Evangelist Mike Bamiloye born on Wednesday April 13, 1960, in Ilesa is an ecumenical icon and a knight of prophetic drama. Evangelist Mike at 60 brings to limelight the unity and ecumenical order of prophetic drama which is missional and counter-cultural. Evangelist Mike in one of his Instagram titled, “We Are Drama Ministers Not Nollywood Artistes,” declared the essence of prophetic drama. He said, “There is no value the Nollywood artistes are coming to add to the gospel movie productions.” The missional and counter-cultural nature of prophetic drama through gospel films, “heal and deliver from the powers of darkness,” unlike Nollywood films that “entertains and entangles with webs of human philosophy and ungodly principles.” According to Evangelist Mike, through prophetic drama ‘“people are getting happier with the result of gospel movie productions” as their souls and lives are getting touched with influence going far beyond the shores of Nigeria … Gospel movies set men free from the bondage of the Devil, by the power of the Holy Ghost. But Nollywood movies bound men in bondage of sins, immorality and violence. Therefore, there is no value the Nollywood artistes can add to the gospel movie productions.”
Evangelist Mike’s recognition in this tribute as an ecumenical icon and a knight of prophetic drama that unites denominations and other Christian dramatists and actors was born not just as men of rank but as a man redeemed, with warmed heart, and set apart to rescue the perishing through drama. Evangelist Mike, well gifted in writing and village evangelism started preaching at age 16 in the school chapel. With reference to one of his personal documentary, Evangelist Mike was trained as a teachers at the Divisional Teacher Training College (DTTC), Ipetumodu, where he met his wife, Sister Gloria Olusola Obembe. While at the training at Ipetumodu, he saw many miracle through drama ministry and this formed the basis and foundation of his calling into the drama ministry. At age 25, with his wife, the Mount Zion Faith Ministries began with the name Mount Zion Christian Productions on Monday 5th August, 1985. The ministry ‘borne out of burden and vision in the hearts of Evangelist Mike and Gloria Bamiloye to evangelise the world through the medium of drama and film productions’ was founded on spiritual preparation with faith in God, fasting, and prayer. On Friday, 11th July, 1986, the ministry had the first drama presentation titled ‘Hell in Conference.at St. Margaret Girls Grammar School. Ilesa during the first Nigerian Christian Teachers Conference.
As the demand of the ministry was increasing, Evangelist Mike resign from his teaching professional in 1987 to work full time as a prophetic dramatist and actor. He got married to his wife, Sister Gloria Olusola on Saturday 8th October, 1988. The marriage is blessed with three wonderful children, Damilola, Joshua and Gift. Sis Gloria Olusola Bamiloye like husband was also born in Ilesa on Tuesday 4th February, 1964.
For the Bamiloyes, the Bible is so dramatic in nature that it reveals the human condition in all its darkness and the need for redemption in Christ Jesus. For the Bamiloyes, ‘God is dramatic’ with reference to ‘the Burning Bush, the opening of the Read Sea, the Pillar of Fire, the Holy Spirit as a flame, the crucifixion of Jesus.’ The impact of Evangelist Mike at 60 is to renew and rekindle our missional focus and attention, so as to prepare us for the gospel message that follows drama in order to make the message more understandable and hope of the penitent.
Evangelist Mike at 60 invites us to the significance of drama in the proclamation of the gospel. Unlike, Apostle Moses Olaiya, popularly called Baba Sala, a comedian, dramatist and actor, Evangelist Mike is a prophetic dramatist and actor. Prophetic drama is beyond the concept of ‘a composition, in prose or poetry, accommodated to action and intended to exhibit a picture of human life, or to depict a series of grave or humorous actions of more than ordinary interest, tending towards some striking result.’ Prophetic drama which appeals to all ages is counter-cultural with an effective and a long lasting message in people’s heart which lead them into knowing Christ.
In one of his books, ‘Is Drama in the Bible?’, Evangelist Mike explained that, ‘if acting drama, behaving like demons, acting like harlots, herbalists and masquerades on stage is getting people to the kingdom of God but has no scriptural justification, then we drama ministers are in horrible danger.’ Prophetic drama is not just about imitating real life situations and characters, using actors and actresses who are human being and seen as such by the audience. Prophetic drama appeals to ‘people’s spirituality in terms of making decision on whom to follow whether to follow God or Devil.’ Prophetic drama is not aimed at entertainment but rescuing the perishing through soul winning and revival of the body of Christ.
Against the historical position and arguments on the use of drama for gospel propagation as not biblical thereby castigating ‘drama as amoral and actors as hypocrites,’ Evangelist Mike as an ecumenical knight is on the front-line to counter this assumption. In his response to a question on the drama ministry during a Drama Ministers conference in Ilorin in 1996, Evangelist Mike reference to the words of Apostle Paul to the Corinthians provides some important focus: “To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews, to man under the law, I became as one under the law … that I might win those under the law” (1 Cor 9:20). The point of emphasis is about ‘became as,’ that is ‘acted as’ in reference to drama acting ministry. Evangelist Mike at 60 brings to limelight the importance of drama ministry. Beyond the preaching ministry that ‘makes the congregation or listeners to sleep off at times when interest dwindle,’ drama ministry not only sustain attention and comprehension of a message, ‘people tend to understand faster, and retain better and longer what they see than what they hear.’ The impact of drama on Evangelist Mike and Mount Zion Drama Ministry grants power and revelations to withstand evil forces, temptation of the flesh and vanity of life especially when one reflect on holiness and Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Evangelist Mike’s passion goes beyond a particular denomination. His main burden is the body of Christ and using the words of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, the world is Evangelist Mike’s parish. Mount Zion Drama Ministry is about mission without border. The inspiration behind Evangelist Mike and Mount Zion Drama Ministry points to how Jesus practised drama evangelism and ministry. For example, Jesus as “a master raconteur” did not tell ‘the parables in a flat monologue.’ Just as Jesus did, Evangelist Mike ‘enlivened the stories with different voices for different characters, gestures, facial expressions, which must have been something very close to street theater.’ For Evangelist Mike and Mount Zion Drama Ministry, drama is not just theater. To them, ‘drama is dramatic; it portrays the human condition such that it identifies with what is going on … Drama is all about human condition (spiritual) with its failure, triumphs, weakness, glories, tragic times and its hilarity.’
Happy birthday to a model and pioneer of Christian drama. You and your wife left everything to travel across the length and breadth of Nigeria to reawakening Nigerian Christianity, especially the youth. I remember, in the late 80s, as a student and Choir leader, Christ Chapel, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, l came to your office opposite Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, to invite you and your ministry, Mount Zion Drama Ministry to minister during our Choir anniversary at Ondo. Without any delay, l went back to Ondo with a date. When l asked you about the cost, you simply said, “God will provide.” You came to Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, with your team.
Towards the middle of the ministration, the entire audience that filled the College Auditorium were in tears of repentance, In response, many students and lecturers gave their lives to Christ during the altar call. Around 12:30 a m when everyone have gone to their hostels, Evangelist Mike and his team as usual started their team prayer session bearing in mind that they collectively fast throughout their ministrations. It took the intervention of some of our lecturers before you agreed to receive our token to support Mount Zion Drama Ministry.
When we met later in the late 90s as a Minister at Wesley Methodist Cathedral, Olowogbowo, during an award ceremony presented to Mount Zion Drama Ministry, by the Light Bearers Society, Olowogbowo, you simply said to me, “Deji, you are an answer to prayer for the church.”
As at 2019, Mount Zion Drama Ministry have produced 212 movies since their beginning of film production in 1990. Some of the movies are ‘in French, Nupe, Hausa, Portuguese Creole, Ewe, Lingala and Hindi. According to Evangelist Mike, “We have given rooms for missionaries to translate the movies into other languages. We cannot do everything, but we give out scripts and they do the translation.” Drama beyond borders indeed.
The turning point for Mount Zion Drama Ministry was the Agbara Nla film. Evangelist Mike said, “Before Agbara Nla, our orientation wasn’t so broad. We were quite conservative in our approach and were very selective of the people we work with. However, Christ opened us up to embrace his love and we produced Agbara Nla. 90 per cent of those who took part in that movie were students of the Mount Zion Institute of Christian Drama that was starting at the time.”
On the growth of the ministry, Evangelist Mike said, as ‘the Lord continue to increasing the work of our hand; the ministry has expanded into many evangelistic arms: Drama Outreaches, Film Production, Drama Institute, Production Studios, T.V. Production Outreach and Publications. And on May 1st 2016, the Africa’s first Christian Movie Channel was launched called: Mount Zion Television. It launched in Nigeria on CONSAT-TV in Nigeria and came forth in the USA on June 1st, 2016 on TVAFRIQUE.’
Evangelist Mike, happy renewing 60th birthday to you. The rest of your years shall be the best together with your beloved wife in Jesus’ mighty name.