Gone are the days when church rats were poor and pastors had to wait to get to heaven before they could get their rewards. These days, pastors are doing so well for themselves and a lot of people are actually being encouraged to become pastors themselves — if only to enjoy the luxury and comfort that being a pastor brings.
A major contributor to the exponentially increasing wealth of Nigerian Pastors is that churches do not pay taxes. So, whatever income the church makes stays in the church, where the founder or General Overseer then decides how the money would be put to use. Many Nigerian Pastors would make many businessmen or civil servants green with envy with their impressive assets and fat bank accounts.
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Recently, an article was written in an international magazine about the richest pastors in the world and five Nigerian Pastors made the list. While some people would argue that it was insensitive for pastors in a country as poor as Nigeria — where thousands die every day due to hunger and ailments as mild as malaria — to keep such enormous amounts of wealth to themselves, others would argue that they are doing the Lord’s work and those riches are God’s blessings for doing His work. Well, that’s not for us to judge.
In this post, we take a look at the top 10 richest pastors in Nigeria and their net worth.
10. Lazarus Muoka
Lazarus Muoka is the founder and the general overseer of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement. The church is one of the fastest growing churches in Nigeria. Muoka is said to be worth an estimated $3 million.
He was born in Mgbidi in Imo state and was raised in a Catholic family. A few years after his secondary education, he relocated to Lagos. Muoka worked briefly before opening his own business. Not too long after, Muoka made the decision to dedicate his life to serving to God and soon after he started his ministry, the Lord`s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement.
Apart from his income from the church and his preaching engagements, Muoka is also a renowned author of several Christian books and journals. Some of his published books include How God Called Me, “Mark My Words”, “And Ye Shall Receive Power”, “Ye Must Be Born Again” and Christianity: A Better and Pure Religion.
9. Bishop Mike Okonkwo
Bishop Mike Okonkwo is another prominent pastor that features on our list of the richest pastors in the country. He was a banker before heeding the call into ministry.
Bishop Mike as he is popularly called is the founder of The Redeemed Evangelic Mission also known as TREM.
The Bishop was born in Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State in 1945. He started his primary education at Salvation Army Primary School Enugu before he moved to Lagos and completed his education in Ijero Baptist Primary School on Ebute Metta, Lagos.
He had his secondary education at Mayflower College and Merchants of Light Grammar school. After his secondary education, he started working with the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1964. He switched to banking and began his career at the African Continental Bank for two years.
He became born again in November 1970 and in 1972 he became a dedicated member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). He served at UCC up until 1980. After his exit from the church, he founded TREM which has grown to become one of the most popular churches in Nigeria with over 180 branches in Nigeria and 10 countries across the globe.
Bishop Mike Okonkwo is the Patron and Founder of the Empowerment for the Less Privileged (ELP) Foundation, a non-governmental organisation committed to alleviating the plight of the less-privileged in the society through donations to hospitals, establishment of free vocational training centres, running free preparatory schools for students in the secondary schools, and facilitating regular public enlightenment campaigns on health issues amongst others. He also pioneers a scholarship fund for talented students.
8. Pastor Gbenga Oso
Gbenga Oso is the founder of Laughter Founder and he is said to be worth an estimated $3.5 million.
His church, Laughter Foundation helps couples conceive. He is also known as the father of a million babies.
Gbenga Oso used to be one of the pastors for the Gospel Faith Mission International before starting his own ministry, Laughter Foundation Church.
The pastor revealed that in 1997, God specifically told him that he was going to start a ministry and the only thing that ministry will focus on was childbearing matters.
During an interview, Pastor Oso recalled a testimony of a couple that came to the church a few years ago. The woman was a hospital worker and she had been married for 35 years without a child. When she came to the church she conceived. She was 59 years old when she delivered her baby girl.
The pastor also spoke about a couple that had done seven IVFs without success. They were based in the United Kingdom but they resigned from their jobs in the U.K and started attending Laughter Foundation. Within a year of attending this church, the wife got pregnant and she delivered triplets eventually.
7. Pastor Chris Okotie
The musician cum pastor, Rev Chris Okotie is another wealthy pastor with a net worth of $12 million. His church, ‘Household of God’ is located in the Ikeja area of Lagos. Rev Chris is said to own several high brow properties in this area as well.
The church has a large congregation with many famous musicians, movie actors and society people as members.
Rev Chris was born Christopher Oghenebrorie Okotie on the 16th of June 1958. He started his church in 1987 and it has continued to grow since its humble beginnings
Growing up, Okotie always loved to sing and while in secondary school at Edo College, Benin City, he belonged to the school’s music club where he entertained groups of people.
Okotie never considered commercializing his talent until his first year at university, when his father died. Eventually, he abandoned his schooling for a while to pursue a pop music career before his return abruptly. After graduating with a law degree, Okotie attended the Grace Fellowship Bible School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and, soon after, established the Household of God Ministry.
In 2011, Forbes estimated his net worth at US$3-10 million.
6. Pastor Ayodele Oritsejafor
Popularly called Papa, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is said to be worth an estimated $15 million. He is the founder of the World of Life Bible Church with headquarters in the oil-rich Warri, Nigeria.
Papa Ayo Oritsejafor is one of the few pastors in the country that owns a private jet. Also, he has several luxurious cars and real estates.
The pastor revealed that he became born again in 1972 and it was that same year that he made an oath to become a servant of Lord Jesus for the rest of his life.
He started attending All Nations For Christ Bible Institute in Benin City but he would later leave the Institute to start his church, the World of Life Bible Church.
He became the national president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in 2005, a position he held for five years.
In July 2010, Oritsejafor was elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the apex body of all Christians in the country. In doing so he became the first Pentecostal leader to hold the position. Oritsejafor was the first to launch a Miracle crusade from Africa to a world audience via satellite in 1987 with evangelist Joe Martins.
Pastor Oritsejafor is involved in several humanitarian efforts along with his wife. In December 2005, Oritsejafor and his wife Helen partnered with Flight Micro Finance Bank to start an empowerment programme for the people. Oritsejafor, ever since, makes it a tradition to empower the less privileged and to alleviate the sufferings of families all over at the end of every December.
On 26 December 2016, the Word of Life Bible Church in conjunction with the Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank allegedly held the poverty alleviation programme in Warri.
5. Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo
Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo is the renowned pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre otherwise known as KICC. He is said to be worth an estimated $20 million although Forbes estimated Ashimolowo’s net worth is at between $6–10 million.
The KICC annual accounts revealed that he earns an annual salary of £100,000 but the majority of his wealth comes from the sale of Christian literature and documentaries from his media company, Matthew Ashimolowo media. This is consistent with the fact that Ashimolowo subscribes to and teaches success in the vein of prosperity theology, which in most respects is considered controversial.
His Winning Ways programme is aired daily on Premier Radio (London) and Spirit FM (Amsterdam) and on television in Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, FaithAfrica (DSTV 341), the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Europe on The God Channel and Inspirational Network.
4. Prophet Temitope Babatunde Joshua
Popularly known as TB Joshua, Prophet Temitope Joshua also features on our list as one of the richest pastors in the country with an estimated net worth of $25 million.
He is the founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations and he is well known in Africa and many parts of the world. He is also the founder of Emmanuel TV, Africa’s largest Christian television network.
TB Joshua is often described as YouTube`s most famous and popular pastor with over 400,000 YouTube subscribers. The pastor also has over 2 million fans on Facebook and he is sometimes described as the Oprah of Evangelism
As of 2011, according to Forbes, Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor, although the claim was immediately denied in a statement by the church.
Also, TB Joshua has received several awards over the last decade, some of which include Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008 and being voted the Yoruba man of the decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet Irohin-Odua.
Additionally, he has been called one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines like ‘The Africa Report’ and ‘New African Magazine.’
Joshua is known for his philanthropic activities. For instance, SCOAN has a ‘scholarship program’ which caters for the academic needs of students in their thousands, ranging from primary to tertiary education.
In 2012, the pastor sponsored a Nigerian student doing a Ph.D. in Oxford University, with Nigerian media reporting she received £100,000 from the church. He also gave a scholarship to a lady to study at Harvard Law School in America.
Also, Joshua funded the building and running of a school in Lahore, Pakistan named ‘Emmanuel School’. He also rebuilt a school in a rural area destroyed by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake, traveling to Ecuador for the opening of the school in June 2017.
3. Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye
Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye is popularly called “Daddy G.O” by members of his church, The Redeemed Christian Church of God.
He is said to be worth an estimated $50 million and he is one of the three Nigerian pastors that has been able to afford a private jet.
Pastor Adeboye was appointed as the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God in 1981. He took over the position from Papa Akindayomi.
R.C.C.G is one of the largest churches in the world. The church has branches in 192 nations globally and there are over 14 000 churches of The Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria.
The vision of the church is to build a church in five minutes’ distance from every home of every person in the world.
Pastor Adeboye is known to have established an endowment fund for 4 Nigerian universities. The church also runs a private university, Redeemers University.
2. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is the President of The Believer`s World Fellowship and the Christ Embassy Church.
He is said to be worth an estimated $70 million. The pastor has been tagged as one of the prosperity preachers as the church often encourages members to sow seeds in the form of money.
Pastor Chris also earns income from the sales of his books. His ministry holds meetings in the United Kingdom and the United States and has “healing school” sessions in South Africa and Canada.
Also, he is the convener of the Higher Life conferences in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, UK, US and Canada.
Pastor Chris also operates an International School of Ministry, which held one of its Ministers’ Network Conferences in 2016 with 5000 ministers in attendance from 145 countries, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He is also known for his philanthropic works, which include aiding the poor, the sick, and the dispossessed, both materially and spiritually. Pastor Chris’s Inner City Mission Project declares that “every child is your child” and this project saves and assists orphaned and indigent children in inner cities across the globe.
1. Bishop David Oyedepo
Papa Oyedepo as he is popularly called is said to be worth an estimated $180 million making him the richest pastor in Nigeria.
He is the founder of Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, which is also known as Winners Chapel.
Oyedepo is the owner of Dominion Publishing House, which sells all his books. He is also a founder of the Covenant University, Landmark University and Faith Academy. The Bishop also owns large estates across Nigeria, fashionable cars and a private jet.
The church’s headquarter is located in Otta, Ogun. The auditorium which is called the Faith Tabernacle is a 50,000 seat church auditorium is reported to be the largest church auditorium in the world by the Guinness World Records.
The Winners’ Chapel network of churches is located in over 300 cities, in all states of Nigeria, and in several cities in 45 African nations, Dubai, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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