Pastor Sunday Adelaja is the founder of the Embassy of God Church in Ukraine, one of the biggest churches in Eastern Europe. Adelaja, in this interview, speaks on the many controversies dogging him, including the most recent one alleging he had sexual relationship with 20 women in Russia. Excerpts:
What would you say ignited sexual accusation leveled against you in Ukraine?
First of all, the media is making too much noise about it. I was said to have confessed to some people in Russia about having sexual relationship with 20 women but I have not been to Russia in the last 10 years. It’s part of a conspiracy by some former members of my church leadership who, after hearing that I was leaving for Africa, decided to take advantage of the vacuum to gain for themselves temporary benefits. This is nothing new really. In the Bible, Paul spoke of similar situation. He warned that when he departed from his congregation, the wolves will come in sheep’s clothing to take over. To attain that goal, they are ready to do anything.
How were you able to scale the controversy and the other ones you were enmeshed in?
Just being focused on what I have to do. Jesus said by their fruits you shall know them. I just keep on bearing fruits, kingdom fruits. Secondly, I don’t see controversy as a bad thing. I see it as a propeller of destiny. To me crisis is just a traffic light on the path of destiny. So if you really believe in God and your heart is pure, all things will work out for good at the end of the day. Just be focused on what you are called to do.
Did you ever think of becoming a pastor when you were growing up?
I didn’t. The first thinking I had was when I was 16years old, I attended a camp meeting in the Anglican Church, where I met a young man in his 30s who, after finishing his master’s degree in England, came back to Nigeria and became an Anglican priest. He was so charming and charismatic that I wanted to be like him. Soon after that, I forgot about it until I got saved at the age of 19. At the same age, while in Russia, I had an encounter with the Lord; that was when I got the confirmation that I am called to be a minister. But that did not happen until years later.
How do you compare worshiping here with worshipping in your base, Ukraine?
First of all, whenever I come to Nigeria, my mission is not to start a church. I come for national transformation. I am more interested in changing Nigeria than starting a church. I already have a thriving church in Ukraine. My greatest achievement in Ukraine is not that I was able to start the church, but that God was able to use me to impose kingdom values on the society. It could be that I will eventually have a church in Nigeria, but God has to speak to me specifically on that.
You spoke like you may ultimately have a church in Nigeria. What makes you believe such a church will be accepted here?
Like I said earlier, my focus is not to establish a church in Nigeria. Church is not my focus, the kingdom is my focus. That is the mandate of God for me; to teach the Nigerian churches how to practically apply kingdom principles in order to bring change and transformation to our society.
We have many pastors who have been accused of sacrilege in Nigeria. What is your view about them?
When people fail, sin or make mistakes in life, especially when they are pastors, you must first of all think of how to help them and restore them, rather than seeking to destroy them further. Jesus said they that are without sin should cast the first stone. But when we know that we are all fallible, we have to extend mercy to others rather than passing judgment. This does not just pertain to pastors or ministers, all men must be treated with some amount of understanding.