JB: Good afternoon, how are you?
WOS: I’m doing great. I would like to thank you so much for your time. I know you have a very busy schedule so we do not take it lightly.
JB: Oh no, it’s my privilege, thank you so much for having me.
WOS: You’re welcome. I had the privilege of meeting you a while back when you came to North Carolina and you were very down to earth and were out in the midst of the people. I noticed you didn’t have an entourage or body guards all around you.
JB: (laughs) Right.
WOS: So, what makes you do things differently from those that have quote/unquote reached ‘celebrity status’?
JB: Dr. Cornel West, a great Princeton philosopher said something some years ago on the Tavis Smiley State of Black America show. He said, ‘you can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people’. I think we have come to a place that many of our preachers or personalities want to be over the people but don’t want to be amongst the people. The old expression is you have to be able to walk with the kings and still keep the common touch. I’ve adopted that as a part of my principle and philosophy for life.
WOS: So, how does it feel to be considered as a Pastor with one of the fastest growing ministries in the A.M.E. denomination?
JB: I am overwhelmingly humbled by it especially given the fact that I started the church and not too many A.M.E. actually plant a church. So, to be able to plant and see it flourish in my parents’ lifetime is truly a blessing. I am a third generation A.M.E. So to know that I am the product of my parents’ prayers is overwhelming and it just says that God can always bring new life into old institutions.
WOS: Absolutely! I wanted to touch on your life for a little bit. I have been following you for years and you are a man that did not graduate from high school, but obtained your G.E.D. and five years later you graduated from Morehouse College in which you later went on and received a Master’s Degree from Duke University. You didn’t stop there! (laughs)
You then went on and obtained your doctorate from Oxford University in England. Talk about perseverance! (shares laughs)
I mentioned all of that to ask, where did your drive come from to persevere through it all?
JB: Well, my mother raised me to believing that quitting was not an option. If I didn’t persevere what else would I do? It’s very clear that so many people give up forgetting that giving up is not an option or at least it doesn’t have to be. No matter what you must always keep going. Under the Bible it says all things work together for good so I tend to live by that.
WOS: I am truly a witness to that! Today you are a man who literally travels all around the world preaching.
WOS: In spite of your busy schedule, I notice that you always make time for your daughters no matter what. I recall one of your tweets stating how you were spending time with them and so forth. How do you balance ministry as well as your personal life ensuring nothing goes lacking?
JB: I think I became a better family oriented person after going through my divorce. It helped me to realize that family was WOSt important. Before I was divorced my family was my mistress and my ministry and career was my wife. And now I realize my first responsibility is to my family and everything else is secondary.
WOS: With that being said what advice would you give someone who may be struggling with developing balance in ministry, family time, running their business, or simply juggling the many hats they wear?
JB: I would just remind them when Jesus died on the cross for our sins the woman with the issue of blood wasn’t there. When he died, the boy with the two fish and five loaves of bread weren’t at the cross. When he died, the blind man didn’t show up. But his mother was there. And it shows that people are going to be there when you’re blessing them. But when you need to be blessed that’s why you have to plant the seed for your family.
WOS: One thing I notice in society today is people tend to struggle and lose their family because their primary focus is on reaching the people in the street when often times we neglect the very ones that are amongst us every day.
WOS: Your latest book, World War Me. What brought this book into existence?
JB: It was my own therapy of journaling and writing through my divorce and the trauma of going through public humiliation and falling short of the call of God on my life. Really just speaking out to people who have been wounded in the house of God, but haven’t had a proper way to deal with it or process it and to really come to grips with it as well. In my own circumstance I couldn’t blame it on the enemy or spiritual warfare but there are sometimes even in the body of Christ where we are our own worst enemy.
WOS: I notice often times especially in the church we tend to wear a lot of masks, instead of being honest and saying, I need help or I’m hurting; but we tend to bury those feelings and walk around wounded and infected by the trials of life. What advice would you offer someone that may be walking around with a silent cry and because of their position they have no outlet of release?
JB: Everyone needs somebody to be accountable to; to be answerable to. You can’t be superman all the time. You must look for that phone booth so you can turn back into Clark Kent. And that’s what’s very critical to understand.
WOS: Through your various trials if you could preach one message based on your experiences to empower others what would it be?
JB: His grace is sufficient. That is actually the sermon I preached for my initial sermon entitled: “No Pain, No Gain”. I had no idea that would be the hallmark for the rest of my career and my ministry.
WOS: God is truly a God of a second chance.
WOS: You are now no longer married, and are a single man in ministry what standard or words of wisdom would you offer other young men and women in ministry that tend to not know how to maneuver and focus on the call of God that is upon their life without getting caught up in all the drama that the “single life” can sometimes present to us.
JB: Kwame Kilpatrick in his autobiography entitled: Surrendered, he said, “You have to learn how to spend time by yourself”. This is very true. You have to learn how to date yourself away from the crowd. Find out what you like as a person, not as a personality. And when you are able to do that it’ll help you make wiser decisions about who you bring into your space.
WOS: Awesome and timely word! I receive that myself! (shares laughs)
WOS: Also take a minute and minister to those who may have gone through a divorce for whatever reason and are having a hard time bouncing back from what took place.
JB: The hardest thing I had to learn was that I couldn’t be in control of everything. As a leader I’m so used to giving orders, giving direction and making things happen, but going through the divorce helped me to understand that at some point you have to surrender and stop moving and sit still. So, that’s a process that everyone has to endure.
WOS: Back to your book, what made you write a volume II to World War Me?
JB: I think again the book was just me thinking out loud as a reflection of what I’ve had to deal with in my own desires/wants and learning to govern them and incorporating discipline in those areas. I believe God gave that to me to share with a larger body.
WOS: Indeed we are blessed by you sharing.
JB: Thank you.
WOS: Well, that’s all I have and again thank you so much for your time and I am honored to have this time to speak with you.
JB: It’s my privilege. Take care.