STUDY 52: W.F. KUMUYI
William Folorunso Kumuyi was born on June 6, 1941 into a Christian family in Erin-Ijesha, Osun State, Nigeria. He was born into an Anglican family that knew the Bible was very important as the word of God; they would rise up early in the morning to sing hymns, read the Bible, and pray. However, it was not until he left home to attend high school in another part of the region that young W.F. Kumuyi got an experiential knowledge of who Jesus Christ was, and what radical changes He could effect in lives surrendered to His lordship.
While teaching mathematics at his alma mater in 1962, after graduating from high school in 1961, Pastor Kumuyi was introduced to the Apostolic Faith Church. He heard the Gospel, and believed the word of God on righteousness, temperance, judgment to come, and salvation from sin: Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi became born again on Sunday, April 5, 1964.
In his early Christian days, as he still does many good writers, Pastor Kumuyi read John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Charles Spurgeon, among others. He got involved with the Scripture Union (SU), and he grew spiritually.
Formal education for Pastor William Kumuyi started in his home town; he went on to attend Mayflower School in Ikenne, near Ijebu-ode, whence he graduated with a high school diploma in 1961. After teaching at his alma mater for a brief period, Pastor Kumuyi gained admission to study mathematics at Nigeria’s premier institution of higher education, the University of Ibadan, obtaining a first class degree in 1967.
Pastor Kumuyi went back to teaching mathematics at Mayflower School, Ikenne, before going for a postgraduate course in education at the University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria. On the completion of his postgraduate study program, Pastor Kumuyi became a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1973.
The Deeper Christian Life Ministry along with its church arm, the Deeper Life Bible Church, which now has over one million members in more than sixty countries around the world, started as a fifteen-member Bible Study group in Pastor William Kumuyi’s official quarters (Flat 2) at the University of Lagos in August, 1973.
While doing his postgraduate work at the University of Lagos, some people who knew Pastor Kumuyi as a member of the Scripture Union (SU) would approach him to ask questions about the Bible and Christian living. Some of these enquirers would come at odd hours, so the Pastor felt it was better they gather as a group to study the Bible, on Monday evenings in his apartment, instead of spending so much time dealing with them as individuals.
Soon enough, the time came when Flat 2 could no longer hold the Bible Study participants, so they spilled outside and occupied the front of the building. In due course, as more people came and the Bible Study Group grew, it became necessary in 1976 to find a more commodious place outside of the university campus. Because the Group was non-denominational, people were happy to come from various churches to study with Lecturer Kumuyi, as the Pastor was still called at that time. Soon, the Bible Study Group membership went over 1,500.
By 1988 the congregation had grown to 50,000, and now numbers over 120,000 members, making it the third largest Christian church in the world. Dr. Johan Combrinck reports that the Deeper Life Bible Church not only has an attendance of 120,000 every Sunday, but has planted more than 500 churches in Lagos, and over 5,000 in the rest of Nigeria (with an independent estimate of more than 800,000 members in Nigeria alone), and 3,000 elsewhere (with missionaries to 40 countries of Africa) as the movement missionary contribution.
“The history of Deeper Life is very much the personal story of W.F. Kumuyi. He is a gifted man, clear-thinking and humble. He is a dedicated Christian and deserves the title ‘the man of God,' which his followers have given him. Since he was a young man, Kumuyi has devoted his time to reading and studying the Bible. He knows the Scriptures inside out, and has deep love for the word of God, so people have been drawn to him for advice, or simply to listen. When he preaches, his message is clear, simple, and profound. Poor street traders who can barely read sit next to university professors, all equally captivated by the way Scripture becomes suddenly relevant to them.
Pastor Kumuyi's own Christian life developed because he took the Bible so seriously, and so the Deeper Christian Life Ministry has developed in the same way.
His sermons were captivating. In fact, "I would classify him as one of the greatest living preachers, giving a straightforward Bible-based message, his sermons thorough, and always personally challenging. He always gave a wide range of cross-references which were read in their context, supporting, clarifying and expanding his main points. He spoke clearly and authoritatively to the Nigerian situation.
A Man With a Great Heart For God!
He is not tall, and does not have a larger-than-life character. He does not dominate, nor has he accrued power to himself. He walks slowly, is relaxed, and has a gentle sense of humour with a warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He dresses simply, eats simply… and… could have assumed titles to himself. As the Deeper Christian Life Ministry developed - most people enjoy the trappings and regalia of status which followers gladly give. But he calls his followers brothers and sisters, and treats them as colleagues.
Kumuyi had deep passion for Evangelism and Soul winning. Despite his age, he still travelled across each state in Nigeria and even outside Nigeria on a regular basis preaching the word of God. One of His secret weapons is prayer. Despite his age, Kumuyi still spent most of his lonely hours in the night interceding for His hearers and members of his church. Kumuyi remarried in October 2010 in London about 18 months after the death of his first wife.