Having just celebrated my first year anniversary as the senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church (“The HOPE”) I have to appreciate and acknowledge Friendship Central Community Church of Chattanooga, TN. The calling of God upon my life to serve, steward and lead The HOPE at this time in history was prepared at Friendship Central. For 15 years God planted me among some of His most powerfully praying and sincerely serving saints.
At Friendship Central I learned to how to be alone, hear in the Spirit and radically obey the voice of the Holy Spirit. That process is the most defining of my pastorate. I wouldn’t of had the capacity to surrender so much and follow the Lord into Oakland without those priceless and precious labors and pains in prayer.
I matured in ways that gives me more patience with people and their process to understanding. I have been taught in the necessity of humility when you have the trust of people and access to great authority. I grew to realize the false power of personality in ministry and all of its weaknesses. I gained an understanding of prayer, praying people and how to lead a house of prayer while the Lord let me lead Friendship Central.
After a year at The HOPE, I can honestly announce that what I processed has not been lost. A long-tenured pastorate does things to the soul of a preacher, like none other experience can. Long-tenured pastorates grow great churches and shape great preachers. Each week I see the fruit from years of solemn assemblies; years of intensive intercession; years of biblical teaching and training; years of pastoral challenges; years of parish counseling; years of strategic planning; and from years of spiritual authority. In this yet fresh assignment, there is a competence that I have that I could only have, if God took me the way He did and lead me to a people called Friendship Central.
I know more daily why God has sent me to His people in Oakland, California. There is no other place or any other people in the world that are more perfectly matched with me for ministry. I know that the times of our lives demands my ministry be where it is and with whom it is. I couldn’t be more excited and pleased with what we are seeing God do. Whether it is in changing people and/or predicaments I bear witness to the power of Jesus Christ.
Our future at The HOPE is filled with new hope! My expectations are only positive. I look forward to bigger, better, greater! Yes!