Pastor Tony Rapu is a phenomenal pastor, teacher, film maker, medical doctor, life coach, social reformer, Senior Pastor of The House of Freedom as well as Head of a group of ministries comprising This Present House, God Bless Nigeria and The Waterbrook.
Born January 1st 1957 in Kano state, as the only son to an Ibo Catholic family. Tony is the fourth of six children. His father, T.D. Rapu, worked with the Nigerian Customs while his mother, Maria Rapu (nee Ofili), was a teacher.
He grew up like any well bred, middle class young man as would testify those who knew him at King’s College Lagos in the 70s or in the 80s at the University of Ibadan where he took a degree in Zoology and later in Medicine.
Pastor Rapu’s vision is to bring about developmental change in lives and communities by reaching out to different demographics through strategic interventions.
He chairs freedom foundation, a non-profit, working towards social transformation and human security. He has also produced and edited short films documenting his work ‘on the field’, including the critically acclaimed “My Lagos Diaries” documentary series. As a life coach, he has had an impact on the career of so many people in positions of authority in both the public and private sectors.
Pastor Tony has developed innovative methods and solutions in tackling issues such as drug addiction, urban poverty, and community development. He undertakes this work in his role as Freedom Foundation’s Chairman Board of Trustees and more particularly, the Genesis House (a residential rehabilitation program for girls and young women who have been victims of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation), House of Refuge (a drug rehabilitation and resource center which caters specifically for the rehabilitation needs of drug and alcohol dependent persons ), Bethesda Child Support Agency (which mobilizes community resources with the assistance of partners to help children from impoverished backgrounds secure a better future through education) and King Solomon’s Funds (which provides empowerment programs to young men and women via career skills training, business and entrepreneurial development training, vocational skills training, counselling and mentoring). Through mission and ministry, he continues to bring purpose, empowerment and life-changing opportunities to numerous people.
He is married to Pastor Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu, and together, they have three children.
Early Ministry Days
While he was working as a Medical Doctor at Eko Hospital, in 1986, he gave his life to Christ at a Friendship Bible Study meeting in the Ikoyi residence of his eldest sister, Mrs Bridget Itsueli.
Shortly after his conversion he had an epiphany and in a bid to make sense of it, his sister introduced him to a doctor of mathematics-turned-preacher called Pastor E.A. Adeboye.
Pastor Adeboye describes this meeting as a divine one. He explained that the day Tony Rapu stepped into his office, God told him the young man was one of three men who would be instrumental to the realisation of the vision of the RCCG to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
In 1987 he married Miss Nkoyo Bassey, who was by this time a lawyer working with Allan and Ogunkeye. She had come to know the Lord at a Bible study in the Victoria Island home of Gabriel and Rosalyn Oduyemi.
Husband and wife became active members of the then hardly known RCCG and worshiped at the Head Quarters Church in Ebute Metta.
They also held a house fellowship in the Rapu family home, at 27 Ekololu Street, Surulere, where they lived.
This home ‘church’ consisted mainly of young, upwardly mobile professionals from different denominations.
Here, Tony Rapu would also hold prayer meetings that would sometimes last through the night or for what seemed like unending hours during the day.
In 1991, under the direction of Pastor Adeboye, Dr. Rapu led a team of some 50 newly converted born- again Christians, mainly members of the Ekololu house fellowship, to begin the Apapa Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Pastor Tony preached an intelligent yet uncompromising gospel attracting professionals and recruiting them into the service of the Lord.
From hours spent in daily personal study and prayer, he developed training material with which he would disciple the church workers.
These intense discipleship sessions comprised hours of worship, bible study, prayer and frequent seasons of fasting.
He gave the worker training groups prophetic names:
Pioneer, Elisha, Freedom, Frontline, Reformer, Government, Missionaries, and Territorial Workers.
We were programmed to see the world as our congregation, our vocation as our pulpit and our lives as the epistle that people will read to be drawn to God.
He taught us that we were all in full time ministry, whether we held secular jobs or not and that serving God is never something we do at our convenience but a cause around which we built our existence.
Many of these professionals would pastor RCCG churches alongside their regular employment.
The church was aggressive in winning souls. Evangelism was avant-garde and unconventional.
He planted churches in night clubs, cinema halls and restaurants. It was he who began the giving of individual names to RCCG parishes.
He came up with then unusual names like Jesus House, City of David, Courage Centre, Hope Hall and also named the London Holy Ghost Service Festival of Life.