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16 May

The height great men attained is indeed not by sudden flight; they had toiled and resolved to making the best out of the chances life had dealt them with.

On 6th June, 1941 there was born a dreamer in a small, humble town in Southwestern Nigeria, Osun state, in a major town called Erin Ijesa. He grew as a determined and brilliant young boy in that same state.

On completing his primary school education, he was admitted into Mayflower School at Ikenne, near Ibadan, where he obtained his O’level certificate in 1961. He was quite ingenious.

William Kumuyi was retained to teach mathematics at Mayflower shortly after his graduation. He resumed classrooms in 1962. He loves to teach. If 100% don’t have excellent grades in his class, 98% or 95% would surely do. It was a rewarding and remarkable opportunity to him. “I relished it,” he commented.

In 1962, his father, Gabriel Kumuyi Akinfenwa passed away – the year he completed his first degree in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan. He graduated with a first class honours. The incidence couldn’t kill his dream. He moved on with life.

If you’ve heard of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, you are sure to know they are very disciplined and unique set of Christians. A small Bible Study Group which he started in his flat with 15 people as pioneer members, when he was a lecturer of Mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1973 is what has grown into what is regarded as the largest single congregation in Africa – with over 120,000 people in attendance for a single service. He has churches established in every continent of the world.

I have been studying successful people and related with some of them. Something I’ve found common in them is their resolve and determination to hold on to their core principles or values, in any condition. If you desire to be a great leader, you will have to put these 5 principles into perspective and live them:

1. Dare to Dream

In his book, Join This Wagon (a youth counsel series), Pastor Kumuyi wrote: “Dreamers own the world, shape the world and rule the world.” Dream gives direction. People will follow the man or woman that knows the way.

2. Define the ‘Why’ for Living

If you don’t have some guidelines to lead your life, it will seem an undefined journey. Your sincere and clearly defined principles will serve as a road map to where you are going. For Kumuyi, he lives on Biblical Principles – the best you can ever live on! He is a holiness preacher.

3. Your Principles will be Tested

Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi’s leadership experienced a defining moment 3 years after he started the church. This time he had intentionally opted out of the lecturing profession for full time ministry. In 1978, he held a crusade in Kumasi, Ghana – where 750 people decided for Christ, and volunteered to be under his leadership. In no doubt, he returned to Lagos excited.

A month after, after he’d told them of his doctrine on holiness and his core principles that are built on Scripture, he returned to Kumasi for follow-up. He expected growth, but he was faced with reality: he met only 30 people of a 750 congregation, with only 2 pastors left. His leadership was clearly tested. Did he give up on his principles? No, he didn’t. Was he discouraged? Sure enough he was, but I know he didn’t give up either. I’d say he had only the committed people left under him.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself over what’s gone. Instead, use what’s you are left with. It’s all you need to become all you want to be. Today, the church’s branch in Ghana is the 2nd largest of its kind after the headquarters in Lagos. His courage paid off.

4. Learn to Master Change

It is true that we don’t control what happens ‘to’ us. But it is also true that we can control what happens ‘with’ us. It’s said that the only constant in life is change. To be an effective leader or to achieve any real success, you have to be realistic enough to know what is changing around you and it’s effect on where you’re going. Analyse the conditions and think of the effects in the long run. Ask yourself if it will favour you or not. If it will, draw up a plan to make most of it. If it won’t, figure out how you can make a difference. Some will involve taking risk. Be sure to take necessary chances. If you master change, you’ll make the best of it; but if change masters you, it will make the best out of you likewise. Will you master change or will change master you?

5. Have a Positive Attitude

Most people have lost their fire. Life has pushed them down time after time. Successful people really don’t live a trouble-free life, they only know how to go through dark moments with their gaze fixed on the goal. My friend Eyitayo Olawuyi asserted, “Life wasn’t created to live us; we were created to live life.”

Anytime you suffer a setback, take a break, learn the lessons, put your mind together, do it again differently, and you will find yourself in a good position for a greater comeback!
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