It is without a doubt that some of the greatest gatherings have been attended by Christian adherents; my fascination with the ‘whys’ and ‘wheres’ of such momentous events lured me to surfing the internet and mind boggled was I at the figures that stared back at me. Millions of people have gathered at several places in different parts of the world to attend crusades, many of these meetings ….religious. Some of the ‘crowd pullers’, I’m sure you are already familiar with: A Billy Graham 5-day Crusade in London and Paris had over 2 million people in attendance, 7 million people attended a week-long Benny Hinn Crusade in India in 2005. David Oyedepo held a crusade with in 1985 with 1 million people at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, Nigeria and Enoch Adeboye hit 5 million also in Lagos in the late 90’s. The list is endless and impressive.
I was in one of such meetings – the Good Friday Miracle Night with Pastor Chris Oyakhilome; it took place at Km 40 Lagos – Ibadan Express Way on the 14th of April, 2006. It was tagged a night of signs, miracles and blessings; an epoch making all-night event which attracted a gargantuan crowd. I personally feel the estimate of 3.5million people was modest because according to the event organizers, 2.6 million people pre-registered in the run-up to the event. The publicity campaign for the meeting was exceptional, unique and unprecedented; in the characteristic Christ Embassy style, no stone was left unturned. The most spectacular part of the campaign for me was the day a helicopter branded with the crusade colors showered hand bills on the dense population below in the busy streets of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. The result …… Lagos stood still!!
On d-day, all routes led to the LoveWorld Crusade Ground and Lagos-Ibadan Express Way was jammed with human and pedestrian traffic despite the excellent efforts of government security operatives. Pastor Chris and his convoy had a very tough time getting into the grounds – though I have read a few articles whose misguided authors claim he was flown into the grounds by helicopter; take it from an eye-witness, it was not so. Every inch of the sandy ground of the LoveWorld Crusade Ground was covered by a hungry audience, they were not “miracle-seekers” as some have said, but people of all ages and from all works of life who came to experience the tangible presence of God that is evident with the man of God Pastor Chris Oyakhilome – the miracles are simply a manifestation of this presence. The morning after the meeting, the roads and streets leading in and out the venue were grid-locked; road users sat in vehicles for 12 hours and more -and the brave endured the Spartan trek down the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. It was reported two brides missed out on their weddings, their cavalcade was sandwiched somewhere in the static traffic. The unprecedented event no doubt would remain indelible in the minds of not only travelers but most importantly the crowd which had thronged in their millions to receive from God.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome preached the word of God with power, he message, addressed primarily to the nation of Nigeria yet not limited in its reach, was titled “Stop the Wickedness”, as Pastor Chris ministered, the Holy Spirit swept through the congregation causing the glory of God to rest upon everyone in power. There were tremendous miracles with several thousands giving their hearts to Christ. It was a night of exclusive assemblage, in total recall mode I get goosebumps on my skin just thinking of all the momentous things which occurred that night. 3.5 million People gathered in a single night, not for sports or entertainment but for Jesus! ‘It takes God to be with a man to be able to attract such a crowd for Jesus’ remarked an invitee, undeniably speaking out the thoughts of millions about a man of God who has consistently been a “Crowd-Puller”.
Is Pastor Chris Oyakhilome a Crowd-Magnet or what? And what in your opinion is the benefit of this phenomenon to the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Share your thoughts by clicking on the button below.