But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14
The road less traveled is referred to as a way to describe an onerous path in life that is more rewarding at the end but potentially glum while walking through it. I had the honor of sitting down with author, public speaker, founder and President of GodKulture Global, Rotimi Kehinde, and asking him about his journey of discovering his purpose and what adversity he has come face to face with along his way.
Rotimi’s vision is grand, but his personal intentions remain admirably humble. He is not after fame, or to have his name printed on billboards. He is gifted in selflessly helping others find their purpose and does not ask for recognition. It is evident in conversing with him, that he often reminds himself of who he was when he was younger, and what a confusing and empty time it was for him. He is passionate for helping people, on a global scale, to find the answer that everyone wants to figure out: what is my God-given purpose? In this interview, Rotimi explains his moment of clarity on his own life’s calling, what was birthed from it, as well as how he has combatted defeat along the way.
My name is Rotimi Kehinde; I am the founder and President of GodKulture Global. We are a global network of Christian professionals; we help people to discover God’s purpose for their lives and then help them to develop a platform for that. The vision is to evangelize globally into the entire world using creativity.
Yes and no. Yes, because at an early age I knew I wanted to do ministry. In fact, when I was six or seven I started a little ministry as a child with some other guys and we called it the children’s bible club. We were so tiny! But we would go door-to-door in the community I grew up in, and we would preach the gospel. It was really funny, because we only knew one scripture – we only knew John 3:16. But we would knock on doors and tell people, hey! We want to preach Christ to you. John 3:16 says… for God so loved… we were really young and we didn’t have a lot of understanding, but we did know that God wanted us to evangelize. So, at a young age I actually had a successful, growing ministry that had people in it. Every Christmas we would do Christmas Carols, we would go door to door and we would make a lot of money (laughs). We would sing, and people would donate to us and bless us. When that ended, I started a ministry called Fire of God Ministries –FOGM- and we were really young but I knew that there was a calling of God on my life for ministry. I didn’t know how big it was going to be, and I didn’t discover it fully until I was in college. So there was a time gap between that time and college where, no… I was distracted being a teenager and exploring my world in not so Christian ways (laughs).
Well, at that time I was in college. My freshman year I felt really, really empty. I would go to class, back to my room, and I would be depressed. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was studying economics and I didn’t even know why I was doing that. But, something in my heart was nudging at me. Like God was saying to me, “just ask me… ask me what I want you to do with your life and I will tell you.” So I used to pray this particular phrase, I will never forget this and I always tell people to pray this. That phrase is, “God, want do you want me to with my life?” I would just say that, over and over. I would say, “whatever you tell me, I will do it forever.”
One of the times I knew I was supposed to be doing events and showbiz, was when I would go to events and concerts that other people organized and I would feel so empty sitting in the audience. I felt a draw that I should be backstage and be the one putting it together. So, I would go backstage and walk around and think, “I should be the one backstage, I should be the one putting this together. I should be telling people ‘this is what you should do, this is where you should be.’ And so, I went back home for the summer break during my second year. I was sitting in the study room, the den working on the computer; I prayed my prayer asking what to do with my life, because I really had no clue. And I heard clearly, like an audible voice, it was like a knowing and I saw with my mind’s eye GodKulture, with the spelling g-o-d-k-u-l-t-u-r-e. And, immediately I began to see a conglomerate of pastors, teachers, artists, singers, and musicians working together to bring the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth. I saw that. Now, this is a guy who was always everywhere. I was the, I don’t know, the ‘thug’ of the family (laughs). I was never in one place for one time and I was pretty restless. My parents come back from work, and they see me writing in this journal. This journal had started out empty and I never used to write, except maybe love letters to girls (laughs). They see me writing everything about the vision. I wrote the vision, mission, departments, events. I filled up the journal. My mom was quite shocked… she was like, is this my son? He is actually sitting down writing. So, that was the beginning of GodKulture. I went back to school and got some friends together and told them we should do an event. We called it “The Dirge of Time.”
A dirge is a funeral term, a song of mourning. So, the concept was that time had seen its end, that Christ was coming soon and time was writing a dirge. It was a poetry night; I put out posters everywhere and I asked people to submit their poems to be featured in the poetry show. So, I went from being the guy that no one knew, this empty guy walking around, this empty shell, to the guy that everybody was talking about on campus. People knew my name. That same night, I staged a play/musical called the toymaker’s dream. It was about a toymaker who made toys and one of them decided to turn against him. Then he sent his only son to go save the toys and it was like a puppet show kind of thing. It was so good! That was the beginning. After that we formalized Godkulture memberships, and that is how I discovered my purpose… and I’ve never looked back.
At that time, it was pretty exciting for them. I was going to college, and as long as I didn’t say that I was going to drop out of college they were okay. But, when I came to the United States, I got a job where I worked on Crystal Reports. I did that for one year. I wasn’t happy at all – it was one of the hardest years of my life. After that year, I told my parents that I was going into ministry and business full time. My mom was worried, she was unsure of how I would take care of myself. It was my dad who said, “Let him go, let him do what God has called him to do. Let him do it.” So, they supported me.
Many times. Many times. I think one of the main things that can bring discouragement is when you know that God has given you a global vision but you’re still operating in a survival mode. It can be difficult to not get caught up with reminding God, “You told me we would be doing this, you told me we would touch nations, that I would be meeting these people and I would be going to this place, I would be doing ministry on a global scale. But I’m still struggling in the month-to-month.” That is where the discouragement comes in. It takes a lot of resilience and trusting in God to stay the course. To know that regardless of what you’re going through today, God is there.
I know I am called to global ministry, and to preach, and to write books, and there is always the tendency for the enemy to come in and tell me, “You’re not in the middle of God’s plan for your life because you aren’t walking in the fullness of God’s call yet. You’re supposed to be preaching to a global audience and people should be calling your phone, and you should have official cars and private jets.” God always reminds me that He is building my character; so that when I get to that place I don’t crash. It isn’t the beginning of the thing; it is the end of it that matters. For some people, its like an arrow. Pastor Steven Furtick was talking about that. If you want an arrow to go far, you have to take it back a little bit – you have to stretch. So, for some of us, God has been stretching us. Because of how far he is taking us. And, people don’t like to be stretched. But God is pulling us back, developing and preparing us. Start the vision, but start small and let it grow so you can have a strong foundation first.
We always want quick success, and that is something I have had to learn. Trust God in the process and find the fullness of God in every place that He has placed you.
Well, it’s going back to God’s word. Go back to God’s word and remind yourself what his promises are for you. Number two; keep the vision in front of you. As long as you have seen the visual of his plans for you, because the visual is a vision of the expected end; So as long as you know that this where God is taking you, then you can do what David did, he encouraged himself in the Lord. That is what I do when I am feeling low or discouraged. And I ask him, “God what have you said about my situation… what have you told me?” I also go back to the visual, because it reminds me of where God is taking me. Number three: I read stories of other people that are now operating where I want to be. I see that they started from nothing, same story as me. God loves to build people. I think of my church, City Church Chicago, that started services in a rented nightclub. They would come every morning and clean up from the night before. It was only a few people, and now to see the numbers of people that we have today, while owning the building, it’s simply amazing! I think of T.D. Jakes – you should watch some of his older videos on YouTube, it was… interesting, that is all I can say. Now? He is a global preacher. Get inspired by the successes of others. Don’t let it intimidate you; do not get depressed by the success of others. Look at their journey and you will see that you have come a long way.
I sincerely hope it inspires others but my entire story inspires me. Not because I have done it with my own strength, but because of God’s mercy. For me, the only thing I have done is show up. Everything else, He has done it. That is what I think will inspire people. You can come into this country (the US) and have the idea there is prejudice that you have to struggle against or that you won’t be accepted, you can buy into that, and I know it does happen to people, but it has not been my experience. I would say choose the path, walk the path, stay in the path. That has been my story. I could be working a 9-5, traveling the world, doing amazing things but not in line with my purpose. I think that would inspire someone. That if Rotimi can choose to not go into corporate… You see, I have the charisma, I think… I am trying to be humble (laughs) to do very well at any job in any field. I could network, connect with people and build teams. I know that, I could do all of that. But, this (Godkulture) is where I find fulfillment. That would inspire people. And this is just the beginning. We haven’t even touched an inch of where God is going to take us.
My family supported me, but there were certain people who did not understand what the heck I was doing. Like, I should get a job. So, I distanced myself for a season. Literally stopped picking up their calls for a season. They would send me job listings. So, number 1 –make sure you know what God has told you. You can find people that you can trust who believe in you, you need a mentor. Find a circle of likeminded visionaries that will push you in the right direction. You also need a mentor who can encourage you and push you. Do not be discouraged when others cannot see what God has shown you. In fact, you do yourself a great disservice by exposing your dream to a dream killer. It is your responsibility to only share what you need to share. See, when you receive a vision from God, it is a baby that you need to protect and care for. If you don’t take care of that baby, people will kill it. The enemy always wants to kill a huge vision in its infancy. There will be certain people that you love, who may have your family name that are dream killers. They may not know it, because they can’t see what you see. That is why this is called it’s a lonely road, because you are the only one walking in it. But then, one person joins you who believes in the vision, then two, then three, then five, then ten, then twenty, and then fifty, and then one hundred, one thousand, tens of thousands, and then you have a mega industry/church, or business. Whatever it is that God gives to you.
You have to trust God; your vision is not just for you. It is about your generation and the generation after you. You aren’t alone, people have gone before you. We often think we are all alone; there are other visionaries out there. Just stay, and don’t be lazy. You have to be ready to work. And no matter how lonely the road is, keep on walking. It’ll all make sense in the end.