Project Detail: Deliver us from poverty


Reportage and Documentary 2019




Kostas Maros


Project Info

Deliver us from poverty

A documentary work about Pentecostalism in Lagos, Nigeria

No other religious movement has been growing more rapidly than Pentecostalism. Today they count 500 million followers, a quarter of all Christians worldwide. An estimated 30,000 new people join the church every day. Founded in California, the movement has surged dramatically in the Global South since the turn of the millennium, in particular in Africa. Faith healings, prophecies, and speaking in tongues are all integral elements of pentecostal service. Combining strict evangelical doctrine with the promise of material wealth, the pastors promote faith as an escape from poverty. The question of whether and to what extent Pentecostalism, similarly to Calvinism, is a motor of economic development, has become the object of an inflamed debate in the field of Development Studies. It is beyond doubt that pastors profit from the movement. The most successful among them travel by private jet from one service to the other and appear on the lists of the world‘s wealthiest people. Nigeria is home to the highest number of pentecostal churches worldwide. Nigerian pastors count among the richest and most famous men in the country, every child knows their name. David Ibiyeomie is one of them. He is the founder of the Salvation Ministries, the country’s fastest growing church. The pastor is escorted by the military, books luxury hotel suites and whole floors for himself and his entourage. Thousands of church members follow him wherever he goes. For example to his two-day Miracle Crusade in the heart of Lagos, on Tafawa Balewa Square, where Pastor Ibiyeomie performs one faith healing after the other, promises to solve all of his followers‘ problems, sending the crowds into ecstasies. In Nigeria new churches are born every day, in living rooms and in simple huts in shantytowns. Driven by the hope of a better future.