It's been a while since I've posted a blog here! I've been so overwhelmed with leading a church, propelling my businesses and trying to manage my personal life that I've not even had the energy to do this consistently. Due to the sensitivity of this season, I've decided to speak here in my space so you can hear it from me and we can stay connected...if you choose!
How It Started
In 2012 I accepted an opportunity that shifted everything...I mean everything! I relocated with my family to Little Rock/North Little Rock, Arkansas to serve in the capacity of Director of Institutional Advancement, Planning and Technology at Shorter College, an HBCU, and also to explore the opportunity of planting churches in the African Methodist Episcopal Church denomination. Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr. had been a design client of mine for a while and having the opportunity to work alongside him was amazing. I got an opportunity to travel with him and support his ministry and the ministry of the 12th Episcopal District. I got to see Shorter College rise like an emerging phoenix - growing from 4 potential students when I arrived to over 250 students! I got to see lives transformed as students who were never told they were smart were given an opportunity to dream again. Grandmothers and mothers and daughters were able to attend college in the same classroom together! It was such a blessing to see buildings resurrected and the smile on their faces to know that "You Fit Here!"
In October 2013, I was "re-obligated" as an Itinerant Deacon in the AME Church and Bishop Green extended me an opportunity to plant a contemporary church model, The Infinity Church, A Ministry of the AME Church, in Conway, Arkansas! All we had was a building, no members, no records, nothing...just a building and a vision! We turned that little brick building on the corner of Harrison and Willow Street into a safe haven for everybody, a rehearsal hall for all the college gospel choirs, and a beacon of hope for those in need of Christ's love! We did our work there! Souls were saved, lives were transformed, families were bonded and healed, college students were launched out into the world with a steadfast relationship with Christ! We did our work!
In April 2017, I was invited to Tampa, FL to lead Allen Temple AME Church's music ministry as they prepared for their Palm Sunday Celebration! After an amazing experience, a month later in May, the pastor extended me an opportunity to join him as the Executive Pastor of the church to help him grow the church and establish the AME brand in Tampa! After much prayer and with the blessing of Bishop Michael L. Mitchell, I relocated to Tampa, FL to serve on the pastoral staff at Allen Temple! We did great ministry there! We established a strong presence at the local colleges and students joined us for weekly on-campus bible study sessions and busses picked them up from campuses for worship on Sundays. We ministered to elementary and middle school kids through mentoring programs on a weekly basis. We organized community events in housing developments for Easter and Christmas! The music ministry soared and was even invited to the Straz performing arts center to perform during their Heritage Festival! We did our work!
"Stepped Into the New"
On October 27, 2019, I was extended an appointment to serve New Saint Paul AME Church by Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr. Over the last two years, we've done great ministry! I can't begin to describe what we've seen God do at "The Miracle of 42nd Street"! Souls have been saved, lives have been changed, relationships have been renewed, the community has been uplifted...and most of all, I believe God has been satisfied with our work! We've invited people to "Step Into the New", but not just New Saint Paul! It's more of an awareness of what "exceeding abundantly" means! Experiencing God's new mercies on our lives! We've led the world in worship and ministry during a pandemic by beginning "The Revival of Hope" in March of 2020! For 17 weeks I ministered 3 times a day with 9am Morning Glory Prayer and Intercession, 12 noon Hour of Power Bible Study and 7pm Word and Worship nightly! We've been able to connect with people seeking Christ from all over the world through our e-church ministry! When we re-opened for physical worship in June, we immediately made the shift to hybrid worship experiences and invited our ministry partners from other places around the globe to be apart of it! We did our work!
Here's the News
Now I've crossed the threshold of another transition. One thing the pandemic hopefully taught us all is that both life and time are precious! My heart's desire is to do ministry everywhere, to inspire people to live their best lives, and to lead people to a deeper relationship with God. And I desire to live out that desire with the say word that I use to encourage others, "Authentically"!
That being said, here it goes...
After much prayer, consideration, and consultation with those I am accountable to, and in accordance to what I believe God has called and purposed for my life, effective today, I have officially submitted my resignation as a Itinerant Elder in the AME Church denomination and as pastor of New Saint Paul AME Church. All business is in order as I have consulted with my Presiding Elder concerning the matter and am thankful to have his prayers and support.
I will, however, NEVER stop doing ministry! Please let's continue our relationships together by subscribing to updates on www.rjstevenson.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even a little word of mouth (but be extremely careful)! I look forward to sharing with you what God is doing in my life and hope that God continues to provide opportunities for us to have future experiences together! STAY TUNED!!! I'm excited about what God is going to do next! "Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard,"...and I'm not able to talk about it YET...but it is coming...and it's happening REAL SOON! (If you know, then you know!)
Until then you'll see me livestreaming events, dj-ing and producing fashion shows, shooting photos and videos, doing interior design projects, directing network broadcast productions, and enjoying my life! You should enjoy your's too! Let's meet somewhere in the middle! I'm not leaving Tampa, I'll just be "moving a little differently" until God says to say more! But, I'm never too hard to find!
Love you all...even when it hurts!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!