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Crossover Service: Nigerians Blast Chris Oyakhilome Over Gate Fees

Published on January 5, 2015 by   ·   47 Comments

By Simon Ateba

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy

Revelations that worshippers at the headquarters of Christ Embassy Church ‎in Lagos had to pay N1,000 each as gate fee to attend a New Year’s Eve service presided over by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome have shocked many Nigerians and infuriated others.

Worshippers who wanted to attend the crossover service at Christ Embassy’s headquarters on Billings ‎Way in Oregun Area of Lagos on 31 December, 2014, were made to obtain gate passes that sold for N1,000 each.

Those who could not afford such passes were turned back and told that they could go elsewhere to worship or watch the service online for free.

While the practice ‎is not new in Christ Embassy Church, it led to an uproar in January 2011 after it was first introduced on 31 December, 2010.

Many people described it then as extortion, abuse of ‘Jesus’ teachings and another confirmation that some Nigerian churches and pastors are more interested in making money than winning souls for God.

But the church explained, though informally, that it was a way of controlling the crowd and discouraging thousands of people who come to church once a year on 31 December and prevent “real worshippers” from securing seats at the headquarters on that important night.

The argument did not win many fans and under a barrage of criticisms, the church prayed the matter would be forgotten. Nigerians also hoped gate fee collection would stop.

But the practice has continued and is now seen as routine with those who cannot afford the money being turned back on 31 December of every year.

With a sitting capacity of roughly 20,000 seats, Christ Embassy might have made at least N20 million from the sale of gate passes used for the crossover service.

Worshippers in Christ Embassy and former staff have complained in the past that the emphasis was often too much on money in the church rather than on spiritual things Jesus Christ taught his disciples.

While virtually all prosperity churches in Nigeria apply the principles of “giving ‎to the church to receive from God”, many say the level of financial demands and pressures in Christ Embassy Church is unusually high.

Since the revelations about the gate fees collection at Christ Embassy Church were made public last week, Nigerians have continued to express shock, outrage and indignation with many finding it hard to believe it.

Many Nigerians expressed their indignation on the social media, especially Facebook.

‎”Gate fee collection appears good for crowd control in a theatre or secular concert, but not sound enough in the house of God where Christ the head of the church bids everyone to come, even when they only respond once in a year,” ‎said Femi Olulowo on Facebook.

He said the church should rather see their once in a year response as an opportunity to reach out to the loss (non regular attendees) and make disciple of them as Christ commanded.

“Even if the church prefers his already saved members to partake in a particular service, gate pass should have been given to them at no cost and they will have the privilege of going in first.

“The crowd control rationale for gate fee collection in church in my opinion is world based,” he said.

According to ‎Onyeka Daisy Okochi, salvation doesn’t come at a cost.

Daisy said in the Bible, a man who wanted to pay for salvation was refused.

To Oyagha Anthony, Nigerian worshippers are gullible. “Did God come down through him (the pastor) that day?,” he asked.

“I have watched the man preach severally and I don’t know the magic in his sermon and anointing that keeps making people fall for his tricks and gimmicks.

“He quotes one Bible reference and shouts as if he just revealed what no man had ever read or seen in that passage before and then takes a run front and back and they all starts shouting. Just disgusting most times,” he said.

To Clement Ali, “‎does it mean if I don’t have N1000, I won’t be allowed into the service?

In that case, his intentions is the money.”

“Let them continue to pile up riches for themselves here on earth where moths will eat up and where thieves will break through,” Ali said.

He added: “SALVATION IS FREE and cannot be bought with money. Jesus said, freely l gave you, so also, freely ye shall give.”

According to Erijery Reuben Mateta, some people are born spiritually blind, deaf and dumb.

“However you preach to them they will never hear and understand,” Mateta said.

Eyitope Akeju could not believe that gate fees were collected at Christ Embassy Church on 31 December. “Somebody should please tell me this is not true. If it is true it means corruption is now everywhere,” Akeju said.

Patrick Orkuma asked sarcastically; ‎”Are you people just realising now that most of these so called Men of God are con men? People have been paying for prayers, so why can’t they pay for venue?”

‎To Aderibigbe Oluwasanmi; “‎Why are we going to blame a business name for doing his business, he is bussines man not a Pastor for real‎”.

‎Many others who commented on the social media were critical of Oyakhilome and Christ Embassy Church, urging the church to stop the practice.

Others even asked for tax officials to step in.

With over 70 per cent of Nigerians living in abject poverty and on less than two dollars a day, many believe that demons are responsible for their financial, physical and emotional problems.

They run to pastors for healing, miracles, blessing and protection.

But once in church, pastors often tell worshippers that to prosper and be blessed by God, they need to give ten per cent of all their income as tithe to God. Some also say they need to give ten percent of all their increases.

By giving to God, they mean, they need to “sow a seed in the church”. When they give money to the church, worshippers are ‎told, the “money goes into their future” to transform their lives.

To refuse “to sow a seed” is “to condemn oneself to a life of hardship and misery”, pastors say.

But while few worshippers eventually prosper, it is the pastors who end up becoming extremely rich.

Many Nigerians pastors now own businesses, cars, houses, and investments within and outside the country. Some even own private jets.

Many say with his business model and financial strategies in the church, Oyakhilome was named by Forbes as one of the richest pastors in Nigeria.

He travels around the world in a jet and moves around Lagos with bodyguards and heavily armed policemen.

Posted by on January 5, 2015, 8:46 am. Filed under Lifestyle, Metro, News, Religion, Today's Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

47 Comments for “Crossover Service: Nigerians Blast Chris Oyakhilome Over Gate Fees”

  1. Mallam Musa

    Yorubas are so callous what of Adeboye and David are they getting their money from spirit or Chris force anyone to paid the N1000

  2. baba Oliver

    Christ has warned us about such wolves in lamb fur! St paul says, by their fruit we shall know them. I piety gullible members that fall prey to all sort of cheap detceit by prosperity 419 pastors. Anything outside free will donation in d church is man made and satanic induced

  3. EmmanuelO

    Corruption, corruption and corruption equals more corruption as encouraged by churches and society, and delivered by politicians, civil servants and other corrupt individuals. Oya, EFCC start investigations. By the way, can somebody tell me please. Does these churches pay tax? If not, they should be made to pay taxes.

  4. Sunny Akhigbe

    Does this man force people to that church on December 31st? Is that the only place that they can attend Crossover service in the whole of Lagos? By the way, why is it that many who never step into a church from January to December suudeny find Crossover service as do or die? Is that the only place where their sins for the year would be forgiven and expect miracles for the coming year? Many of us like to reap where they did not sow. They expect the pastor to fast for them, pray for them and work miracles for them. And when the man asks you to pay for his “services” you start complaining. Stupid!

  5. Crowd control measure indeed. If the church is actually to win souls then 31st December which is the only time the supposed once in a year church goers attend service ought to be the time the church flings it’s gate wide open for all, afterall they have been making money since the beginning of the year. God save us all

  6. Sunny Akhigbe

    Does this man force people to that church on December 31st? Is that the only place that they can attend Crossover service in the whole of Lagos? By the way, why is it that many who never step into a church from January to December suddenly find Crossover service as do or die? Is that the only place where their sins for the year would be forgiven and expect miracles for the coming year? Many of us like to reap where they did not sow. They expect the pastor to fast for them, pray for them and work miracles for them. And when the man asks you to pay for his “services” you start complaining. Stupid!

  7. hammed

    Pastor is just a title(u call who u like).
    Church is just a house(a building,God don’t live there).
    Service is a formalty(church order).
    Members are just pple(like pple in the hospital,auditorium,library,stadium,etc).
    But JESUS IS LORD and BIBLE IS THE GREATEST BOOK OF ALL.(4those that understand the formal and the lather) so wth this two why fooling ursef.if u attend any church or u meet any so call pastors and his or her life is nt according to wat u red in Bible u need to stop visitin or goin to such worldly orientated service.God can nver b angry.lack of Bible understandin is wat mk many see Christianity as false and is wat make many bn mislead.4example the issue of tithe,in the old testament God demanded 10fold of their 100harvest yearly,wic is wat we call tithe in interpretation.bt Jesus who we believe is frm God(and we follow as a Christian) came,He told us that tithe is nt anymore abt ten percent,its abt wat u can giv that com frm ur mind,meaning if its one percent or even the hundred bcus didn’t want wat will inconvinent us so watever we want to giv to God(to His work and ministry) is must b wat we freely wish.that’s a touch of willness to service God (and whoever is doin this is trully minding God). Not the mandate in the old testament that many of them gives to God in fear of God wrath bcus in Bible(old testament) they said whoevr that didn’t bring his or her ten fold is stealing frm God,as we all knw no one want to b associated wth such name. So its fear that made them to pay tithe in those days bt Jesus who came to librate us frm bondage the pple God love put themsef make us to understand that bcus of the order of their service pple stil continue to swim in sin. U can’t hear pastors quoting this place in Bible where Jesus tell pple to pay according to their will all u hear the so call pastors sayin is old testament and the forget to understand that old testament was just written to knw how pple of old live b4 Jesus came and to understand the importance of Christ and His mission.also to knw God is Merciful,Gracious,slow to Anger. And 4us to knw the service-order of Jesus is clearly dfrent frm the jew.ten commandment in old testament is just two commandment in Jesus view wic is very acurate. “Love ur neighbour as ursef,and worship(love) Ur Creator(thou Lord).if u love ur neighbour u won’t steal,u won’t kill,u won’t lie against ur brothers,etc.and if u love ur God(yur Creator) u won’t worship any idol,u won’t use the temple of God sinfully wic is ur body,etc.

  8. Aderemi

    Why are u blaming pastor Chris? Don’t u know that his church is his business empire? Do u think he got his power free of charge?

  9. Emeka

    Most of us would be disappointed at last day, assuming sins are written on every man’s face, many churches will not exist today. Though is biblical, tithes would not have been a custom of many churches today because it makes the pastors richer while most of the congregation are wallowing in abject poverty. One thing I know is that, there is a way God works by showing us the true shepherds and as well separate chaff from corn. Ab initio his family is in disarray, someone who couldn’t manage his family how can he manage the church. He can never give what he doesn’t have. God will still expose him. Time shall tell

  10. emmanuel

    Oyakhilome is bound fir hell fire if he does not repent.

    It also include all those who cheat others in Gods name.

    The excuse they gave is satanic. They have been blinded by the god of money, so they are not aware that the world and God is watching them.

  11. Doodoos

    There many churches holding services on that day which if you’re really interested, can walk in with or without monetary offerings. Anyone who feels compelled to find 1000 which they can’t afford in order to attend a particular church service is addicted to the pastor and possibly isn’t going there with the aim of Godly worship. Aptly spiritual corruption.

  12. ayo

    Why would you ask Oyakhilome to pray and fast for you? He is a sinner like everyone else. Your salvation lies in your hands, not in a human beings like you. Why go to fellow human beings, to make your life better?He has cheated on his ex-wife many times. How then do you think he is spiritually disposed to help you attain your wishes before God?Nigerians will never learn. Gullible people.

  13. Remigious

    The tax man should move in and tax the revenue as appropriate.

  14. judgement day

    I dont know why some people are complaining, so you dont know you can now buy blessing from some men of god? besides he did not force anyone to pay the mugu money. I am sure has it been some people went to shut the gate to disallow people from paying such money for blessing, he wont try that next time. Ride on im(positor!)

  15. Wisepeople

    an organisation who collects gate fee for any event must pay tax, this church must be investigated for tax avoidance since 2011.

  16. Klint Egwim

    Who made him Pastor in the first place? Self imposed pastor abi? I don’t believe in all of them. But for those that went to attend the service, truly, all must not be there to avoid over crowding. But church would have given notice to her followers earlier and inform them to worship in their areas. Afterall, God hears prayers anywhere.

  17. sammy

    How which nigeria is a develop country like america that pastor would have spend his entire life in jail. Tomorrow they will be deceiving us that government is corrupt. They are the command in chief of nigeria corruption.

  18. ososo guy

    They they force any one to come and worship there? No be only them walker go there

  19. Debo A

    When Jesus fed 5000 men, he did not ask for payment. When a sick man was dropped through the roof due to the crowd filling every single space, Jesus did not complain nor request for a roof replacement. But when the devil gives, he ask for something in return. What of the parable of the lost sheep and the prodigal son? Chris, ride on for you shall give account to God one day.

  20. Oyebisi

    This is very interesting, it’s high time people be a prophet for themselves, then we all know all Pastors are human being like us tooo.@Hammed I like your comment, could you please quote the bible passage where it is written that tithes should be paid according to one’s will. You should be a teacher as you took you time to breakdown n summarized the 10commandments in a clear and simple manner, weldone

  21. Prince Charles

    One thousand is even too small. Five thousand Sounds better.

  22. Zion King

    YOU PEOPLE NO GO UNDERSTAND. SO ANGELS OF GOD DEY INSTALL AND MAINTAIN ALL THE FACILITIES INT HE CHURCH. is any of those services e.g. Generators, Air conditioners, and all the goodies not provided with money? so you expect pastors to pay for all those facilities from their pocket? una no de pay to maintain facilities in your various clubs. If its open air, its different but you need check out the world class facilities provided before you think it should be free. There other avenues to participate in the service. stop judging what you dont know. We de members knows that we need to spend the money to enjoy what you want to enjoy. That meeting is not for crowd.

  23. Hen top

    @ Sunny Akhigbe, what do you mean by pay for his “service”?

  24. Enoch

    It is better this churches register as a business entities, paying their taxes based on the total number of their follower, they also have various bussinesses under the name of church making profit, estate , oil investment , school where huge some of money being paid as school fees from public that send their pupil there, but we need to reason with the way people called church leader involve in a lot of atrocities, they are the highest tax invader .

  25. Mr. Sunny do not use the word stupid on a platform like this, especially when it concerns God quest. More over what is your on interest . Churches are worshiping centers not money making machines factory. Is high time Pastors should be warn on ways and manners the home after cash from church members.

  26. It served the worshippers right.If they were asked to give mere #100.00naira to a street begger they won’t give but when a so called “man of God”asked them for money the gullibles paid.There is god oh..

  27. Nonso

    Thank you Zion King for confessing to us that it was a MEETING, not an OUTREACH or avenue to save souls. Una well-done o.

  28. It serves them right.The gullible ones paid their tithes through gate fees.There is god oh.

  29. Kenny Adeniyi

    Its sad that churches has descended to this level, more sad and unfortunate that people will support this babylonian tactics in the house of God, church is a place to make the blind to see but in Christ Embassy you will only become spiritually blind and be led farther and farther away from tenets of the gospel. I am the least surprise because in all their London branches they normally put a levy on members to pay for Pastors Chris and Pastor Anita’s birthday. CAPITAL SHAME

  30. Kola

    Atoyegbe, did you build the church or are you the pastor? If they are asked to pay and you don’t want to, go to another place. Na by force? The people that are in govt terrorising and extorting money from us every minute are fine because they are not church or mosque. Jonathan is buying the 13th or so jet, its fine as far as he’s not a pastor. Woo, How do we end up with our brains turned upside down?

  31. Jane

    This is unbelievable.

  32. Godwin Vaaseh

    Its rather very unfortunate.God knows better but perhaps we need to pray for Pastor Chris.Maybe these verses apply to him.Matthew 7:22,23.

  33. Godwin Vaaseh

    It’s rather very unfortunate.Perhaps we need to pray for Pastor Chris.Maybe these verses apply to him.Matthew 7:22,23

  34. Christ the King

    As a commited Belivers’ Love World student fellowship member back in school(OAU), I saw in a dream that I was on a particular floor of a big, poorly lighted and delabitated complex and I saw myself walking on the same corridor with my fellowship department HOD and another HOD. In the dream, I saw myself at some point waiving at the 2 HODs and telling them that I don’t want to continue taking a walk with them. Whoever has ear this day should hear. Christ embassy is out of touch with the LIGHT.

  35. of a truth

    Una, nawaooo,na bibeli talk say” it is not good for the soul to be without knowledge” na the same bibeli talk say ” my people perished bcos they lacked knowledge” if you are not spiritually informed, you will be deformed spiritually by the ill-teachings of the so-called self acclaimed pastors in quote. He that has ear let him hear…..

  36. Odion Omwenyeke

    All I have to say. Is very very bad coming to the house of GOD is not for money (MAY GOD HELP US) AMEN OOOOO

  37. Lisa James

    Am member of christ Embassy but am highly disappointed with this development.the best option for me now is to port to DUNAMIS cos am sick of all this negative news about the church.

  38. Am a member of christ Embassy but am highly disappointed with this development.the best option for me now is to port to DUNAMIS cos am sick of all this negative news about the church. Oh God help me!

  39. faruk

    the man needed money to fuel his private jet back to u.k. ………………… folks should be grateful for his coming to nigeria rather than stay back in uk or go to canada……jet nor be periwinkle o………….

  40. faruk

    the man needed money to fuel his private jet back to u.k. ………………… folks should be grateful for his coming to nigeria rather than stay back in uk or go to canada……jet nor be periwinkle o……………

  41. Wilma

    I totally agree with you. Where were they when members were sowing seeds to build the arena for the services? If they don’t want to pay money, why not stay at home & watch it on the internet ? it aired for free on the 3 tv networks owned by Christ Embassy. There was free viewing available in all Christ Embassy churches? Salvation was not free. It became free because Jesus paid for it with his own blood. Salvation was paid for by Jesus and it was definitely not cheap. That coveted edifice, that these people are struggling to enter for free- costs millions of naira to maintain- besides, it not by force they should go there. I watched it on tv and I was amazingly blessed. I did not have to go there physically because the one I wanted to see and hear from OWNS the UNIVERSE! His name is Jesus and he met me at home!. I watched the program on tv and later went to my local church to attend the service because of the time difference in my country.

  42. Chris

    U don’t have any right to judge another person for His actions. The money was requested simply for crowd control and nothing else. Don’t judge a case you know nothing about. It’s just like driving a car from the back seat.

  43. Lydia

    I am too shocked for words….nowhere in the bible dd Jesus ever collected money for d gathering who cam to listen and to receive healings frm him…..It was all for free…..ds is disheartenin and pathethic….

  44. Lydia

    I am too shocked for words….nowhere in the bible dd Jesus ever collected money for d gathering who cam to listen and to receive healings frm him…..It was all for free…..ds is disheartenin and pathethic….ds is nt judgin bt being realistic

  45. WOLE LUCAS

    Why OYA?
    Free for all. God does not looking for rightheous rather than lost sheep.
    Jesus died for you free in the cross of calvary without collected 1000 naira from you Oyakilome.
    The regular servant need to give ways for the visitors so as to covert & pray for them as jesus teach with the holy Bible.
    You ve done wrong & introduce corruptions into christianity.
    Your glory well know to the world given to you by GOD including your soul & how much did you pay to GOD for all these blessing?
    What do you want to become in this world again as GOD bless you with sooo many things but taxing the poor people. Remmember what jesus told NECODEMUS in the Bible before you can be for christ. Some pastors ve missed the road to rigtheous & only behave like foolish rich man in the Bible.

  46. Dare

    Why OYA?
    Free for all. God does not looking for rightheous rather than lost sheep.
    Jesus died for you free in the cross of calvary without collected 1000 naira from you Oyakilome.
    The regular servant need to give ways for the visitors so as to covert & pray for them as jesus teach with the holy Bible.
    You ve done wrong & introduce corruptions into christianity.
    Your glory well know to the world given to you by GOD including your soul & how much did you pay to GOD for all these blessing?
    What do you want to become in this world again as GOD bless you with sooo many things but taxing the poor people. Remmember what jesus told NECODEMUS in the Bible before you can be for christ. Some pastors ve missed the road to rigtheous & only behave like foolish rich man in the Bible.

  47. Balfour

    fools that call them selves Mr and Mrs I no all. Don’t your bible tell you never to judge remember the way you judge people so shall you be judge . were u want to enter for free don’t you know people pay for those things are you expecting pastor Chris to use all his pocket money to build the church? if u enter Christ Embassy church u will know u are in the right place. In case you didn’t know Jesus pay for our sins and everything comes with a price. The gospel is free but not cheap.

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