Going through a pastoral change can be a challenge for any church. Members grow accustomed to a pastor’s style or the type of message he delivers. To change pastors is like asking someone to sit in a different pew, they can take it, but it would be uncomfortable. It becomes more difficult when a pastor leaves for reasons beyond anyone’s control. This happened with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Their long-time pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, passed away from a long battle with cancer. After sifting through nearly 200 applicants, God brought Jamal Bryant to New Birth.
History of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
Travelers Rest Baptist Church was founded in 1939. It relocated to Decatur in 1983 and became New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. It has a rich and famous history. In 2002, it was selected as the location for the funeral of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, one of the R&B trio TLC. In 2006, the family of Dr Martin Luther King Jr also selected the church to host the funeral of Dr King’s wife, Coretta Scott King.
Jamal Bryant New Birth: Leadership
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was pastored by Bishop Eddie Long from 1987 until his recent passing in 2017.
- Bishop Eddie Long – Bishop Long became pastor of NBMBC in 1987. At the time the church had 300 members. Over the years the church grew to 25,000 members.
- Jamal Bryant – Pastor Bryant founded Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland in 2000. Through his pastorate, the church grew from 47 to 10,000 members. He was among a pool of 180 applicants for the position of pastor of New Birth.
Jamal Bryant New Birth: Ministry and Missions
Since founding, New Birth has provided a profound local ministry. Reaching into the neighborhoods of Atlanta, Georgia suburb. Jamal Bryant New Birth seeks to continue the legacy set forth by its founders and to expand upon them to further the Kingdom of God.
- Community – From Clothing Drives for needy families to movie events that bring the community together. Jamal Bryant New Birth hosts Block Parties to introduce the Word of Christ through music and evangelism.
- Targeted Ministries – Building the body through Men’s, Women’s, Youth, and Worship ministries. All Jamal Bryant New Birth ministries aim to train to serve, love, evangelize, and disciple. Other ministries include a Prison ministry and other outreach events.
- Satellite Churches – Jamal Bryant New Birth has planted many churches across the US. Some have not succeeded, but many are functioning arms of the Georgia ministry.
- New Birth Live – Jamal Bryant New Birth Members can stream the Sunday service live
- Called to Conquer Bookstore – Access to books by Bishop Long and Jamal Bryant as well as other anointed teachers of the word.
- Mobile App – One of Jamal Bryant New Birth announcements was the establishment of the church’s mobile app. You can access the live streams, ministries, and giving.
- New Birth Bible Institute – A set of curriculum to help members earn a degree in their spare time.
Jamal Bryant New Birth: Healing and Direction
Over the years the church has suffered many controversies. Allegations of impropriety and abuse existed for much of Bishop Eddie Long’s career. In addition to marring the pastor the church, it damaged the witness of Christ. Whether true or not, just the appearance of evil can put any Christian or church to shame.
We all carry baggage with us. Even world-known pastors have “thorns in the flesh” that get in the way of being an effective minister. Once sins or exposed, the world wants to shun ALL Christianity. But we serve the God of second chances (and third, and fourth, etc) Jamal Bryant and New Birth know this all too well. Pastor Bryant had his own life drug through the mud due to his sins coming into the spotlight.
Bryant says in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We’ve got to rebuild trust and bring the church collective through the grieving process that I don’t believe they have really gone through. It’s just been shock after shock. They don’t need a speaker, but a shepherd to help lead and guide.”
He wants to continue the legacy Bishop Long established. He is expanding on the missions of the local community to live, learn, and lead like Christ.
Pastor Bryant finishes an interview in an article by saying, “I hope that my life will be remembered that God recycles—that He doesn’t use perfect people but instead uses perfecting people, that He is, in fact, the God of another chance.”