Can you believe it’s already been a year that Dr. Jamal Bryant has been the senior pastor of New Birth? Well, in that year Dr. Bryant has made a major impact not just on the Atlanta megachurch, but on the culture.
As I type this, Dr. Bryant and ATL rapper, T.I. are in Ghana with other business leaders and influencers for the 400th anniversary observance of when the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown.
In a recent interview, Bryant, whom I like to call a “Culturally Conscious Preacher” reflected on the impact he and New Birth’s marriage has had on the culture, and he answered,” Yes. That’s it!” to being back with one of this blogs favorite Housewives Gizelle Bryant.
On addressing the aids epidemic in his sermon:
“I knew that everything sexual is taboo in the church. So, the church doesn’t speak to molestation, incest, rape, STDs or AIDS and I really felt if New Birth and the church at large is going to be relevant that we really have to deal with it when so many in the community are being impacted by it.”
On re-evaluating his philosophy and theology around preaching against being gay.
One Sunday in Baltimore, as I do here at New Birth, I was shaking hands and as I say to my members on the way out: “Love you. Have a great week.”
A young man, maybe about 24 years of age, I hugged him said “Love you. Have a great week.” And he looked me square in the eye and said you don’t love me. I said why would you say that? He said, “You don’t love me. I’m gay.”
“It really convicted me in that moment that much of what it is that we preach may be a hate gospel and not one that reflects the love and compassion of Christ. So I don’t know if the message I preached yesterday would have been a message I would have preached five years ago.It kind of took my own journey of evolving. The church, in many regards, has been found guilty of hate crimes.”
And how has his first year at New Birth been? Well, Jamal is on a long honeymoon.
“It’s been the longest honeymoon in history. It’s been a tremendous ride. I came with great trepidation and apprehension, not sure what to expect. How long it would take us to get our rhythm and momentum and to find how to dance without stepping on each other’s shoe.”
New Birth has went from 1500 members on a Sunday after Bishop Eddie Long’s passing to now 5,000 (not including the folks that watch online like myself) the sanctuary reportedly holds 8500.
He has also hosted Kanye West Sunday Service at New Birth, and has even visited Atlanta’a Trap Museum. #TheCulturallyConsciousPreacher