The Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) is absolutely one of the most talked churches in Nigeria.
It has been hit with many scandals and stories about the founder's lavish lifestyle. Still, it has managed not to lose its shine.
Instead, it has succeeded in growing into a megachurch with a huge following.
Thus, it only makes sense that we shed some light on this fascinating place of worship.
Here are five interesting things that make this vibrant church stand out.
1. It started from humble beginnings: Looking at the COZA of today, it's kind of hard to imagine it being small, but it started out that way. One thing I know for sure is that it started in Ilorin, Kwara State in 1999. However, there is some confusion about the exact origin story. One source says that COZA started with 15 people, then moved to a place rented for N350 rent. This reportedly according to according to Rev. Biodun & Pst. Modele Fatoyinbo.
Another source (a COZA member) says differently. She says that the church started at the Stella Obasanjo Hall in Ilorin, while the family lived in a one room apartment. Regardless of the differences, one thing is sure which is that COZA started small in 1999. From a small opening in Ilorin, it has grown to over 20,000 members at the various branches and attracted a growing number of followers online.
2. COZA has only 5 branches and four pastors: For a church that has been around for over 17 years, one would think that the church would have a lot of branches and pastors. Surprisingly, this is not the case. So far, COZA has just five branches; one in Ilorin, then Abuja in 2008, a Lagos branch in 2012, a Port Harcourt branch in 2016 and finally another in Dubai, which started this year. Another plot twist is that there are only ordained 4 full-time pastors. Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo mans the Head Quarters in Abuja with his wife, Pastor Modele Fatoyinbo, popularly called Mummy D. He also pays a weekly visit to the Dubai branch.
Pastor Folarin “Flow” Ogunsola is the resident pastor in Lagos while Pastor Wole Soetan mans the PH branch. Pastor Kenneth Habuh-Rajan takes care of the Ilorin branch. This is a shocker because a lot of churches are known for having loads of branches.
3. Youths love this church: While other churches are complaining that the young people are leaving, COZA is filled with them. A source called it the perfect place for youth. In her words, "The church understands the need for members to be able to have fun in church so they don’t get bored and turn to secular forms of entertainment. This informs the kind of music played and performed in COZA as well as the general ambience of the church."
Another reason why this is a perfect place of worship for young people is because of the dress code. In the words of my source, "COZA members are known to dress very well both in church and outside because they believe that, while God looks at the heart, men look at the outward appearance to judge. The excellent and trendy outfits are also a strategy to show that being a Christian is not an excuse for being boring."
4. The sermons are so motivational: I looked up some of Rev. sermons and I have to say that they are quite good. They are so good that make for nice motivational quotes.
My source agrees with me saying, "The messages preached in COZA are not high sounding sermons that confuse the hearers, rather they are filled with practical keys that can be used to better daily life."
5. COZA members reflect the motto of the church: COZA's motto is 'the wealthy place.' This is reflected in the members, little wonder the founder is known as one of the most stylish pastors in Nigeria. My source adds that "Most COZA members reflect the same persona inside the church as they do outside because COZA is more than a church, it’s a lifestyle."
With all of the above, it is clear that COZA is an interesting church that is here to stay.