Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Pastor Paul Adefarasin as self-acclaimed billionaire By Mfonobong Nsehe (BBC WRITER) Two weeks ago, I posted a story about the five richest Nigerian pastors . The piece has since attracted considerable attention in Nigerian and foreign media, for reasons not entirely clear to me. Still, I thought it was just about over until I received word from several friends on Sunday that one of Nigeria's most erudite pastors, Paul Adefarasin, was mildly upset that he didn't make my little list and that he took his grievance to the church. Pastor Adefarasin is the founder and lead pastor of the House on the Rock Church, a thriving Pentecostal outfit that emphasizes financial prosperity almost as if it were a requisite for salvation. He is one of Nigeria's most elegant men, famed for his bespoke Italian-cut suits, flashy automobiles, shiny head and his deep baritone enmeshed in a delightful American accent. Pastor Adefarasin is "rich", and he set out to prove his point to his church members at the 5-Star Eko Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos where he held this Sunday's service. "I am a billionaire and there is nothing anybody can do about it," he boasted. "I have coached many billionaires and you know, the pastor of billionaires is a billionaire." "The preacher of a billionaire can only be a billionaire because a monkey cannot give birth to a goat and a goat cannot follow a baboon." "I am a preacher. I am a motivational speaker. I am a TV personality. I am a life coach. You can criticize me or slander me in the pages of newspapers but the blessings are in me and there is nothing anyone can do about it," he bragged. As a 'billionaire', he went ahead to give tips to his vast congregation who apparently are all dreaming of becoming billionaires. "To become a billionaire, Christians must simply imagine it, ask and realize that money, blessing and favour are already in them. All they need is to 'work out' what 'God has already worked in.' " "Some of you do not see that you are already billionaires but there is a difference between to create and to unveil. God will simply unveil your billions to you as he did to me," he said to his multi-thousand congregation. I haven't yet confirmed Pastor Adefarasin's billions, but I'm certain his 'billions' are in Heaven currency, which unfortunately, is not legal tender here on Earth. Still, he has plenty of real-life money. While he didn't make my recent list of top five wealthiest pastors, I reckon he's worth at least $1 million. Pastor Adefarasin is one of Nigeria's most respected preachers, and a renowned Televangelist. His church, the House on the Rock has grown phenomenally over the years, and is the preferred worship center for some of Nigeria's most successful people. Former Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola apparently worships at the church occasionally, along with several successful middle-class professionals and corporate executives. (Imagine all those beautiful offerings and Tithes!) But Pastor Adefarasin is also a change maker. He is the founder of the Rock Foundation, a Christian charity that services and tries to rehabilitate prostitutes, social miscreants, ex convicts and drug addicts.