Winners' Chapel International Headquarters Canaanland - Faith Tabernacle, Ota, Nigeria
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Winners' Chapel (also known as Living Faith Church Worldwide) is a megachurch founded by Bishop David Oyedepo in 1981. The Church has since become a global network of churches with congregations in 34 countries.
The beginnings of the church can be traced back to May 1981 when David Oyedepo claimed to have had an 18 hour vision from God. In this vision God spoke to him saying, "Now the hour has come to liberate the world from all oppressions of the devil, through the preaching of the Word of faith; and I am sending you to undertake this task". Two years later the church was formed with four members.
Canaanland is the name of the campus of Winners' Chapel (Living Faith Church), an Evangelical megachurch in Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.
The 560-acre (2.3 km2) facility opened in 1999, and has since expanded to almost 5,000 acres (20 km2). It includes the headquarters of Winners' Chapel, the church building itself known as Faith Tabernacle, Covenant University, Faith Academy Secondary School, and Kingdom Heritage Nursery/Primary School. Several business ventures operated by the church are located within the Canaanland complex, including Dominion Publishing House, Hebron Bottled Water Processing Plant, a bakery, various restaurants and stores, four banks, and several residential estates that provide for the over 2,000 church employees and 9,000 students that live there. The 50,000 capacity Faith Tabernacle which was built within 10 months in 1999 is the worlds' largest church building.
Sunday services see a flood of members arriving at Canaanland, and the church maintains around 350 shuttle buses that bring congregants to the church from local markets and bus stops. The number of services on a Sunday as increased from 2 services to 3 services from 17th of January, 2010. A fourth service began on February 13, 2011. The first service starts from 6:30am, the second at 8.25 am, the third at 10.20 am and the fourth service at 12.15 pm. Each service lasts for one hour, forty minutes.
Each second week of December, Canaanland sees almost a million Christian pilgrims from all over the world gather for a program called Shiloh. The Church after Shiloh 2010 (Breakthrough Unlimited) as embarked on the building of Canaancity. The first phase will see the completion of 15000 housing units. The founder of Winners' Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo believes that a divine vision told him to hold such a gathering.
BISHOP DAVID OYEDEPO - FOUNDER
The international headquarters of Winners Chapel is called Faith Tabernacle. It covers about 70 acres (280,000 m2) and is built inside an over 10,500-acre (42 km2) church complex called Canaanland, the international headquarters of the ministry in Ota, a suburb of Lagos. The building took 12 months to be completed. The foundation laying took place on August 29, 1998. The dedication of the building took place on September 19, 1999 with 97,800 people in attendance. The structure is purported to have been built without any debts and within a year of work beginning.
Faith Tabernacle as from 1999-2008 was the largest church building in the world. It has a seating capacity of 50,400 people and an outside overflow capacity of over 250,000, with four services every Sunday. Cannanland was procured in 1998 and was initially 560 acres (2.3 km2). Presently it is over 10,500 acres (42 km2) and will take about 120 km to navigate around it.
The Church is founded upon twelve core emphases as follows:
- FAITH (1 John 5:4; Eph. 6:16)
- THE WORD (John 1:1-12; Heb. 1:3)
- SIGNS AND WONDERS (Ps. 82:5-7; John 3:8)
- THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 1:1-8; Isaiah 10:27)
- PROSPERITY (3 John 2; Ps. 35:27; Zech. 1:17)
- PRAYER (1 John 5:14)
- HEALING (Isaiah 53:3-4; Jer. 8:22; Matt. 8:17)
- WISDOM (Prov. 24:3-4, Isaiah 33:6)
- SUCCESS (Joshua 1:8-10)
- VISION (Prov. 29:18, Jer. 29:11)
- CONSECRATION (Hebrews12:14; 2Tim. 2:19)
- PRAISE (2 Chro. 20:20-22; Ps. 67:1-7; 149:1-9)
The theological position of the church is Pentecostal.
Dominion Publishing House
The publishing house that grew out of Winner's Chapel was founded on 5 December 1992. Dominion Publishing House has published over 60 books, most of which have been written by David Oyedepo.
Many educational institutions are linked to Winner's Chapel, including Covenant University, Faith Academy and Kingdom Heritage Model School. In addition there is a ministry training college called The Word of Faith Bible Institute
Every year in December, the church hosts a global event called Shiloh. The purpose of the event is the usher the visitation of God to his people. As of 2012, there was millions in count of the attendance in all the locations and the church website also experienced a huge hit. The event holds mostly first week in the month of December.
Criticism and Controversy
Critics have accused Winner's Chapel of adopting a health, wealth, prosperity gospel that is contrary to biblical teaching. Odeyepo himself engages in healing ministry and Forbes estimates his worth at $150 million.