An evangelist, founder, and president of Mount Zion Faith Ministries International, Mike Bamiloye is also a renowned Nigerian film actor, dramatist, producer, and director.
He was born on Wednesday, April 13, 1960, at Ilesha, into the family of Pa Samuel Adejuyigbe Bamiloye and Mrs. Grace Ebun Bamiloye of Ijebu-Ijesha descent, in the same state. That same year, in the same Ilesha town, was when another son of destiny, Enoch Adejare Adeboye, who would later become the General Overseer of RCCG to spread the church across the world, finished his secondary school. On July 26, the then foremost revivalist in Nigeria and the first General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, left the stage of gospel ministry following his death. Mike Bamiloye is considered a child of destiny due to the circumstances of his birth.
The child who would later take over the stage of gospel ministry through gospel drama and would also be a part of the great spiritual revival in Nigeria and Africa was named Abayomi; meaning, “Enemies would have gloated over my misfortune, had I not given birth to this boy”. The long delay in having another child, many years after his elder sister was born was the reason for the name. It was a rough and tough beginning as madam Grace Ebun Bamiloye died four years later leaving the little Abayomi, who has Christened Michael as his baptismal name.
Early Life, Education, and career/ ministry
He first trained at Divisional Teachers’ Training College at Ipetumodu, near Ile-Ife, to become a Grade 2 Teacher. He worked briefly for one year as a teacher. He then attended the College of Education. He graduated at the College of Education Ilesha, Osun State to become a fully qualified teacher who could teach in secondary schools between 1980 and ’83. After bagging his NCE he went for the NYSC program (1984-85) and at the end started teaching.
He soon realized that the teaching profession was just to prepare him for his leadership roles in the future and to teach a lot of people a new career, drama evangelism, which never had a curriculum or as many people the way to God and living godly life via drama. When he was at the College of Education, he got so much involved in drama evangelism, going from campus to campus to do evangelical drama presentations
After his youth service (NYSC) program in 1985, while working as a teacher, he went back to be College of Education to be directing their drama presentations and writing scripts for them. In one of the rehearsal programs one evening, the coordinator of the College Theatre Group asked a student to lead a prayer, who then asked the brethren to pray and commit the ministry of ‘Bro Mike Bamiloye’ into God’s hands that God will use him more and that he would succeed. It was that prayer point that struck his mind and opened his eyes to know that the drama was a ministry.
It was that evening that it occurred to him that the drama presentations they were carrying out to do evangelism were the ministry God has called him into. From that moment he began to move with that sense of vision, to fulfil the ministry and his destiny. He founded Mount Zion on August 5, 1985
His debut drama, titled Hell in Conference was staged at the National Christian Teachers Conference in 1986 at Ilesa in Osun State. He has featured, produced, and directed several Nigerian films over the years.
Like in a well-scripted drama, Bamiloye would not start his ministry without first getting the God-ordained wife for him. So he fasted and prayed many times to get the right wife, who will be the No.1 member of his inner caucus in his ministry. All the sisters he was approaching and proposing to as he was fasting and praying, turned down the proposal.
When he now got tired and almost confused, he met Miss Gloria Olusola Obembe, a gifted sister in the drama group he was directing, who was also trusting God for the right husband. And without stress, the duo met each other and divinely knew each was the right partner God has been preparing for both.
Like an actor playing a well-scripted role, the moment Gloria accepted to be his wife on Saturday 4th August 1985, he announced that now the ministry will start.
So the next day, 5th August 1985, he gathered members and they started praying and fasting, holding meetings and sharing God’s word in solid preparation for one year, to start the ministry.
So, the 25-year-old Bamiloye started the Mount Zion Faith Ministries International with his fiancée, Gloria, and the team members like someone acting a divine programme to help the evangelical and missionary efforts of the indigenous churches from Nigeria.
You Can’t Marry Gloria: Bamiloye’s efforts to marry Gloria was rejected by their parents on the ground that the man had no job. They kicked against a jobless man marrying Gloria. Bamiloye had resigned his teaching job and started full-time drama ministry. No salary, no fixed allowance from any quarters. And the intending couple were together in the ministry that had no tangible and “reliable” source of income. This to them was the most foolish thing any Christian could do. Drama ministry, they made it clear, is not among the ministries mentioned in the Holy Bible.
Despite the rejection and opposition, however, the bride and the bridegroom went ahead and married in 1988, according to God’s leading. Evangelist Mike married on October 8, 1988, to Gloria Bamiloye, a Nigerian film actress and evangelist, and the marriage is blessed with three children, Damilola Bamiloye, Joshua Bamiloye, and Gift Bamiloye.
The outcome of the adventure the young couple and the other seven couples embarked on however fetched them a lot of poverty amid progress. As they were going from school to school, church to church, village to village, getting applauded for powerful ministrations, the honorarium they were being given was not encouraging but they kept on forging ahead amidst the tough times, as God kept on confirming his presence with them.
Sometimes in the early days, while they were in Kano for a month drama ministrations on stage some movie marketers came with their cameras and recorded the drama to sell without their permission. The pastor who hosted them thought they were the ones who invited those cameramen while Bamiloye thought the pastor arranged for the recording.
When they eventually discovered and decided to stop them the next day, according to Bamiloye, God told them to allow those people to play their smart game to help them spread the gospel via videos. Of course, this seemingly stupid action helped Bamiloye and his team because they didn’t have the resources to do a video recording of their staged drama, and those who had the means helped to advertise them cheaply and also gave them a copy of the master-tape which they also reproduced in mass quantities later and began to sell in every place where they carried out drama ministrations thereafter. This also gave them the courage to start film productions.
After producing their first movie in 1990, “The Unprofitable Servants” a man took the film to an NTA station, Tejuosho, Lagos, where it was shown on television. Of course, this encouraged them to get more committed and spurred them to take a step further in gospel movie production.
To keep on improving, the Mount Zion Institute of Christian Drama was set-up in 1991 to study moviemaking and drama production and train members and those who would join them later in this new career.
Through this drama college, Bamiloye has raised many great drama ministers like Evangelist Kolade Segun Okeowo (KSO) of Christoline Film Productions and Founder of Zionstone Film Village, Pastor Moses Makinde of Bread of Life Drama Ministries, Professor Lekan Asikhia of LADTEM, David Kolawole Okeowo of TRECOM, Abiola Jesulowo of Signs & Wonders Drama Ministries, Evangelist Musa Zira, Evangelist Osaige Ekhator, of Benin, Chioma Chukwulotam, and Europe based Pastor Seun Jonathan and USA based Wole Adeyi of Flaming Sword Film Productions, Dallas, Texas, and many others.
They later produced “The Beginning of the End”, “Lost Forever” and “Perilous Time” between 1991 and 1992 without many people noticing them in Nigeria. Like a colossus, Bamiloye however stormed the Nigeria movie industry in 1993 and revolutionized it through another Christian movie, “Agbara Nla”, a Yoruba blockbuster that soon turned him to a household name in the entire South West and parts of Nigeria, when its English version, “The Ultimate Power” was produced in 1994.
In 1996 he succeeded in mobilizing all drama ministers and gospel moviemakers in Nigeria to come together and formed a formidable association, the All Nigeria Conference of Evangelical Drama Ministers (ANCEDRAM); and he remains the Chairman of the Board of Trustees till date. This marked the beginning of a greater impact in the world. It gave birth to many other drama ministers associations in some West Africa and other Africa countries.
Above all, the formation of the North American Conference of Evangelical Drama and Film Ministers (NACEDRAM). UK Christian Drama Ministers Association, of which he is the Founder and Head of their Advisory Councils. They soon began to expose the limitations of the power of darkness and the numerous benefits of having Jesus Christ as Lord and personal saviour, the power of prayer through such films like “Ide Esu”, The Fruitless Tree, Enemy of My Soul, Haunting Shadows, “Apoti Eri”, The gods Are Dead’ etc.
Consequently, more people continued to get the light of God and receive deliverance from the captivity of occult power, idolatry, and demonic cum cultural bondage. The numerous killings on university campuses by cult members reduced as many begin to get converted. Through their various movies, they helped churches to witness the easy harvest of souls because many began to see the need to go to church and serve God rather than serving idols and fearing witches and wizards. What hundreds of sermons may not achieve their movies achieved? Many of their movies like: Busy but Guilty, One Careless Night, Enemy of My Soul, “Apoti Eri”, help many people to resolve marital and family crises, domestic problems, and other social challenges.
Bamiloye said God once asked him to share all the money he had among seven people who were neither member of his biological family nor his ministry members, at the time those mentioned were all in great need. It looked senseless and very difficult for him to do, especially as he had to do it seven times. And each time he had to multiply by seven the total of the last amount given out.
Despite the difficulty, he obeyed God. It got to a time the money increased to millions of naira. And he had to disburse millions to people when children’s school fees and other pressing issues were calling for urgent attention. The outcome however was highly rewarding. It opened doors of favor for him, both for his “Power Night” quarterly programmes and for his foreign mission trips.
He began to carry out foreign mission outreaches to Africa. When you watch such movies like Busy but Guilty, you will see the blend of Nigeria with Kenya. They’ve been to Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Liberia, Kenya. His disciples have continued with the African mission outreaches.
His foreign mission to the United Kingdom would be seen in Hunting Shadows among others. When you watch such movies like The Broken Pitcher, Dangerous Influence, The King Is Coming, A Crack In The Wall, Abejoye, etc., you will see his mission outreaches to the USA. Likewise, The Finest Wine will tell you about his exploit in Canada. His double trips to India produced Rupantar.
The children are already taking over gradually. While in SSS 1 class in secondary school, Bamiloye’s first son, Damilola, first came out with The Youthful Lust. While at Bowen University and during his NYSC programme he produced Fiwajomi, Dying with The Kings (with his younger brother, Joshua Mike Bamiloye as major cast), Shadows of Death.
He has, after graduation, written, edited, and produced other movies like The Land of Fury, The Ignition, The Accountants, Journey In Circles, and many other short play lets on YouTube. Joshua who majored in music and soundtrack of movie production has also been featured in other movies like Sunset At Midday.
In order not to create room for continuous internal wrangling among the seven families that constitute the ministries as their children grew up to adulthood and their needs and expectations were increasing, a new dimension was introduced.
Every founding member became an independent producer, having acquired a lot of experiences and skills, with the existence of the Mount Zion Institute of Christian Drama. So, they began to write scripts, direct and produce movies independently,
This enabled them to produce more movies within a short time, carry out more drama outreaches, and spread their tentacles to different parts of the world. Consequently, you see such movies like Pakute Oro by Joseph Yemi Adepoju, Open Alta by Ebenezer Bayo Abraham; all under the Mount Zion Film Productions.
Bamiloye clocked 60 recently – his diamond birthday. It was colourfully celebrated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that necessitated restrictions on public gathering. Bamiloye, the iconic celebrant made it clear during the celebration that he is still strong and has no plan to retire from the stage soon.