Biography of Pastor W.F Kumuyi
Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi was born in 1941, in Nigeria’s Western Region, Erin Ijesa, Osun State, into a 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, after graduating from high school, 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 at the age of 23.
Pastor Kumuyi was a usual reader of John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Charles Spurgeon’s books among others. He got involved with the Scripture Union (SU), and he grew spiritually. His 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, currently has over one million members in more than sixty countries around the world. It 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.
During his postgraduate days at the University of Lagos, some people who knew Pastor Kumuyi as a member of the Scripture Union (SU) approached him (even at odd hours) to ask questions about the Bible and Christian living. Soon, Pastor Kumuyi 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.
In no time, the flat could no longer hold the Bible Study participants, so they moved outside and occupied the front of the building. More people came and the Bible Study Group grew so much that they had to find a better place outside the university campus in 1976. AT the time, the group was non-denominational and people came from various churches to study with Lecturer Kumuyi, as Pastor Kumuyi was called at that time.
Soon again, the Bible Study Group membership went over 1,500. This exponential growth, and the need to encourage believers in Jesus Christ to live the deeper Christian life enjoined by the Bible, led to the transformation of the Bible Study Group into the Deeper Life Bible Church in 1983. Even with the formation of the Church, the leaders of the erstwhile Bible Study Group still retained the Deeper Christian Life Ministry as the larger umbrella body which allowed them to minister to others outside the Deeper Life Bible Church.
In 1973, while serving as Math Lecturer at The University of Lagos, W.F. Kumuyi started a Bible study group with 15 university students who had come to him requesting training in the Scriptures. By the early 1980’s that small group had grown to several thousand, at which time Deeper Life Bible Church was formally established.
By 1988 the congregation had grown to 50,000, and now numbers 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 500 churches in Lagos, 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.
Journalist Alan Isaacson provides a helpful study of this phenomenal ministry in his book Deeper Life, talking with many members of the church who told him how Christ has miraculously intervened and changed lives in response to prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel.
In Pastor Kumuyi’s own words: “God, in the growth of Deeper Life Bible Church, has strategically and prudently used miracles to make all men come to Him’ (John 3:26). We take Christian living and holiness seriously.”
According to Isaacson, 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 struggled to understand and apply them. As he shares that struggle and his 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 Christian life developed because he took the Bible so seriously, and so the Deeper Christian Life Ministry has developed in the same way. He “preached Deeper Life into existence with captivating yet straightforward sermons which are 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.
His sermons also dealt sensitively with African culture, but also made a firm stand in highlighting the points where local culture was incompatible with the will of God. While stressing the high moral tone which is one of the virtues of most African cultures at their best, he was at pains to specify those aspects of local culture which were unchristian and even evil.
In this way he was not only concerned with some kind of personal holiness, but also genuinely seeking the wholeness and harmony of the community at large, where truth, honesty, and justice should be the predominant characteristics.
Pastor Kumuyi is 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 is remarkably humble. 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.
W.F. Kumuyi was born in 1941 into an Anglican home. It was a very strict Christian home. From Professor to Preacher!
He gained a first-class degree in Mathematics at the University of Ibadan; then went back to Mayflower School to teach. After five years he went to the University of Lagos to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and became a lecturer there in 1973; and that was when he started a small Deeper Life Bible Study group.
As General Superintendent, W. F. Kumuyi said: “Our emphasis should be on the practical side of going out. If the Lord comes, let him meet us working for him. Now every time I preach I try to mention evangelism. I have told all the Lagos District Coordinators and Zonal Leaders to spend half their time on evangelism and only half their time on their members. There will always be problems in the church: don’t let them take up all your time”.
Concluding his book, Isaacson writes, “And, of course, Deeper Life are self-governing. Kumuyi is the founder & General Superintendent, and he carries a tremendous weight in pastoring the Gbagada (Lagos) church alone, quite apart from the (now thousands) of other congregations across Nigeria and the rest of the world. He is a remarkable leader, one of God’s people for this generation. Kumuyi has received a great deal from God, but he is adept at passing along what he receives. My feeling is that what God has given his people through Kumuyi will be kept and developed long after Kumuyi is gone. This has been God’s work, and to Him be the glory.”
As an exceptional author, Pasor Kumuyi’s published books include:
- The Hour of Decision, 1990
- How to Know God’s Will in Marriage, 1990
- Have Compassion on Them, 1991
- The Spirit Controlled Family: W.F. Kumuyi, 1996
- The Lord’s Prayer, 1997
- The Truly Liberated Woman, 2000
- Supernatural Supply in All Situations, 2009
- Daily Manna, Volume 1, 2011
- Daily Manna: A Daily Devotional Guide, 2014
- Higher Everyday: A Daily Devotional Guide for Successful Youths, 2014
Pastor Kumuyi met with his first wife, Abiodun Olowu in September 1972. She became one of his Bible study students and a member of his fledging Christian ministry. They got married on 13 September 1980 in Lagos, and she birthed two children, Jeremiah and John.
Sadly, his wife died on 11th April 2009. On 13 October 2010, exactly 18 months after the death of his first wife, Pastor Kumuyi married Folasade Adenike Blaize in London. At the time, she was the Administrator of the Deeper Life Bible Church, London.
In 2013, the Foreign Policy magazine listed Kumuyi among the “500 most powerful people on the planet”. In 2018, Pastor Kumuyi also received an honorary PhD from the University of Abuja.