Pastor Simeon Andafa, Founder, Shammah Divine Zion Ministry International
Pastor Simeon Obiobo Andafa, the founder of Shammah Divine Zion Ministry International headquartered in Warri, Delta State, is by no means a poor man. Rather, he is a man of many parts.
He is a high profiled but quietly influential man of God and spiritual heads of one of the biggest Cherubim and Seraphim churches in the country.
Also remarkable is the awareness that Simeon Obiobo Andafa is an accomplished businessman and most importantly, an elder statesman.
Pastor Andafa who spoke to GbaramatuVoice explained his journey to righteousness and the kind of changes he wants to make in his lifetime, there are in fact fundamental reasons why this documented encounter with him qualifies as a must read.
GbaramatuVoice: Can we meet you?
Pastor Andafa:Yes, sure you can. My name is Pastor Simeon Obiobo Andafa, founder of Shammah Divine Zion Ministry International, headquartered in Warri, Delta State. I am also a businessman and entrepreneur.
GbaramatuVoice: Tell us about your growing up?
Pastor Andafa: Interesting! I was born on the 12th of December 1959 into the family of Mr Jacob Andafa Ayatu Peretorugbene and Bekere Andafa nee Nditobou at Amabolou, in Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Growing up for me was filled with mixed emotions and experiences. I didn’t grow as a normal child. After the 8th day of my birth, I became very sick, and this continued until I was 8 years old. Through the course of these 8 years, I didn’t move, walk or talk. At age 9, I was miraculously healed and began to live a normal life. I practically missed out on all the activities as a child for these eight years, and I spent the remaining 6 years trying to catch up.
I started primary school at age 13 at Zuokumor Primary School, Ojobo, my maternal home. I would say, I was a very brilliant student and got double promotions to compensate for my years as a vegetable. As I became stronger, I started fishing with my mother in Torutuboyai creek near Ogbotobo, Bayelsa State.
GbaramatuVoice: You are a businessman and entrepreneur; how did you arrive at becoming a Pastor?
Pastor Andafa: Well, as a young boy, I started a family very early. Business for me was first to be able to provide for my family. I started out with a number of menial jobs to be able to put food in the mouth of my wife and child. So through the years as I worked with God and with various churches, it was already a part of me to do business and still be a Pastor.
GbaramatuVoice: How did you find God and when was that?
Pastor Andafa: Hmmm, find God? I think it’s the other way round. God found me and decided to use me. But in order to answer your question I will tell you a short story from my first encounter with God. In 1977, I experienced a total turn around in my life. It was a cloudy day and I was outside playing a table tennis game. Suddenly, there was a great downpour and lightning and thunder struck. Immediately I fell under the influence of the Holy Spirit and I began to spin in the rain. This experience increased my love and service to God and gave me a new hunger to know God and His word. The impact of this experience is what gave birth to everything I became afterwards.
GbaramatuVoice: How did you start Shammah Divine Ministry and what is the vision behind the Church?
Pastor Andafa: On the 3rd of February, 1981, I left Warri to Ogulagha through a local wooden boat, on the same day, I got accommodated by members of the C&S church of No one Zion, Ogulagha. Initially, I settled in the community as a committed Christian and a workman. Eventually, God began to work through me greatly in the community of Ogulagha doing so many signs and wonders. I then went to the school of theology, Ugbo-Nla, Ondo State and was Ordained a Pastor, by His Holiness, Dr. E. L. Ogunfeyemi Primate and Founder of C & S Church of Zion Worldwide in 1986.
In 1988, there was a serious controversy in the ordinations and rankings of the church leadership, which lead to my disassociation from the C&S church, Ogulagha and began my own ministry- Then known as Sama Central Zion, Ogulagha, and now Shammah Divine Zion Ministry Int’l. I Started with the idea to transform the Zion church to a more word focused church as I began to question the doctrines of the church. I was furious and my search for answers led me to start a movement with the transformational mandate for the white garment church. This is the Vision behind Shammah Divine. The transformational mandate for white garment churches.
GbaramatuVoice: Where would you like to see Shammah Divine Zion Ministry go from here?
Pastor Andafa: Honestly, my passion is not limited to my church, Shammah in quote, I would like to see a flock of white garment churches relevant in their worship and fellowship on a global level, where people will not first discriminate against anyone with a white garment but can accept and worship with them. Hence, the vision of Shammah is a Church for global relevance.
GbaramatuVoice: Tell us the new things you have introduced to the C&S church?
Pastor Andafa: In these 31years of my independence, I have by God’s grace and revelation been able to bring in some revolutionary transformation in the garment churches which include; The need for building a befitting Cathedral for worship; Changing the positions of the chairs and sitting arrangements in the church; Stopping the reading of the three (3) forgiveness Psalms in services; Stop reciting the Apostle creeds; Reading of first and second lessons to a world-class weekly devotional now title- ‘Your Life News’ as Sunday school; Providing a platform for Zion women to thrive as pastors and preachers of the Gospel; Changing the styles of garment to be more befitting and globally accepted; Creating program topics/themes/and discussion focus; Stopped the pulling of shoes both for members and ministers on the altar; Removed the cultural local band for worship; Converted the Zion hymns into English for global recognition; Stopped the pulling of earrings and jewelries in church; Recently started a world-class foundation academy called Basics of Christian life Academy and more.
GbaramatuVoice: What advice do you have for young churches on developing leaders and structures for tremendous growth?
Pastor Andafa: My advice is simple, stay true to the God that called you, keep your focus on Him, draw your strength from Him and allow Him to lead you into your victory. This is the simple principle that guides me daily regardless of all the challenges in leadership.
GbaramatuVoice: What trends do you see now in the younger generation that worries you; and what are the things that you are praying about for the younger generation especially in the Niger Delta?
Pastor Andafa: I am worried because the younger generation is not habiting the culture of patience. There is so much hurry to become and ignore the process it takes. However, my prayer daily is that these younger ones will be able to catch the vision well and take the baton from us with more knowledge to be able to do it better than the way we did and become globally relevant as youths from the C&S as well as the Niger Delta.
GbaramatuVoice: As a Christian leader, what do you think is the way forward for the Niger Delta region?
Pastor Andafa: It is simple, the word of God says, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and we must know the truth because it is the way to our freedom.
I admonished that our political leaders should lead with the fear of God by having the people they govern most, especially the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow. For Decades, the Niger Delta has been significantly insufficient in their investment in youths. The little resources we receive from the Intervention Agencies should be invested mostly on education. I believe this will be exonerating for the region in the future, as these young ones will be well informed and positioned to better utilize the untapped opportunities in Niger Delta and bring the light of attention from all over the world.