The popular German evangelist has passed the mantle to Kolenda after 50 years in the ministry.
Reinhard Bonnke has gone around the world preaching and winning souls for at least 50 years.
Now, at the ripe age of 77, he has handed over the leadership torch of his international ministry, Christ for all Nations, to evangelist Daniel Kolenda.
Bonnke did this publicly at his just-concluded farewell crusade in Lagos state.
Here is what you need to know about the German evangelist’s successor, Kolenda.
Reportedly, Daniel Kolenda received his calling at a very early age. According to Souls TV, he gave his life to Christ at age 6 but did not start preaching until he was 14 years old.
Describing his unique spiritual calling, he said, “As a young boy, I felt the calling to preach the gospel. I used to ride on my bicycle from house to house knocking on doors and witnessing to anyone who would listen. As a teenager, I started street preaching. Today, I do the same thing I have always done, just on a larger scale”.
The scale got larger when he had an encounter at the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry, Pensacola, Florida.
In his words, “When I was 16, I was part of a revival that had an impact on the entire world. I had an extremely personal and deep experience of the Holy Spirit that I can only describe as my baptism by fire. It changed my life and made evangelism my life’s goal”.
This happened in 1997. Next, he went to Southeastern University in Lakeland Florida.
Later on, Kolenda became a pastor and church planter. At this time, he needed financial help in order to support his family. This need led him to Christ for All Nations. He met Bonnke while working in the warehouse.
Here is how he put it: “I started out in the ministry of Christ for All Nations working in the warehouse. I was pastoring a church. I have just planted it. And I needed to support my family financially.
“And evangelist Bonnke found me working in the offices in Orlando. And he invited me to travel with him as an assistant. And so I was just following him around the world and helping him in whatever way I could help. And then I went to one of the great Gospel crusades in Africa. And when I saw the great multitudes of people being saved it changed my life.
“And I knew that I couldn’t do anything else other than evangelism. I left the ministry of Christ for All Nations and I started my own evangelistic ministry. And then later evangelist Bonnke invited me to come back and minister at his side. As evangelist Bonnke described our relationship has been an organic one. We’ve seen how the Lord has brought us to this place where we are today and we work very well together.”
Bonnke shared his side of the story in an interview with Charisma magazine in 2011.
He said, “5 years ago, a young man named Daniel Kolenda walked through the doors of our ministry, CFAN in Orlando, Florida. The first quality I recognized in him was the Holy Spirit’s anointing. He had been baptized in the Holy Spirit as I had, and he did not approach anything in his strength alone. I saw also that he was a doer like me, listening and obeying the voice of the Lord”.
ALSO READ: All you need to know about Reinhard Bonnke
In 2011, Bonnke announced his plan to step down as head of CfAN. Then, he named the then 29-year-old as his successor.
He revealed how he knew Kolenda was the right person in an interview. He said, “I still remember when I said I’d give him 20 percent [of the ministry]: ‘Maybe he is the one.”
“Then I still remember when I said I’d give him 75 percent — until I was totally convinced that he was the one. He carries the same anointing, but he also carries the classic evangelistic message of how I would define evangelism. I can see that it would be a continuation.”
“I have tested and tried him and found him to be the right man.”
Last and public handover
Kolenda has just been appointed again as Bonnke’s successor. This time, he was anointed at the 2017 farewell/passing the torch crusade in front of everyone.
While praying for his successor, the German evangelist asked others to pray for him as well.
Bonnke later took to his Facebook page to share a picture of the special moment.
Reacting to the public appointment, Kolenda said, “This is Evangelist Bonnke’s ‘Farewell Crusade,’ but it’s not a goodbye for the ministry; it’s a new beginning, a new season of harvest.
“We will build on the foundation that has been laid by Evangelist Bonnke and the CfaN team and God will do even greater things in the days to come. As Evangelist Bonnke often says, ‘Nothing diminishes in God.’ I believe that.
“God has spoken to me about a ‘Decade of Double Harvest’ that we are now stepping into. We will take that baton of the Gospel and run with all our might. The best is yet to come.”
Kolenda is married to his wife Rebekah. They have three children, Elijah, Gloria, London and Lydia. They all live in Orlando.
It goes without saying that Bonnke’s successor has really big shoes to fill.