A Life Devoted to God and His People
Pastor Michael Olagoke Olawore was born in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on 1st December 1961 to the family of Mr Jacob Olawore and Mrs Adebimpe Deborah Olawore. He was the sixth child of seven children.
He attended Baptist Day School, Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire for his primary education, and moved from Côte d’Ivoire to Nigeria at the age of 12 where he lived with his half-brother. For his secondary education, he attended Baptist High School Ejigbo, Nigeria. While there, he had a passion for table tennis and was part of the school team. He also enjoyed playing football. He sat for his GCE “O” levels in June 1980 and graduated with a division one.
He later studied at Federal Polytechnic Idah, Nigeria, and graduated in 1982 with a diploma in electrical engineering. In that same year, he was admitted into the University of Ilorin where he continued his studies in electrical engineering and graduated in June 1986 with a second class: upper division.
He relocated to the UK in June 1989, and while settling down to life in the UK, he became aware of a nagging feeling of emptiness. Something in him told him that life had to be more than what he was currently experiencing in the empty pleasures of night clubs, drinking and worldly living. The things that used to excite him had begun to irritate him, and he began to seek to discover the purpose and essence of his life. So, when a friend invited him to Church, he honoured the invitation. Most of his unanswered questions were answered at that service, and in the evening of that day, he knelt down in his room crying and sobbing – he finally let go of the world of frustration and embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour!
From the moment that he gave his heart to the Lord, he began to experience deep-seated satisfaction, fulfilment and real joy. Life now became meaningful; for him, it was the beginning of real life! He settled down in a local Church and started attending the “Upper Room Fellowship” led by Dr Tayo Adeyemi. Later on, when Upper Room Fellowship became what is now known as New Wine Church, he played a pivotal role in its phenomenal growth, alongside the founding Pastor, Dr Tayo Adeyemi.
In 1990, he graduated from the computer science department of University of Greenwich with a diploma, and later did his Masters in Information Systems Engineering at London South Bank University (LSBU). At LSBU, he wrote and presented a dissertation on the topic – “Developing Information Systems for New Wine Church.” His presentation was rated the best in the department, and this was a defining moment in his burgeoning career.
From the time when he began his walk with the Lord, Pastor Michael would regularly visit brethren with the view to encourage them in the faith. His spiritual defining moment was in 1993 when he visited a woman who had been diagnosed with diabetes. He prayed for her and she was healed of her condition. This was a turning point in Pastor Michael’s walk with the Lord, and he became passionate and committed to ministering healing and hope to people.
Pastor Michael was the first Director of the ushering and protocol departments in New Wine Church. Under his leadership, the team grew significantly and was highly sought after whenever city-wide Christian conferences were organised. Amongst those conferences where he served were the London International Power Conference, Mission to London, and Prophetic Intercessory Prayer Conference. He was also instrumental in training ushers from other churches and ministries. Within New Wine Church operations, he was later redeployed to become head of the Warfare and Intercessory Team (WAIT), the prayer engine of the Church. Under his leadership, the team grew from 4 members to 140 strong, dynamic and seasoned intercessors. He led teams of intercessors on prayer marches to places within the community and to the Home Office to make prophetic declarations of peace and blessings over the society, and justice and fairness in executive decisions.
In 1993, he met Miss Ayotunde Olujumoke Sotire at a friend’s house. Their friendship blossomed into a relationship, and they got married on 21st May 1994. Theirs was the first wedding conducted in New Wine Church. A year later they were blessed with a set of twin boys, Emmanuel and Joshua. Later on, in 2002, they were blessed with a baby girl, Zoe, who is the apple of her father’s eye.
While Pastor Michael’s family was growing, so was his relationship with God and his commitment to ministry. In 1995, he was ordained a minister in the Church. He joined the corporate expression of the Church (New Wine International) as a full time staff, and in his capacity as the Executive Administrator of New Wine International, he was responsible for administering many of New Wine’s operations.
He was ordained as a Pastor on 25th July 2004. Shortly afterwards, he became the Executive Director of New Wine International, and was responsible for all of New Wine’s operations both in the UK and abroad. This included setting up and running New Wine International offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Pastor Michael’s biggest dream was to see the power of God flow through him to the extent that the demonstration of God’s power would become a normal, everyday occurrence. From the inception of New Wine Church, he served diligently alongside the founding Pastor, and contributed to the tremendous growth of the Church from 25 members, to the point where it has become one of the leading churches in the UK with over 3,000 members.
Pastor Michael became the Senior Pastor of New Wine in 2013, after the transition of the Founding Pastor, Dr Tayo Adeyemi. He continued to grow the ministry, expanding from one location in South-east London, to 15 other branches located in the UK and other nations such as Bulgaria, Luxembourg, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Canada.
He carried a distinctive mandate to empower people to understand and experience God’s grace, and to challenge them towards fulfilling their life’s purpose.
Pastor Michael served the Lord in full-time ministry for over 24 years. He possessed a unique passion for excellence, and an unceasing zeal to see people set free from spiritual bondage and experience God’s boundless blessings. He was relentless in stirring up the gifts and potential inside people, and challenging them so that they are propelled from where they are to where God wants them to be in order to fulfil their divine destiny. This was demonstrated in his tremendous work of equipping and impacting Church members and actively developing leaders around the world.
He was a seasoned conference speaker who shared the message of the Kingdom of God, the power of His grace and the love of Jesus Christ with tens of thousands of people in many countries including Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, Bulgaria, Uganda, Tanzania, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and the US. He was also the host of the Maximise Life TV broadcast that currently reaches over 140 million homes in over 150 nations weekly.
Pastor Michael was the CEO of New Wine International and was part of the board of directors of Creflo Dollar Ministries, Europe. He was also a respected community leader, sitting on the leadership boards of various organisations.
He held a firm conviction that the Church of God is God’s agency of positive transformation to the world. He believed that the Church had the responsibility to reach out beyond the walls of the worship centre in order to engage effectively with the community. This conviction was consistently demonstrated in Pastor Michael’s leadership, as he led New Wine Church to embark on many philanthropic programmes that continue to transform multiplied thousands of lives around the world.
In the Spring of 2017, under Pastor Michael’s visionary leadership, New Wine Church received a civic leadership award from the Royal Borough of Greenwich for “outstanding contribution to the social, economic and physical wellbeing of the community.”
Pastor Michael demonstrated a passionate love for God, unceasing love for people and a phenomenal commitment to the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
He placed an exceptional premium on a healthy family life and enjoyed 24 blissful years of marriage to his precious wife, Lady Ayo. She is an epitome of dignity and graceful womanhood, and was the quiet, prayerful tower of strength behind her husband’s success.
Following a courageous battle with illness, Pastor Michael transitioned into eternal glory on 6th July 2018. He has left a great legacy of faith, excellence, vision, divine wisdom and exemplary service that mark him out as a Kingdom trailblazer whose impact upon tens of thousands of lives within New Wine Church and around the world will forever be cherished.
We salute Pastor Michael and honour him as one of God’s chosen vessels of honour in this generation.
He is survived by his dearly beloved wife, Lady Ayo; his children, Emmanuel, Joshua and Zoe; his extended family and the family of New Wine Church in London and across the world.