According to Saint Augustine, miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. Pastor Joseph Odoba Sunday is the General Overseer of THE EMPOWERMENT HOUSE Worldwide. A ministry that reaches out to the hopeless, homeless, frustrated, downtrodden and misfit with the sole mission of bringing them back to the full purpose of God for their life.
In this interview the reverend man of God sheds light on his call to ministry, family and next phase of the church.
Tell me about yourself?
My name is Joseph Odoba Sunday. I was born into the family of six, four girls and two boys I happen to be the last. I hail from Agatu Local Government Area of Benue state.
My strength is total believe and trust in God’s word. I am a man with dual disposition. Some call me the pastor with style as a matter fact that was what I was known to be in school, why others call me the calm man.
My hobbies are reading, traveling and singing.
Wasimi Community High School Maryland Lagos; 2000 WARC,
University of Port-Harcourt, BSc Computer science. 2008
And other professional courses on industrial safety 2009
Most of my work experience was at the telecoms sector. Radial Circle Telecoms Elelewon Port-Harcourt (support Engineer) 2007, NYSC I worked at the office of the Governor of Osun State as a support engineer in their ICT department. 2009.
When, where and how did you get born again?
Prior to when I gave my life fully to Christ in July 22 1995, it was up and down, today I am born again tomorrow I will be down. But on the day I fully gave my life to Christ never to turn back my elder brother led me to Christ. Growing up my elder brother was my role model, I saw him saved, speaking in tongues and laying hands on people there was this fire in him that made me know something has changed in him. Don’t forget I said he was my role model, I had to follow suit he laid hands on me and I spoke in tongues I saw a new man in me.
Ordained at age 17, why, by whom and under which ministry?
Ordained at 17 years, yeah I think it was ordained by God, my native name is Odoba. When I asked my mum why I was given that name, she said she had three girls before my brother, and you know the way African men behaves, her marriage was already threatened, then she had another girl. When she took in with me, she said she made a covenant with God, that Lord if you can give me a male child, I will return him back to you and I came, as a matter of fact the very first time Pope John Paul came to Nigeria as people were rushing to go see him, my mum also joined the rush just to see him but she fell into labour. My other name is Pope (LOL) But my being ordained at age 17, please is not a standard ,as I said earlier, it was ordained by God.
Did you attend bible school prior to your ordination?
Well not school of theological studies, but I have attended several school of ministry.
Did you function as an assistant pastor or pastor of a branch, were you assigned an assistant pastor, and how large was the congregation you were pastoring?
Senior Pastor of the branch where I was ordained Rev Mrs. Cathy Gomez Balogun had a very busy schedule and was most time not available so I operated as the full time head pastor of that branch but I had two pastors working with me. We were close to 100, adult and children.
As a young pastor, how did the matured members react to you telling them what to do?
Of course, the human factor will always come to play, but no matter how old I was then, I was firm not letting members intimidate me because of my age.
Young, single and dashing how did you cope with the female attention?
I learnt this earlier, the 3F’s that can pull a man of God down
So I was very careful with the opposite sex.
How long did you serve in that ministry, why did you leave what was your next step, while in school, after school?
I served in the church for 2 years.
I left because I needed to go to school to get a degree to prepare myself for the future and ministry. While in school I was a student pastor on campus with Grace of God Mission. After school I served with Holy Spirit Mission Church as the resident pastor in Shasha Lagos.
What brought you to Ughelli?
My first time in Ughelli was when the mission sent me and some pastors to Ughelli on a mission visit. But my residing here was because I found a wife and after our marriage, we decided to stay here because there was no directive from the Holy Spirit to move elsewhere.
How did you meet your wife, how did you know she was the one?
I met my wife through her pastor, because then I was the youngest pastor at the head-quarter church without a wife. Apart from what I desire in a woman, there is this inner peace and assurance that this is my woman.
Seven years after, how is the home front?
Menhhh…Marriage is not for boys but for men.
What is the secret to a successful marriage?
To me the secret to a successful marriage is love and forgiveness.
You were born February 14 and got wedded February 14 what is the significance?
Born February 14th, married same day, well to me it was just our choice for our wedding to take place on that day.
February 14 is synonymous with love, what is love to you, should it be celebrated only on that day?
Well, love is everything and should not be celebrated only on February 14th, love is life, so it should be an everyday thing.
Call to full time ministry, when, where and how was your encounter?
Let me start by saying I do not really believe the term full time or part time ministry. The term full time ministry or otherwise was coined by men. You and I know when God call a man to serve him; He will not say my son come and serve me part time or full time.
I knew I was called since 1996 but the clarity came February 24th 2006 when I was waiting on the Lord and I fell into a deep trance. In that trance I saw a man, looking frustrated, dirty and poor. Next I saw his family members in a corner celebrating. He went to meet them but they rejected and chased him away from their mist. The next thing I saw was the man taking a dagger and wanting to kill himself and I was shouting at the top of my voice at his family members, to come quickly and help as your brother is about to commit suicide but nobody was moved to help! They didn’t care just kept partying then I woke up from that trance.
What is your divine assignment/vision/mandate?
And the spirit of the Lord said to me take a pen, the hopeless, frustrated people that have given up, misfit people are now your mission. Bringing them back to the full purpose of God for their life is my assignment.
What is unique about the name of the ministry?
Just as the name sound, THE EMPOWERMENT HOUSE. Our purpose is to Shape peoples life and empower them to go do exploit in the society.
What are some of the challenges you encountered in trying to start the ministry, did you ever think of quitting?
Starting up finance, location and language barrier (I could neither speak nor understand Urhobo) where some of the problems encountered while the major one was spiritual attack.
How were you able to handle them?
The only way I was able to handle them was I kept praying, pushing, pressing and gradually they were solved one after another.
Who were your earlier pastor’s influences?
Earlier pastors influence were late Arch Bishop Benson Idohosa, Bishop David Oyedepo, Rev Olumide Emmanuel, Pastor Paul Adefarasin, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, and Rev Sam Oye
Years after, what is the next phase of the ministry?
Years after, my next phase is the online church, whereby people can worship God, attend church meetings in their homes, office, kitchen, car where ever they are at the time without necessarily gathering in a building for worship.
How did your parents, relatives and friends react, as son of a military officer was there pressure on you to quit when you decided to toe the line of full time ministry?
Well for my mom, she was very happy, she was crying when I was ordained, the only thing she said was that I am a product of God. As for my dad, he started complaining after my NYSC when I started working in church.
Between your parents who would you say was more influential in shaping your life?
They both played their role, but right from when I was a little boy, I already had the fear of God.
What motivates you?
The word of God and other spiritual resources like books, tapes and men of God.
Which is your favourite sport?
That would be foot ball, but I am not a fanatic.
What motto do you live by?
The mottos I live by are fear God, stay humble, and never hurt your fellow man.
When you dress which image do you project, how would you describe your personal style?
Hmmnh…I am a very controversial person; I hate people defining me just by seeing me. So at times I dress the way you think Nigerian pastor shouldn’t. I add style to my dressing in order to attract people maybe I can win a soul by so doing.
What is one fashion item, you cannot do without?
One fashion item I can’t do without, hmm jeans and T-shirt. I love being casual.