Blog

The Miracle on Pasadena Avenue – 1

January 29, 2014 Published by Rev. Eugene James

Someone has said that success occurs when preparation and opportunity meet. I believe an analysis of the major success stories of our time would validate this statement.

Two key elements necessary for achieving success are perseverance and hard work. An old adage states  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” An exceptional example of the application of this dictum is Jack Andraka, the sixteen year-old inventor, scientist, and cancer researcher. He made contact with 199 professors at John Hopkins Hospital and the National Institutes of Health with a plan, budget, and timeline for his project and received rejection emails from them all.

It was on his 200th contact that he received a positive response from Dr. Anirban Maitra, Professor of Pathology, Oncology, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at John Hopkins School of Medicine. The result of Andraka’s persistence was the development of a simple “dipstick” type of diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer that is over ninety percent accurate. Many people will survive the diagnosis of this terrible disease because of this young man’s preparation and determination. Many would call it a miracle.

Dr. Frank Gilliard is an anointed Minister of the Gospel and the epitome of a true servant/leader. The success of his ministry over the twenty-three years he served as a Pastor in Newark, New Jersey speaks volumes about his ability as a believer, prophet, priest, and entrepreneur. Under his leadership, the congregation partnered with the government to establish housing projects that thrive to this very day.Although God had shown him favor with the success of the housing ministry, there was a longing in his heart and restlessness in his spirit. The Lord was calling him to leave Newark and go to Flint, Michigan to establish a new church. Like Father Abraham, he was obedient and began the process of moving to the Flint area as well as identifying a location to establish the new church.

I was blessed to meet him in 2008 in Indianapolis when he came to the Disciples New Church Planter training and I happened to be at the door to greet him when he arrived. As we talked, he shared with me that he had come for the training on a recommendation from the late Rev. Edward Wheeler, a prominent and highly successful Disciples pastor in East Orange, New Jersey.

Gilliard came from a Baptist background, but was a close friend of Pastor Wheeler and developed an appreciation for the principles of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). During the course of the training, each of the New Church Planters was assigned a “Barnabas” who had the responsibility to give support and encouragement to these women and men as they embarked on the challenging work of establishing a brand new congregation. I had received training to become a Barnabas and, as God would have it, I was assigned to Dr. Gilliard. This was the beginning of The Miracle on Pasadena Avenue.

One important segment of the New Church Planter training is learning how to develop a Ministry Plan. That was redundant for Dr. Gilliard; he had come to the training with a brilliant ministry plan that was complete in every detail. He was well prepared.

Your regional minister,
Eugene W. James, Jr.

[Dr. Frank Gilliard is pastor of Triumphant Temple of Praise on W. Pasadena Avenue, Flint.]