Pastor Jamal Bryant is the new senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in south DeKalb County.
The Baltimore-based preacher announced his move to the church in November, leaving behind the church he founded 18 years ago. Under Bryant’s leadership, Empowerment Temple A.M.E. grew from 43 people to more than 10,000, becoming a staple in the community.
“This has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, leaving a church that I founded… and then abruptly leaving with a three-weeks notice…” Bryant said. “But I really felt this was time for me to shift and take on a new challenge. I really felt like I was obeying the voice of God.”
New Birth has seen its share of successes and struggles over the years. Bryant succeeds the late Bishop Eddie Long, who died of cancer early last year. Long’s final years were wrought with controversy after sexual abuse lawsuits surfaced. He denied the allegations. But many members left the pews following the claims.
Bryant doesn’t shy away from his own controversies. He has spoken candidly about infidelity while he was married to his now ex-wife, Gizelle Bryant, who is a featured cast member of “The Real Housewives of Potomac” reality show.
Bryant admitted to Mitchell he is aware of critics who believe his past could hinder his ability to lead the church. He addressed the issue directly.
“Who else could help lead a church through scars and pain, if you have never done so yourself?..You have to live through some things in order to address it and meet it. Through my own life experiences, I think God was positioning me for this hour.”
Bryant discussed a wide range of topics during his interview with Mitchell. Stay with FOX 5 News at 10 and News Edge at 11 Friday for the full reports.
Photo Credit:WAOK – Atlanta – Radio.com