Q: How would you say growing up in a pastor’s home impacted your view of church and ministry?
A: It gave me insight into the type of leader and person I desired to be. Seeing my parents steward their lives well gave me the know-how to steward my life well. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Q: After losing your dad as a teenager, how did you turn the corner from despair to hope? I think all of us are given an opportunity to choose where we put our focus.
A: Immediately after my dad died, my focus was on missing him – I still do miss him – but now my focus is on remembering him, remembering the good times we shared, and reflecting on the lessons he taught me. Sure, I still miss his presence, him being here physically – but I am thankful that I can still learn from the wisdom he instilled in me. When I think about those things, it builds my hope. It doesn’t mean we won’t have moments and days where we feel despair, but when despair arises, so does the grace of God.
Q: How has your own experience helped you to connect with hurting people?
A: One of the things that connects all of us to humanity is pain. Pain reminds us that we are still alive, and each of us has encountered, is dealing with, or will experience pain in this life. But I’m grateful that Jesus has the power to overwhelm what’s trying to overwhelm me. My life’s mission is to point people back to Him continually.
Q: What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry from your father?
A: I learned several things from my father about ministry, but the one thing that sticks out in my mind is his genuine love for God and God’s people. My dad would stop at nothing to let people know that he loved them. That’s one of the most significant character traits I could have ever inherited from him.
Q: As a young man, you felt God calling you into ministry. Tell us about that!
A: I felt the call of God one night in my apartment that was undeniable. I had fallen asleep and began to dream of standing on a stage in front of a sea of people. I glanced down at my hands in my dream, and I could see blood smeared all over my hands. I heard the voice of God say, “everyone that you could have influenced will be held to your account” – scared out of my mind, I woke up from the dream and immediately called my mom, and as I began to tell her about my dream – she began to laugh. Confused by her response, I asked her what she was laughing at, and her response changed the trajectory of my life forever. My mom said, “that was the exact same dream that your dad had when the Lord called him into the ministry.” I transferred schools the following week to pursue the call of God at a ministry school in Detroit, Michigan.
Q: As a Senior Pastor in times of pandemic, war, and uncertainty, how do you encourage your congregation to stay in faith instead of fear?
A: One of the things that I must continue to do in seasons and times like these is to remind people of the promises of God. I would consider myself to be a hope architect – which is an assignment to build hope in other people. The hope is not in our abilities but only found in the hope of Jesus. In times of crisis or emergency, our attention span and ability to retain information are shorter than usual – I have found that if I can continually give people the Word of God, even if it is the same Scripture repeatedly, it will deepen their faith and keep their eyes focused on Jesus.
Q: Your wife Jen pastors alongside you at Celebration Church. What’s it like to partner in the ministry together?
A: I have no greater joy than when I am carrying out my assignment with the one that God has given me while she fulfills her God-given assignment. The unique thing about marriage, specifically ours, is that we had an opportunity to marry our best friend – she partners with me in everything that I do. It’s the honor of a lifetime to build the Kingdom of God, serve God’s people and push back the veil of darkness with her by my side.
Q: You are well known for using social media and other platforms to spread your message of hope.
A: Why is it so important to spread this message beyond traditional Church outlets? I think it’s essential because that’s where people spend time. Jesus was so intentional about meeting people where they were, so if people were in the temple, then Jesus was in the temple. When people gathered at the well, Jesus was at the well. Jesus was where the people were. I believe that social media is a tool that allows us to connect to where people are and, if utilized the right way, can benefit and advance God’s Kingdom.
Q: Why do you think so many people outside of the church are drawn to your ministry?
A: I think it is because of the authenticity and transparency in my approach to Scripture and how it applies to our everyday life. I desire to communicate in such a way that people from all walks of life feel like they have a place, as well as a voice, in the Kingdom of God.
Q: How would you encourage believers who want to step out and start reaching their un-churched friends?
A: Be bold and take a step of courage – for us to do that, our unchurched friends have to know that we love them because sometimes it’s difficult for us to help someone else change without them first feeling loved.
Q: You often stress the importance of growing and changing from the inside out. Why is this important?
A: Because I believe that one of the main purposes of life is to extract the greatness that God has placed in you, out, to serve other people. Our lives are like sponges, and whatever we fill our lives with will eventually ooze out – so why not fill your life with the goodness of God so that at the right moment, people can be impacted by what you carry.
Q: If you could summarize your life message into just a few sentences, what would it be?
A: Someone who continually got knocked down but always found their way to get back up again.
Q: Your brand-new program recently launched on Daystar! What can viewers expect when they tune in?
A: Viewers can expect to have their faith built, hope encouraged, and lives pointed towards Jesus. It is my prayer that people will feel a deeper connection to the Word of God.