Fast rising Nigeria Gospel Minister John Kola-Idowu, recently had a chat with Zebra News, the ”Praise The Lord” crooner speaks on the state of churches in Nigeria , tithing, some of the challenges, he had to face after losing his mother at the age of six, and many others.
Can we meet you?
My name is Evangelist John Kola-idowu. Born in 1967 into the family of chief & mrs kola-idowu, my dad from Mojoda, Eredo local government, Lagos state, While my mom came from ijebu Igbo, so, am from both Lagos & Ijebu. My Parents lived in Ikire in Osun State, where he owned the first bookstore and also practicing as a dispenser and owned a clinic where a lot of babies where born and minor medical treatment were offered. He was given a chieftaincy title of ‘ Agbomola of Ikire land’ in 1993 and he was the president and later became the life patron of irewole medicine association. My early years were in Ikire. My dad was a stunt catholic, so, I grew up in a Christian home. Reading my Bible and going to church on Sundays was a routine and never a problem to us in our family. Though I was not a born-again Christian, I used go to church as a religion observation and also to make my dad happy. I lost my mom in 1973 at the young age of six. Growing up in a polygamous family without my mom, was very challenging, ‘mothers are the voice for their children in a polygamous homes’, so, the mother voice was missing in my life, the good news is that i survived those challenges to the glory of God. Jesus Christ became my mother’s voice in the midst of all the polygamous family challenges.
I attended Saint Bridges primary school, Mokola, Ibadan in 1980. ABE Technical School, Oriya Challenge, Ibadan in 1985. The Word of Faith Bible School, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos 1999. Birkbeck college, University of London Media Studies 2006. Birkbeck College, University of London. Foundation of Theology 2007. Birkbeck college, University of London, Journalism 2008 7⅞and other vocational studies, IT Training.. Strode college, UK, 2010 Radio Production, BBC London 2011. And many leadership Training from different Christian Organizations in Nigeria, United Kingdom and United States, among them is, Faith Christian Center Seekonk USA, Spiritual Authority 2014.
What was growing up like?
Well, my growing up filled with all manners of experiences, because I grew up in a polygamous home, my dad had 4 official wives, living in the same house, under the same roof, you can imagine an environment where each of the wives are into protection & defending game, the wives fighting for their children. Everything was fine for me, until 1973, when I lost my mom, I was just 6 years old, we’re 5 from my mom, my mom last born was 2 years old when she passed on.
When/how did you become born again?
Although I was born into a Christian family, where Christianity was a way of life, like a ritual, I became born again Christian in 1999 after I had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Talking about my salvation experience, it’s an on- going Spiritual experience, I had so many spiritual encounters, at different churches and at different times. I will just talk about how the journey began. In early 1999! I went to a Barber shop in Bariga, Shomolu local government, and the barber guy invited me to TREM, in Anthony Village to join a Bible Believers class, before then, I’ve been going through some spiritual challenges, during the Believers class, a flash light, flashed through my heart and radiated all over my body, then, I heard a clear voice saying to me ‘I love you, you’re my son, come to me’, all power and Authority belong to me’, At that point, joy filled my heart, peace that I could not explained came upon my soul, that very day I surrendered my life to God.
What would you say is different about being a Christian here in Nigeria and in USA for example?
Here in America, Christianity is more of a relationship than a religious thing, when a white man / woman decided to surrender their lives to God, it’s total, because they are not given up their lives because of their needs for material things, no, because their government is providing all that for them, while in Nigeria, our Christianity is based on many factors, majorly, survival, connection/ business. so, it’s difficult to know who’s actually serving God in truth and in the spirit. One out ten of Nigerians living in the south and southeast are either a Pastor, an Apostle, or a Minister of the Gospel, with that record, you will expect to see Great love of God being shared, but that was not so, instead of charity & selflessness, we have selfishness, self-centerdness, everything is more of self-Self-self, my family- my family- my family. Am not saying all Christians in Nigeria are not in a Relationship with God, Of course, there are many Americans that goes to church without knowledge of God. America has more unbelievers now than believers. So, we still have good Christians in Nigeria. Many people have said to me, when am I going to become a Pastor, and I always answer them that, why do I need to become a pastor when am already an Evangelist? Their response amazed me, pastors are more respected in Nigeria than evangelist Reinhard Bonnke is an evangelist and not Pastor, The Book of Ephesians 4:11-13 ..explained the 5 fold Ministry. Apostle said, in 1-Corinthians 7:20, let everyone stay in their calling. you can covert the gifts, but don’t become a bishop or pastor because of the title. Christianity in Nigeria is working more for the church leaders , than their followers.
How would you describe your music?
It’s an Afro hip hop
What are the challenges you are faced with as a gospel artist?
Challenges as a gospel artist? Number one is promotion, secular artists enjoy more promotions than Gospel artists, Secular artists are more generally acceptable and respected because of their fashion / genre of music, while Gospel artists are under the constant authority of The Word of God, and if you try to go beyond the scope of The Bible , you will be labeled as the devil’s child. Gospel artist are in between secular and gospel, you want your music to appeal or acceptable to the unbelievers and at the same time you want to maintained your Christian values/ audience
Do you think churches in Nigeria are practicing the gospel of truth that Jesus preached or its all about showmanship?
I think it’s both, just like in every religion, some are genuine while some are fake, Churches in Nigeria are trying but I think they can do more in the areas of charity. success in ministry can not be measured by the standard of this world, but will be judged by the standard of God. It’s not about accumulation of wealth, not by the no of private jets or no of branches. it’s by touching lives not just spiritually but also materially. The Book of James 2:15 says don’t just pray for your brother or sister, but do something about their physical needs. Thank God that The Bible is an open Book, and the copys are everywhere , you can even get one for free, gone are the days when only the priests have access to The Bible, today, we can all open and read The Word of God, so, if you’re a child of God but too lazy to open your bible and read, then you can easily become vulnerable or a victim in the hands of scriptural manipulators.
What impact would you like your songs to have in the lives of people?
Positive, godly, joyful impact, encouragement, re-assurance, hope to the hopeless
Is tithing compulsory in today’s world or voluntary?
Offering is general, it’s an acts of given either to your church or to someone in need,and there’s a rewards for that, while Tithing is personal, Tithing is a covenant between you and your God. You don’t have to be a Christian to give offering, but you must be a child of God to tithe. The only reason why we’re having this conversation on tithing is because of the abuse of grace that we have witnessed over the years in Nigeria. God is happy with our spiritual leaders in Nigeria, that’s why God is still using them to do great and wonderful things, but God is not happy with the way church finances are being managed or distributed Acts 4 : 32-35. The insultive and embarrassing messages from Daddy Freeze to our great church leaders in Nigeria is just a wakeup call, God can use anybody or anything to call His Servants to order. You remember Prophet Ballam, He was a greedy prophet, and God use his donkey to call him to order, God is not happy with the way tithes and offerings are been handled in Nigeria, that’s why we found ourselves in this position, The on- going debate on Tithing is a wake up call to all our church leaders. They don’t have to justify or defend anything, they should just go ahead and do the right thing, because the more they are trying to defend their actions the more their weaknesses is exposed.
How do you relax?
Listening to worship songs, swimming, being in a quiet environment, going on vacation
What inspires your music?
Passion for the love of God, am an Evangelist by calling, music is a powerful instrument when it comes to Evangelism, in order words, I see my music as a ministration, ministering to the body, souls and spirits of believers
What has been your experience in the industry so far?
Secular artists are getting more promotions than the Gospel Artists, though some churches are really doing great in this areas, but I think gospel artists needs more promotion from Christian organizations. So far, it’s been great and encouraging, positive responses
What are your take on the 2019 general election?
Election in Nigeria is complicated, Personally i like Sowore, we need a leader like him, but I don’t think we are ready for a leader like Sowore for now. Corruption is a fundamental issue in Nigeria, I think Buhari is trying his best, by fighting and exposing corruption in the system, even though he came into power through the Corrupt system. There are many problems facing Nigerians, focusing on corruption alone is not working for Buhari, our expectations was so high 3years ago, the challenges of Nigeria is smarter and faster than Buhari, that’s why Buhari appeared to be too slow for our likeness, but I think if given the 2nd chance we will see some real changes.
Where can your fans get your songs?
The single we are currently promoting ‘Praise The Lord’ is available on Itunes and can be downloaded for free on local music sites. The video is also availabe on VeVo and @jkigospel