Greater Ebenezer M.B. Church pastor makes God the centerpiece of his ministry
When the Rev. DeNon Porter became pastor of Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church (GEMBC) in 2016, his focus was on building upon the ministry’s motto of “Equipping the Saints. Engaging the World. Enjoying the Lord.” And two years later, he remains committed to that goal.
His dedication is not surprising considering that he witnessed the church’s success in making that motto a reality during the tenure of his predecessor, the Rev. Dr. Solomon L. Drake, who, as the GEMBC pastor for 34 years, led the membership in expanding the edifice, establishing outreach programs, purchasing additional properties and opening a pre-school.
After being licensed and ordained by Drake, Porter served many years on the ministerial staff where he had a close-up view of what it takes to grow and sustain a church. Employing those strategies, with God as his guide, will prepare Porter to lead Greater Ebenezer to greater heights.
Outlining his plans, Porter said, “Some of our future goals are the continuation and expansion of our community outreach and involvement, a deepening experience of God’s glory in worship, and a further commitment to the ministry of the word of God and the proclamation Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.”
The upcoming Summer Revival will be one area where God’s word will go forth. The annual event begins Sunday, July 22, at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Services will continue from Monday, July 23, through Friday, July 27, at 7 p.m. The revivalist is the Rev. L. K. Curry, pastor emeritus of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Chicago.
Greater Ebenezer, which was organized in 1950 by the Rev. Alzo William Lott, currently offers a wide range of involvement opportunities for its congregation. In addition to Sunday worship at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., the church has several weekly ministries targeting children and adults such as Sunday School, Bible Studies, Music Ministry, Women’s General Mission, and Men’s Brotherhood.
For young people, the activities cover Children’s Church, Youth Choir, Youth Ushers, Praise Dance Ministry and the A.W. Lott Scholarship Ministry. Also, the Saturday Mornings Youth gathering aids spiritual development for youngsters from ages two-to-18 and The Outlet provides a place for teens and young adults to discuss issues, concerns, struggles and situations.
Acknowledging the challenges many churches face in attracting millennials, Porter explained, “While we want to be open to different tastes and sensibilities and are looking to incorporate some newer technologies, we do not want to chase trends or marginalize our faithful older members.
“At Greater Ebenezer, we strive to remember Whose church it is, and that ultimately He is building His church and will add to it those who are being saved, regardless of what decade they were born in.”
Beyond the church walls, GEMBC touches lives through its Evangelistic Outreach, which Porter describes as “taking the good news into the streets of our city, and food and clothing and hope to the homeless in downtown L.A.”
Listing other community activities, he cited GEMBC’s General Mission that operates the food pantry and ministers at local convalescent facilities, and the church’s Community Health and Career Fair that takes place every September.
“Numerous businesses and agencies come and provide career enhancement, health screenings and other services, all free of charge, as well a job opportunities. Some have even scheduled and performed interviews on the spot,” noted Porter.
Despite GEMBC’s busy agenda, Porter hopes the church will achieve even more in the future. “If God should spare me another five-to-10 years, I hope to see Greater Ebenezer flourishing, with a membership growing in passion for the things of God, loving one another from the heart, serving the Lord with gladness, and still allowing me preach to them!”
Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church is located at 5300 S. Denker Ave., in Los Angeles. For information, call (323) 759-4996 or visit gembcla.org.