Pastor Damilola Gabriel Karounwi is the Founder of Menorah School of the Spirit Word and a vibrant evangelist with a deep passion for the Word of God. In an encounter with Emmanuel Abodunrin, he opens up on his love for the ministry, passion for youth development and life as an itinerant preacher
Tell us about the Menorah School of the Spirit Word about?
It’s what the Lord has committed into my hand to build and equip youths. So I teach there every first and last Saturday of the month. Menorah is the Hebrew word for the seven lampstands on our altar.
So, how did the vision for Menorah School came about?
The vision came as a result of the burden I have for the youth; so it was during a fellowship that God placed the word Menorah in my spirit from the book of Revelation 1:13, where Jesus was standing in between the Menorah lampstands which means the school should be centred around the revelation of Jesus to humanity and nothing else. That is why since the inception of the school, we have been unveiling the personality of Christ. Christ is the centre of the ministry.
Is it non-denominational or a C&S platform for youths?
It is non-denominational but predominantly involved C&S youths. It’s a kingdom school where we teach the word and also reveal spiritual realities. We don’t pay, no admission fee of any kind. It’s basically free to all and sundry.
How long has the school existed and how many youths have you trained?
June this year will make it three years that we started and we have at least 100 persons attending the meetings on a monthly basis but now it is bi-monthly. It’s not a school where you graduate, you keep learning about Christ. It’s not a theological school but a school of the Word. The school in the name is not in the sense of a theological school but according to the prescription of Christ in Matthew 11:28-29, which says take my yoke upon you and learn of me. In that kind of learning that Christ prescribes, you neither graduate nor get a certificate. It’s a lifetime learning so that’s what our own school is patterned or modelled after.
How do you get funding for your programmes?
The funding comes through a few of us who are willing to partner with God with our resources. There are people who believe in the vision and who are committing the little they have. Initially, I and just one or two persons were committing our resources but along the line, few other persons joined too and God has been faithful even though we are trusting Him for more resources because of the bulk of burdens on our neck. Faithful is He that calls who also will do it.
When would you say you received your prophetic calling and what specific incident gave you the assurance that God indeed had called you?
I grew up in a family with many pastors and prophets. So right from my childhood, I received prophetic revelations of how I was going to work for the Lord and do the bidding of the Father but I never took it really seriously but all the facts around me were pointing to my ordination. However, I eventually submitted to the will of the Father by becoming born again. So I discovered that I’m always outstanding in anything spiritual; my passion for the word was alarming. I read spiritual books like I was drinking water; I had several leadership portfolios in my secondary school, church and during my days on campus too. I also began to encounter God in a strange way most especially when I study the word of God. So on this particular day, my encounter with the Lord was so profound from the Book of Jeremiah 1:5 which says, “Before you were born I knew you and I ordained you to be a prophet unto the nations.”
So, you didn’t have any dream like many pastors would say?
I had several dreams too but I can’t share all but one of which I saw myself preaching to several people, ministering to the sick etc. I shared my profound encounter because I believe the word prevails above dreams and all.
When did you become born again?
This happened during my school days when I had my baptism around 2001/2002 though I had to do a rededication in 2009 when I had the full understanding of what I was going into fully.
Were you born into the C&S?
Yes, I was but as of the time I was born, my dad was in the Celestial Church of Christ while my mum was in the C&S Church. My secondary school was helpful in my spiritual voyage because when we were in JSS 2 or thereabouts, the missionary took over the school. So it was a Christian regulated environment which helped me to be dedicated at the fellowship. Those days, I played the drums for the fellowship.
So, when did you become ordained as a pastor and has there been any regret so far?
I became ordained officially as a Pastor in 2015. No regrets at all. All things work together for our good. But I have been travelling to preach for about 11 years now since my school days.
So, what informed your being an itinerant preacher?
I received an instruction from God and ever since I was dedicated to it.
What’s your opinion about prophets who have bastardised the prophetic ministry in the C&S?
The only issue we have in our time is the knowledge of the word. The prophetic is supposed to be an outflow of the word of God you have captured, therefore, the prophetic is regulated by the word of God. Anything short of this is a pseudo prophetic ministry. So I encourage such prophets to go for the word.
What’s your advice for C&S youths?
My advice to all youths is to remember our Creator in the days of our youth and to follow the will of God for our lives early enough. Then as much as we want to see a new C&S arise, we should do it peacefully, not in arrogance and pride. A change doesn’t occur in a day, it takes time.
Some people have said the C&S church does not do enough evangelism. Do you agree?
I agree that C&S do not engage in intense evangelism and I also do agree that God is now raising dogged and young evangelists in the fold. I believe in evangelism so much which is my core and area of concentration. I even organise outreaches to villages which we also intend to do this year provided we have enough fund but usually, we trust God for our finances
You are a vibrant prophet and a preacher and also good looking. How do you handle the opposite sex?
Smiles! In the Kingdom, there are principles that engender victorious living. I learnt from fathers in the faith especially those who were pure in this regard and I learnt the principle of setting boundaries and discipline, these are the two key factors that keep helping me against any of such advances from the opposite sex and to God be the glory that my fountain is pure till date and I pray for more Grace in the years ahead.
As an itinerant preacher, who is into full-time ministry, how do you cope with financial pressure?
Finance is one key factor that plagues ministers especially full-time itinerant preachers but for me, I rely solely on God for my finance. Whenever it shows up, I appreciate God and if it doesn’t, I count on God’s faithfulness. I don’t do beyond myself because I’m not in competition with anyone; I believe all that I need will fall in place at the appointed time. Many ministers are in a hurry that is why they engage in fraudulent acts or swindle people thereby becoming charlatans on the pulpit. The word that resonates with my spirit most often is MY GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL MY NEEDS ACCORDING TO HIS RICHES IN GLORY THROUGH CHRIST JESUS. No doubt there are times you’re down financially, yet we count on God’s faithfulness.
What’s your advice for prophets who tell lies because of their stomachs?
It’s absolutely unbiblical to lie because of stomach infrastructure; such doesn’t constitute the nature of God. If God didn’t call you into a full-time ministerial engagement, it is better to work because the bible says he that doesn’t work shouldn’t eat. Even as a full-time minister, God sometimes permits that you engage in businesses that could bring in incomes without affecting your ministerial effectiveness so as not to depend primarily on people for all your needs. That’s my piece of advice.
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