Philip Jegede's website proclaims that his goal is saving lost souls and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also pitches Jegede's several businesses and screenplays.
But "Evangelist Phil" is embroiled in a very different task right now: winning a dispute with the Better Business Bureau over an "F" rating on his online seminary.
Jegede's North Central Theological Seminary sued the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota on May 24 in Dakota County, saying the BBB wrongly listed it as a corporation rather than a religious school owned by the Philip Jegede Evangelistic Association, a tax-exempt nonprofit.
The BBB demanded documentation from a religious school beyond its purview, the lawsuit said, then reported it to the state's Office of Higher Education, which started its own investigation. Enrollment has plummeted as a result of the "F" rating, the lawsuit said.
On June 10, Judge Cynthia McCollum denied the school's request for a temporary injunction against the BBB. A trial is set for Nov. 7.
The local BBB says it's just doing its job, even though it has never received any complaints about the seminary.
(The school, in Columbia Heights, is not associated with North Central University in Minneapolis.)
The BBB issued the bad grade because Jegede would not supply documents to substantiate advertising claims about its faculty, student satisfaction rates and accreditation, according to its website.
While it doesn't typically rate religious groups, it sometimes reviews their advertising practices, especially if they sell something to the public, said Barb Grieman, senior vice president of the local BBB in Burnsville.
"Any time there's a consumer purchasing a product or service, we want to make sure consumers know what our experience is with that entity," Grieman said.
The local BBB chapter has faced just a handful of complaints such as Jegede's since 2002, court records show, although chapters elsewhere and the BBB national council have taken heat over issues such as biased grades and excessive pay for its executives. A CNN investigation last year found multiple examples of companies that had been sanctioned by government regulators but still boasted "A" grades from the BBB.
Companies pay the local BBB fees to be accredited by the powerful nonprofit consumer watchdog, with annual dues ranging from $500 to $10,000 or more depending on the company's size.
The Office of Higher Education, meanwhile, is investigating the seminary to see whether it should still be exempt from registration because it's a religious school. The office exempted it in 2011, but has since tightened its policies, said Betsy Talbot, manager of institutional licensing and registration.
"Those are not lifetime exemptions," Talbot said.
Talbot said the Jegede's seminary is one of "dozens" of seminaries in Minnesota that her office is evaluating for proper exemptions. At least four are online, she said.
In an interview, Jegede called the BBB "a ruthless organization."
It all began when Jegede, of White Bear Lake, contacted the local BBB in March about ratings. That's when he discovered that the BBB had already given North Central Theological Seminary an "A+," although he had not paid it anything.
He said the BBB offered him a discount to sign up two entities, so he sought to sign up both the seminary and Favorfloat Corp., his for-profit start-up that offers numerous financial services, including consumer credit repair. The company is one of several Jegede runs, including a payday loan company and one that helps people with their immigration papers.
The questioning began.
Ultimately, the BBB denied accreditation to Favorfloat Corp. because Favorfloat requires customers to pay upfront fees for credit repair services.
To Jegede, it all smacks of racial profiling.
"When they saw my name is an African name, they automatically assume it's a fraud," he said.
Jegede hails from Nigeria but has lived in Minnesota for decades. He said his advanced religious degrees are from the Northwestern Theological Seminary, an online seminary based in New Port Richey, Fla.
Jegede said he founded North Central Theological Seminary about six years ago and that about 20 students have graduated.
The school has 300 active students and many are in Africa and are indigent, he said. U.S. enrollment helps those students afford a special rate of $19.99 a month to work toward degrees ranging from a Bachelor's of Theology to a Doctor of Divinity.
Financial forms that the evangelistic association filed with the Internal Revenue Service showed that in 2014 the association had revenue of $349,500 and paid Jegede a $45,000 salary.
Jegede has been in court before. His company Joytime Herbs traded lawsuits in 2003 with Pfizer over Joytime distributing a sex-enhancing tea it called "Joyagra."