay him afterwards with the offerings, but he declined.
Eventually, we reached a compromise. Our service was between 9 and 11am, but he said he would take his money at 10am. I felt once we had started the service, he won’t be able to stop us. Ten minutes to 10am, an usher came with a message that a man was threatening to shut down the generating set. Rather than take offerings at the end of the service, I took over and took the offerings and quickly paid him. After three months, we knew we had to move,” Pastor Sam recalled.
They then moved to Coker Village, Alausa, which was mistaken for the one in Iganmu area of Lagos. People were often taken to the wrong location. Pastor Sam remembered that the Church was in a dirty environment and people they shared the building with would sometimes disturb their service by playing loud music.
“I dreamt one Saturday morning that we moved to a new location. I saw us dedicating a building. I saw Bishop Oyedepo and his wife planting a tree in the place. It had fresh leaves and while he pronounced blessings, I saw people rush to that location. There was a large crowd within a few minutes and then we were through with the occasion. When I woke up, I knew it was a vision from God. I asked God ‘how do we turn this into reality?’ He asked for three weeks of prayer and fasting. We obeyed! Few days before the end of the fast, we saw ‘To Let’ on a warehouse on 71, Oregun Road (now Kudirat Abiola Way). That was how we got our present church office,” he said.
Today, the ministry is worth over N2billion! Most people refer to Daystar as a ‘Prosperity’ Church. However, the ministry was directed by God, the Adeyemis insist. “We had started the Church and for three to four years it looked like the Church was not growing. The Holy Spirit told me that if I helped the people solve problems in their lives, the Church would grow. I thought to myself and realised that after sin, the biggest problem of people is money. All I had taught until then was giving,” Pastor Sam said.
One revelation of economic insights from the Bible concerning money was from 2 Kings 4; that there is always something in an individual’s hand that God could use to cause him or her to prosper.
“One of the most powerful revelations Pastor Sam had received which transformed the congregation was on saving. When you have savings, you’re not just starting from zero level. You have some form of confidence to go out and do what you want to do. This was so important because at the time, many didn’t have savings,” she admitted.
Pastor Nike studied Architecture earning an M.Sc from the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, and MBA from Business Studies Netherlands. She further trained in Strategic Perspective for Non-Profit Management at Harvard Business School. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Researchers and Administrators of Nigeria, a member of the Nigerian Institute of Social Workers among others.
Like her husband, she is an author, seminar facilitator and television host with her programme, ‘Real Woman with Nike’. She is also an international conference speaker and has been privileged to minister within and outside Nigeria. She is also visible in the Daystar Leadership Academy, a leadership development centre to empower youths and help them in maximizing their potentials. She is one of the key facilitators at the school handling ‘Family Success’ and other course modules.
Pastor Nike also pioneered the Pneuma Publishing Limited, an information resource management company duly registered by the ministry in 1995 under the Corporate Acts Commission of Nigeria. The business was established just for the passion for books and information. She started by selling local and foreign books that had aided her growth and development while growing up. This, she did, within the living room, through encouragement from her husband, who later wrote the book, Start With What You Have. Then a shop was acquired simultaneously as Sam Adeyemi’s published books and audio messages which later became best sellers. Pneuma Publishing House became the sole publisher of Adeyemi’s books which rakes in a monthly income of N10 million.
Pastor Nike also runs a motherless babies home (Love Home orphanage) where she takes care of abandoned children and the less privileged, taking them off the streets and giving them food, clothing and shelter.