Interview: Leke Beecroft Talks About How Church Gist Started and the Inspiration Behind It
Leke Beecroft is the founder of the popular and most widely read Christian news and publishing site Church Gist. He founded it some years ago and has been able to grow its following and fan base to over 3 million readers and thousands of visitors daily. What started as a monthly publication during a trying season in his life has now turned to a global platform providing hope and inspiration to many through highly enriching and spiritually filled contents.
Church Gist is an online platform that promotes the Gospel of Christ and provides reliable information and unbiased view on all issues pertaining the Church. It’s your No. 1 go to place to stay updated on current happenings and events in the Church. Far from the wild generalizations, the unreliable guesstimates and the poorly correlated reports that normally flow out of Christian gatherings, social media and the press. Church Gist provides the discerning reader actual reports in the body of Christ backed up with verifying proofs and historical references.
Please tell us briefly about yourself and your background.
My name is Daniel Oluwaleke Beecroft. I’m Yoruba from Lagos State. I grew up in Zaria and was there till the end of my secondary school. My Dad used to be a lecturer and my mum was the first female Chartered accountant/lawyer in Nigeria, they were both staff of ABU, Zaria. Dad is a chemical engineer and also now a pastor. I have 5 siblings. 2 guys and 3 ladies. I am number 2.
How did Church Gist start and what’s the inspiration behind it?
I had come to Kaduna from Lagos and was staying with my Dad’s friend, Deacon Olutubo. He attended Garden of Faith, Barnawa but due to my dad’s position on Living Faith Church, I did not want to attend. I felt Bishop Oyedepo’s words were too brash and arrogant. Why will a man say ‘I can never be sick’? I thought.
Eventually because I had to attend the Church with the Deacon, I started listening to the word from Bishop Abioye and couldn’t help but notice that the Church was very focussed on the Word of God. I asked God in prayer because I had personal issues with some doctrines. God told me to search the scriptures like the Bereans. I found that every word I heard in church had solid scriptural background. I decided to stay.
I was also confused about my career. Was it plain ambition or vision? Then one day Bishop Abioye as if reading my mind addressed that too. God was teaching me daily.
Then on 28th August 1996, a few weeks after I started attending, God opened Isaiah 55:4 to me and told me that was his Word for my life.
Isaiah 55:4; “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.”
I said to God, this is about Jesus and not me certainly…
Then God confirmed it with John 17:18 and John 20:21; “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
So 3 things:
I understood 2 and 3.
2. Leader – I have always led from childhood whenever I had to deal with my peers. I knew it would get bigger.
3. Commander – This was the part that I understood best in the prophecy. It was about my career so I knew I would soon gain the admission I sought.
The only one that I wasn’t clear about was number 1. Witness to who?
The whole world? I knew I was not into full time Ministry.
The public? Yes I was preaching in molues and danfos but how long could I do that as a public servant?
Then in 1998, I came across God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon and I sensed what God was saying.
I saw Bishop Oyedepo giving out the book during a visit to him in January 2000 and I asked myself, why should he be giving a book from US?
Where are the African examples?
On 10th August 2010, God woke me up from sleep to write down a few things. I was to not only write books about God’s doings in Africa but start with a journal. By the next day I started work and by December 2010 produced the first edition called The Commander.
By the next edition, the name was changed to Temple Digest and we ran 2 editions. Strictly hard copy. It was quite capital intensive.
In April 2014, my friend Barrister Bukola Senbanjo suggested the opening of a platform on Facebook instead of the very laborious hard copy editions.
I thought of it and accepted the suggestion. I looked for a name that won’t sound too churchy or worldly but would let people be clear on its mission.
On 4th May 2014, Church Gist was opened on Facebook.
Can you briefly tell us some of the notable impacts Church Gist has commanded over the years?
The man on the street can now pick up His phone especially in this social media generation and see the lies against the church for what they are.
Many in the churches now understand the challenges faced by the Church even when their churches run closed systems.
We understand we are one body.
Just like Luke in the scriptures. We are continuing to write the Book of Acts of the Apostles – African edition.
What has been the most challenging moment for Church Gist and how has it helped shape your career and growth?
Hmmm well in 2016, I was very busy with a lot of work and was still running it alone. One day a pastor from South Africa inboxed me. A South African – asking why the page had been quiet for 2 weeks. I never knew him. I was shocked. I realized the responsibility I had to deal with. Gradually I saw the need for and started building a team. Church Gist is a labor of love and in service to God.
If you could describe your salvation experience or faith journey, what would you term it as?
I got saved as a very young boy in 1988. My parents led us very early in Christ. By age 12 we had read the whole Bible twice as a family. Only King James Version was allowed. As a boy I experienced a period where I wasn’t very steadfast in the faith.
Again, I wasn’t always at my best as a Christian. Thank God I’m standing. I love God and love to serve him. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
Your story is one that proves that men of great vision still exists. What drives you?
The vision of August 1996.
My purpose in life:
That’s all I’m doing on this earth.
Who has had the greatest influence in your life and why?
Bishop David Oyedepo. Well rounded man of God. He helped me to see that only two votes mattered in life.
You are a career person, a public servant, a writer, social media influencer, and from what I understand about you, you are also an evangelist. How are you able to strike the perfect balance between what you love to do, your work, and social life?
- Passion. Without passion, I won’t have dared Church Gist or any other thing I’m doing. I do all of the things I do 100% of my time.
- Sacrifice. I don’t shy away when there is a price to be paid. I go ahead and just pay.
- Planning. This is very vital otherwise I get overwhelmed.
- Social life suffers a bit but I am working on it.
What are your future plans for Church Gist? Are you looking towards expansion or diversification?
Church Gist presently enjoys Facebook followership and grows at a minimum of 500 new followers and up to 2,000 followers daily out of over 2.38 billion Facebook subscribers.
We are quite visible in a number of countries across the continents namely Nigeria, USA, South Africa, Botswana, Sierra Leone, Australia and Ghana among many others.
Our target is to grow to 4 million followers by December 2020 from our present 340,000 followers.
Our reader base is presently 3 million but this should grow to 20 million by December 2020.
We will reach 4 million followers on Facebook and 20 million reader base hopefully by next year.
Instagram would grow to 250,000 also by end of next year.
Website and blog would start running afresh by September 2019.
The book “From Heaven to his generation – The life and ministry of Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa” would be out and released by Church Gist next year.
Two other books will be out by 2021.
5 books in total before 2024.
Very soon, Charisma Magazine would see Church Gist as the Christian magazine/platform to beat. It’s a Global outfit.
Are there mentors you look up to?
A number of them.
- Bishop David Oyedepo
- Bishop David Abioye
- Pastor Paul Enenche
- Nelson Mandela
- Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
- Lord High Admiral Horatio Nelson
- My Parents
What’s your advice to young people out there still trying to figure out their purpose in life? How would you encourage them to live a meaningful life?
- Find and pursue God early.
- Locate your purpose on time. Jesus is the Bright and Morning (not evening) Star.
- Be spiritual.
- Don’t play away your life with the crave and craze of today.
- Be patient. You will need to learn the ropes. Many young people of this generation (17-40) are in a hurry going nowhere.
Favorite Quote you live by?
Matthew 22:37; “Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
This is the FOUNDATION for All-Round Success.
Thank you so much for being on the blog, Sir. We are so honored!
Thank you so much for the privilege.
P.S – You can connect with Church Gist below.