I don’t write this as a Christian. I don’t write this as a believer. I don’t write this as a non believer. I don’t write this as an atheist or an agnostic, or as any other title/category of faith/worship or lack there of. I simply write this as Plain Old Fred, more commonly known as Freddie L. Jones Jr., from Richmond VA, oldest son of Freddie and Deloise.

Picture of school bus for church folk from believers articleI wasn’t the kid raised in the church. My parents didn’t drag me to church every Sunday or bible study every Wednesday.  I recall a brief stretch when I was around 9 or 10, where the church bus (old painted school bus) came to pick my younger brother and me up for Sunday school while my parents stayed home. I’ll share the story of how my little brother comforted me, an overwhelmed 10 year old crying in the pews because a guest preacher had me convinced I was going straight to hell, at a later date.  My parents, both became active in church later on, but they let me choose my own path, and by the time I was a young adult, I saw more negatives with the church and “Church Folk” than I saw positives.

As I approached my 30’s, I was fortunate to discover the awesome powers of faith and prayer and how they benefited me in my personal development and business endeavors. This opened my eyes and warmed me to the possibility of exploring my spirituality in more depth. I found a good thing in a wife, visited a few churches and experienced some phenomenal motivational preachers.

I even went as far as joining a church and getting baptized.  Life is funny though and sometimes I guess you can say, “God, I see you got jokes.”  I mean literally, as  soon as I started to embrace the different ministries and a new church family, I found myself in the middle of what I deemed petty church politics, “pulpitting for profit” and hypocritical “Church Folk”. You know the ones,  who only act “church like” on Sundays. As cliche as it sounds, after that episode in my 30’s, I said to my self, “I’ll be a spiritual being, but I’ll never be a  regular ‘church goer’ again.”

Fast forward…..

So when Pastor Byron Meekins and his wife, Apostle Kim Meekins, asked me to build their church’s website, I was excited about working on a challenging new project. I had worked with them on two previous projects, and we had great business rapport.

I quickly realized that while I knew Byron and Kim,  in order to truly capture who Pastor Byron and Apostle Kim were, along with capturing the image, the tone, the messages they wanted to convey and the direction they wanted to take Spirit Of Christ Global Ministries, I would need to immerse myself into the “church side” of them and start attending some of their Sunday worship services. Admittedly, I hesitated for a second.

Did I really want to interrupt my Sunday morning football routine?  Did I want to have to start shutting it down early on Saturday nights? Did I want to once again, get involved with “Church Folk”, and bible verses and tithing envelopes and speaking in tongues and communion and being delivered and being asked if I was saved and if believed in the Holy Ghost, and if I was looking for a church home and reaching over to your neighbor and everything else that came along with attending church again?

I thought about it for a day or 2. I saw it as a good business challenge and at the same time a good personal challenge; plus, I’ve always enjoyed stretching my comfort zone. I let Bryon know exactly how I felt and he was cool with it. He knew exactly where I was coming from and was appreciative that I was so forthcoming with him and we got started.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was the “Believer” side of Pastor and Apostle Meekins,  that had made it so easy to develop the business rapport with Byron and Kim. They are both genuine, honest, trusting and truly generous people.

The first couple services I attended, Pastor Meekins preached because Apostle Kim was away doing missionary work.  He has what I would call a teaching style of preaching. It’s very calm and deliberate. It almost feels like you’re sitting down in the work cafeteria with just a couple of your buddies and one of them starts to educate you on the intricacies of company policy and how everyone can get raises if we understand the policy. I found his message especially easy to follow. So I’m recording the sermon; I’m taking notes; I’m on my phone looking up the bible verses he references and it all makes sense. This particular sermon: What are we sowing? aligned perfectly with my personal and business goals.

Apostle Kim Meekins pictureIt was a couple weeks later when I was finally able to hear Apostle Kim preach, and preach she did! For me, her message was a moment of clarity. Now, I consider myself to still be very much “in the world”, but I’ve always been a mannerable  and polite person who treated everyone with kindness and respect. When she gave her message on What a real conversion looks like, she blew me away. She is an exceptionally powerful orator who unapologetically pulls zero punches when she delivers her message.

“When I was in the world…. I was still a really nice person. I didn’t treat people bad. And I really did think my good works were gonna get me in. But one day I had an encounter with Christ and I realized that I was filthy and wretched, I was blind and I was naked and that all of what I thought I knew about being a believer in Christ Jesus was false….”

The first part of that quote, spoke directly to me. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a gentleman in my early 20’s. We worked together in a department store,  and every day he was “praise the Lord this” and “praise the Lord that” and every sentence was “God is good” and he would constantly ask me to visit his church and pray with him. Understand, at the time I was a 20 year old college student, trying to scrape up enough money for tuition, gas, cheap beer and the occasional movie date. I was in a place so far from what he was saying,  that one day I snapped on him and said, “Look dude, leave me alone about all of this getting saved and turning my soul over,  I’m a good person and I treat people well.” To which he responded, “I know a lot of good people who are going straight to hell.” For a split second I was offended that he could come at me like that. It without a doubt at the time, contributed to my disdain of “Church Folk”. I never really thought about that incident again until that day I heard Apostle Kim’s message.

Word When I say her message was a moment of clarity, here’s why: Apostle Kim’s message that day helped me realize I had harbored some resentment for that former co-worker for almost 30 years. What I now understand is this co-worker was just a believer. He was talking to me purely and specifically from a biblical perspective. He wasn’t judging me. He wasn’t badgering me (well a little). He was just a passionate Believer and he cared enough about me to share his beliefs with me. Like I said, sometimes “God got jokes”, because it took 30 years for me to understand and appreciate where this guy was coming from.

We’re Just Getting Started

So it’s still early; we only launched the site a couple months ago. I’m still learning Byron &  Kim and Pastor & Apostle Meekins and they are still learning me. We’re creating new content and we’re experimenting with different ways to get their message out and share with everyone what’s going on over on Midlothian Tnpk every Sunday at 11. But I gotta say, I’m enjoying the experience more than I would have ever expected. Perhaps it’s personal maturity. Perhaps life’s challenges have opened my heart & mind and made me more receptive.

But there is definitely something special going on at Spirit Of Christ Global Ministries

It may have something to do with how real and relatable both of them are. Listen to their personal testimonies and you quickly see they weren’t always Pastor and Apostle Meekins.  Maybe it’s Kim’s father, “Pops” who’s always there and his testimony and the raw father daughter honesty and dialogue they occasionally share during her messages.  There’s an expression in Hip Hop, “Real Recognize Real” – and to me, a lot of the testimonies look very familiar.

There’s a clip below of Apostle Kim from last month. “A Land Flowing With Milk and Honey.” Really it’s just a portion of her message that day, but give it a watch and there’s a good chance you’ll feel what I felt when I first heard her preach.

Taking My Time

So I’m still very patient and very deliberate in my walk, but I’m enjoying this spiritual & biblical, growth & exploration part of my life. I’m enjoying the love, acceptance and down right the realness of it. I still don’t understand everything (I enjoy that too), and I’m not in a rush to understand everything. But I know what I see, and…

I see something special going on at Spirt Of Christ Global Ministries.

If you’re reading this and you’re like me and consider yourself “In The World” and have at one time or another felt a little leery or even turned off by “Church Folk”:  I hated being “encouraged” or invited or having my arm twisted so to speak, about attending someone’s church. So that’s the last thing I’m going to do here. I do encourage you though; keep watching and paying attention to what this couple is doing. Like I said earlier,  I’ve always enjoyed learning, and there is a lot that I still don’t know. But one thing I now know for certain, and I give Byron and Kim credit as my clients, my friends and wow.., my spiritual mentors; is that:

 I now know the difference between “Church Folk” and Believers.

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