California megachurch pastor Bishop Noel Jones has taken a dig at the black church for not fulfilling its role in the community.
In an interview with The Philadelphia Tribune last Thursday at the Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center at the Met in Philadelphia, Jones, who leads the 20,000-member City of Refuge Church in Los Angeles, said the black church is waiting for the government to do ministry it should be doing.
“We still have self-doubt, we still are killing each other at an alarming rate and it’s happening right in our communities. The prostitution, the drugs — all of the things that are negative are happening right around the church. It’s right down the street from us,” he said. “How do we address it? We stop looking to the government and we stop looking to everybody else to take care of us as if we are still slaves and we take the opportunity that is in front of us.”
According to his bio, Jones seeks to persuade people to "question ... conventional approaches to daily challenges" and doesn’t see the preacher as head of a hierarchical system "but rather in partnership with administration and laity of the Church."
He promotes "integration and multi-faceted leadership styles and methods to reach the community within and outside of the Church" and practices this approach at The City of Refuge where he has integrated programs that help people with varying degrees of struggle.
In his interview on Thursday, he argued that churches can better fulfill their purpose by investing in service for humanity.
“Unless we partner with people who are dealing with Socratic problems in our community, then we are really not having church. You can have church and never minister,” he said.
“The real issue is, ‘How are we dealing with one out of three of our boys in the system? How are we dealing with offenders who are now out? How do we keep them out? How do we deal with human trafficking? How do we deal with teenage prostitution? How do we deal with establishing wealth for the average churchgoer in our community?” he asked.
“I think that churches need to transition to a new place in terms of philosophy and psychological enhancement and embellishment of the people they serve. The church is a microcosm of the community."
In his message at the newly renovated building of the Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center at the Met, which is Philadelphia’s first megachurch, Jones preached a need for more humility in the church.
“There are too many egos in the House of God. We have too many egos and too many narcissistic people who claim to be the Church of God,” Jones said, according to the Tribune. “In order for there to be unity, there’s got to be humility. Humility is when you decide to lower yourself when you have the upper hand. Can you imagine where the church would be today if we had folk to unify together?”
He said pride was tearing the church apart and people need to understand that humility comes with blessings.
“The greatest servant in the universe is God himself. He watches over you. He keeps the devil off your back,” Jones said. “Get off your high horse, try to serve somebody because if you bless somebody, he will bless you.”