Ola Joseph Kolawole is a Social Media strategist who harnesses the benefits of the ICT to impact lives through his inspiring articles. He is a Pastor by calling and presently an Assistant Pastor in The Apostolic Church Nigeria. Kola has authored and published 3 books and some ebooks. He is the Team Coordinator at Restoration Today.
In this interview, he shares his success stories; his source of motivation and what we should expect from him in the next 5 years, among other things. Enjoy!
Can I meet you?
I am Ola Joseph Kolawole. Some church folks call me “Pastor K.” But I’d rather be referred to simply as Kola.
If they call you ‘Pastor K’ then you must be a Pastor, right?
By calling, yes. By title, the designation my church gave me is an “Assistant Pastor” because I’m yet to be fully ordained.
Tell me more about your calling and ministry
Whoa! That’s my life. As I said, I’m called to “Pastor”. The right word that depicts the job description is to “shepherd”, to raise a “flock”. The mandate God gave me the very day that I came to terms with my calling was to raise a generation of PRACTICAL Christians by the teaching and preaching of the Gospel of God’s Grace. That has defined, in a way, what my ministry is.
“Ministry” in highly simplified terms, means “what you do”. So, my ministry is to basically USE WORDS to SHAPE LIVES. That’s what I do. Use WORDS–spoken, written, displayed, and lived–to SHAPE lives! I think that summarizes it!
That appears deep. For how long have you gotten this mandate?
Well, what I stated above did not come to me like that in those exact same words in a singular moment. God has a way of PROGRESSIVELY REVEALING His mandate to each and every one of us.
I’ve been into this “thing” about using WORDS to influence and shape lives as far back as 1998. That’s about 17 years ago. Then, a teacher (who I can no longer remember his name) came to the primary school I attended and created a Press Club. He recruited the best brains (going by our report cards) in Primary 3, 4 and 5 and had a meeting with us about what he thought we could do and gave us the choice to join or not. (I was in Primary 4, then). I joined, and no sooner had I joined than I became the Editor-in-Chief of the Press Club.
Basically, we gather and broadcast News across the school, the state and even the nation. And besides, we write articles and paste them on the school notice board. That was where the flames of words was kindled in my little heart and the journey started. That’s it. 17 years ago!
How have you constantly carried it on without missing your message for 17 Years?
Oh! I did miss the message for a long time. Or to put it in another way, I didn’t understand the PURPOSE of my WORD-POWER for quite a long while. I was just writing. I wasn’t “saved”. I was just a “Christian”. So I could write something godly and inspiring today and something erotic the next. I was just using words in the direction of my impulses…until 2006. That’s when I gave my life to Christ. 18th of June. (Well, that wasn’t my “first” time, but that was my “last” time). So since then, I had this understanding that my existence is really not about me. I discovered that I am on this planet to do the bidding of My Source (God) and that everything I have (which He actually gives me, for I, personally have NOTHING) is supposed to be used to bring Him pleasure (including “my” GIFTS and TALENTS). So, words took on a new dimension in my life from thence onward. And, boy, there was a greater result! So that was when I’ll say I got a “message”. And what has kept me constantly going with the “message” is that I communicate daily with the Source of the Message. I am but a Messenger.
And how has it been ever since you got the message right (in 2006)?
~smiles~ It’s been awesome. I’ll use an allegory. I see each and every one of us as a singer. I believe that God has made each of us with a unique melody that the world should benefit from. [bctt tweet=”I believe that God has made each of us with a unique melody that the world should benefit from.”] We start learning that song when we get to start having a relationship with Him (The Melody Giver). So in my own case, I met the right singers along my path that kept urging me on to sing my Unique Melody while they are also learning and rehearsing theirs.
So, I always had people around me that seemed to see farther into my future and kept encouraging me to stay undistracted to get there. I’ll do something that, to me, isn’t really exceptional, but they will celebrate it and encourage me to do it even better. That kept me going. And the most important of “those people” is the “Holy Spirit”
I started out with poems. I wrote a lot of poems between 2006 and 2010. I almost authored my first collection of poems which I titled “Echoes from the Noema” in 2008 but got stuck in the publishing process. (I was using a foreign publisher). But eventually, my first book came out in December 2009 and was launched in January 2010. It’s titled The Salvation Journey [download]. A second book came out while I was wrapping up my NYSC year in Gombe State in February 2012. Then a third book in 2013 (titled ALIVE…Living in the Power of Grace and Truth) I’ve done a couple of eBooks, too. I run different blogs. My main blog now can be found at www.josephkolawole.org
I also have a Facebook outreach ministry. Facebook has been a major platform for me to give expression to the mandate that the Lord gave me. I joined in 2009 and as at 2011, I already have 5,000 friends (Facebook maximum friends limit). As at today, I still have over 1000 friendship requests but there’s no more space to add them so they just “follow” my posts, I have over 150 published notes on Facebook and the list goes on and on. God has been faithful!
What is responsible for the Facebook gulp?
The secret is simple. I think I can pin-point 3 main things:
- The SINCERITY of my posts. I will hardly make a point without unveiling a failure or a triumph in my personal life to back it up. People relate faster with such people. When I went public with really personal issues like my struggle with lust, porn and masturbation, it reached out to the real people out there going through the same struggles. I get messages every other day from one person or another seeking counsel about this or that, and the network keeps enlarging.
- The TRUTH is what I share. And guess what? When the truth is presented practically, it reaches out to people. “Where the carcass is, the eagles gather!” Isn’t that what the scripture says?
- The OBJECTIVITY in my presentation. I don’t write or share stuffs as though I know-it-all. Often times, I associate myself with one of those that I am writing to. When I’m touching on sensitive and controversial issues (and I do that sometimes), I don’t write as an authority on the matter; I simply share the truth about it according to the understanding that God has given me and according to the TIMES that we are in. And I leave you to believe what you want to believe.
But there’s a no 4. And I can bet that it’s even the most important. I live what I share. Two people can share the same post verbatim and yet reaches out to people in far different levels. The difference is in the heart from which the posts came. I am a sincere-down-to-earth believer. I admit my failures and bless God for my triumphs and I understand that God can work with ALL of them. So that adds a “dimension” to my writings. It’s called the GRACE of God. That’s what generates the result in people’s lives–not the write-up in itself.
You appear to be blessed in talents and gifts. How were you able to do discover and develop your talents?
We all are blessed in talents and gifts. That’s the Unique Melody I was referring to earlier. God gave each one of us a zone, a region, a life precinct in which we were made to dwell. He tailored the curves of our life to fit an empty space in His jigsaw puzzle. And life makes sweet sense when we find our spot. I discovered mine, PROGRESSIVELY. How?Five questions helped me out on that…
- What are my strengths? God gave me a knack for certain things – Reading, writing, working on computer gadgets, good music, amongst other things. Stuffs I do often with seemingly little effort.
- What is my topic? The objects I enjoy working with… God said concerning the builder (Bezaleel). ‘I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, intelligence, and skill IN ALL KINDS OF CRAFTS. He is able to create beautiful objects from gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in cutting and setting gemstones and in carving wood. Yes, he is a master at every craft!’ (Exod. 31:3-5). That’s his topic. Mine? The GRACE of God and the instrument? Words! (Spoken and written)
- What are my optimal conditions? I discovered the factors that trigger my motivation. When I see people struggle in an area, I see an opportunity to share “the truth”. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. When I see people in some sort of darkness (of ignorance, perhaps), I shed “this little light of mine!”
- What Relationships is God bringing my way? I study my moments of satisfaction and success and observe that they were hinged on some relationships. God brought me all kinds of relationship to keep me on His pre-determined purpose for my life.
- What makes me shout “Yes!” There are opportunities of responsibility that gives me a “Yes!” when I’m offered such. There are assignments that I’d been given that got a “Yes!” screaming in the silent crevices of my heart. Those were pointers to my purpose and ministry.
Strengths. Topic. Optimal Conditions. Relationships. Yes! S-T-O-R-Y
That’s my story! And each of us has one!
I learnt those 5 questions from Max Lucado (one of my favourite all time authors!)
Did you put all these into consideration before you studied microbiology in school?
~laughs out loud~ Left to me, I wouldn’t have studied Microbiology. I fought to opt for Arts in my SS1 but most of my teachers taught otherwise (but I was not determined enough to go for what I wanted). So my exceptional academic performance dwindled its way through Sciences in Senior Secondary School and I found myself studying Microbiology. At some point, I wanted to change the course, I had even obtained and filled a change of course form but God specifically led me not to. He says that the journey through MCB holds some interesting preparations for where He’s taking me to. And I believed Him. And today, I can see what He meant!
What are the things you have seen?
Isn’t that supposed to be “personal”? ~smiles~
Really? No problem then. What do you hold to be your greatest asset?
Tangible or Intangible? Apart from the Bible (which is both tangible and intangible) my library collection of over 8,000 books.
You have that much collection of books?
Yeah. Mostly eBooks
Can you imagine you without those assets, stressing their individual role in making you who you are today?
The world can never run out of books! So if for any reason the 8000+ disappears, I’ll start building up the collections again. Thanks to technology. And the Bible? What if some crazy rule came up that forbids reading the Bible again? I’ll tell you a story I heard.
At the time Martin Luther was having his Bible printed in Germany, a printer’s daughter encountered God’s love. No one had told her about Jesus. Toward God she felt no emotion but fear. One day she gathered fallen pages of Scripture from the floor. On one paper she found the words ‘For God so loved the world that he gave.’ The rest of the verse had not yet been printed. Still, what she saw was enough to move her. The thought that God would give anything moved her from fear to joy. Her mother noticed the change of attitude.
When asked the cause of her happiness, the daughter produced the crumpled piece of partial verse from her pocket. The mother read it and asked, ‘what did he give?’ The child was perplexed for a moment and then answered, ‘I do not know. But if He loved us well enough to give us anything, we should not be afraid of Him?’ (From “It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado)
If an incomplete verse could do so much wonders, how about the volumes of verses that has become a part of me already? They are more than sufficient, after all, THE WORD HIMSELF DWELLS IN ME!
How will you evaluate your journey so far and where can you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Glory to God. My journey so far has been a journey of GRACE. God has been faithful! And where do I see myself in 5 years? (That’s 2021). I see myself in the centre of God’s plan for my life for certain.
Married with kids and impacting my sphere of influence on a larger scale, especially through ICT.
Finally, on a hilarious note, much have been said about your handsome look, how do you manage that?
~laughs out loud~ I simply acknowledge the compliments and make an unspoken statement to the “complimentor”.
Complimentor: Oh! you really look handsome in this picture
My Spoken response: Thanks (with a smile or a smiley)
Unspoken Response: As if I didn’t know…
Thanks for your time, sir
You are welcome, sir.