With the passing of Papa Joseph Bolajoko Agboola, a long time Methodist Local Preacher and grassroots evangelist, Methodist Church Nigeria and the world have lost a great and true servant of God. Pa Agboola, a man of many parts was there for me as a prayer partner in 1993 when I joined Methodist Church Nigeria as Conference Editor. I have lost a dear evangelical leader and father.
A native of Fiditi, and born on May 6th, 1944, Pa Agboola’s ‘preaching wove together his love for the New Testament, his passion for evangelism, and a deep sense of care and compassion for the people.’ He retired from his banking profession at National Bank of Nigeria to focus on street and boat evangelism, preaching from street to street in Lagos, and from one boat to another and on many occasions paying the fare for stranded passengers. He was part of the movement with Mr Oye Akinyemi, Sir Remi Omotoso and many others from Methodist Church, Obalende, Ikoyi, to plant Wesley Church, Araromi, Lagos. He was part of the foundation members, Araromi Choir. His main purpose was to lead the members to Christ. According to Sir Peter Olorunfemi, Pa Agboola was a major instrument with his humility and soft voice that God used to point many members of the church to Christ. Pa Agboola was passionate about his convictions … “he had an open smiling face and a nature both eager and serious.”
Pa Agboola was the Coordinator, Methodist Evangelical Movement (MEM), Araromi. He worked and prayed ceaselessly with the leadership in Lagos Diocese under Archbishops Obaba, Odubanjo, Ajayi, Odejayi, and Wesley Cathedral, Olowogbowo, MEM leadership – Bro Femi Osundahunsi, Architect Olumuyiwa, Engr Gbolahan Osinuga and many others. Pa Agboola’s remarkable capacity to encourage others in their faith and in exploring their callings led many to explore ordination, local preacher course, missionary work, or ways of ensuring their faith and professional callings were woven together. Pa Agboola completely dedicated his time, talents, and interests to the work and ministry of our Lord. He has been a sterling example of love for his family and fellowmen and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Pa Agboola’s leadership has been a credit, not only to members of the Araromi church, but to his communities in Fiditi, Ikorodu, and Methodism in Nigeria. Pa Agboola’s distinguished stewardship … was an inspiration … and we are confident that the legacy of his evangelical works will extend far into the future. Nigerian Methodist evangelicals have been enhanced by the strength, energy, and vision of Pa Agboola’s for God’s Kingdom.
Papa Agboola was a model Christian leader, husband, and father without guile, open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Pa Agboola legacy lies mainly in the lives of the many people who he advised and encouraged and who found in him a gracious and winsome Christian with a passion for his faith and a love for his Lord. There are many like me especially in Nigerian Methodism, who count themselves wiser and richer through knowing Pa Agboola, and who will point to him as a leading influence on their lives and thought. In 2018, Pa Agboola was awarded Member Order of Wesley (MOW) by Methodist Church Nigeria in recognition of his missional roles in the church.
Pa Agboola led and introduced people to Jesus through his life example. He was a wonderful paradox: ‘an evangelical conservative fundamentalist who treated people as if she was an all-forgiving progressive liberal of the most tolerant variety.’ Pa Agboola ‘sense of the divine in all things human remains as an abiding legacy for all generations.” Pa Agboola was a leader for the hour and a very punctual prayer warrior at night prayer vigils across Lagos diocese. The Araromi, Epe, and Jakande Estate local churches prospered through his commitment and his prophetic ministry was a blessing. Pa Agboola will be forever remembered for his personal courage, his love of people, and his Christlike qualities. Until his change of address and transition on Sunday 1st November, 2020, Pa Agboola was a great exemplar of righteousness, an extraordinary missionary and evangelist. I testify by personal association that he was indeed a prophet, a seer, and revelator.
Papa Agboola’s vision and evangelical ‘leadership focused on the threefold mission of the Church—to proclaim the gospel, to perfect the Saints, and to redeem the dead.’ Let us pray that his family and all members of the church will be consoled with the knowledge that the death of his servant is never untimely and that Pa Agboola now goes to his eternal reward.