Ministering to the total person Nearing the end of the month-long celebration for New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith Internationals 20th Anniversary, founding pastor Bishop Victor Curry took a moment to reflect on the journey of his church and its eventual future without him. Im appreciative of every single member-past present and future- because all of them have contributed, not just monetarily, but the whole nine yards, Curry told the Miami Times. Yet, Curry is also considering the churchs future without him as the overseer. He explained further, Me personally, Im trying to work myself out of a job. While he has no immediate plans to retire, awareness about in-fighting amongst congregants after a popular pastor leaves, has him planning for the future. To help ease any future tensions as well as continue the principles upon which New Birth Baptist Church was founded, Curry said he would choose a successor before he ever retired. I really believe in secession. I really believe that its more biblical, he said.
New Birth begins Founded on the principal that churches should be able to minister to any problem a person to is undergoing, New Birth Baptist Church was started with a handful of believers who met at first at Currys apartment. Since then, the congregation itself has grown to include over 13,000 members and the church now has over 60 ministries. The churchs interest now include a Christian bookstore, an employment ministry, a non-profit community development organization, Vision to Victory Human Services Corporation, the Christine Curry Child Development Center, the John A. McKinney Christian Academy and the Dr. E.V. Hill Bible College. Beyond the pulpit, Curry can be found in the community, hosting his own talk show, teaching at the bible college, and leading the Miami-Dade Chapter of the NAACP. Yet Curry sees his various roles as being a part of the tradition of Black pastors. A lot of our pastors have always moved out of the four consecrated walls, he said. One of the characteristics that have allowed him to thrive is his transparency, according to Curry. The whole thing is about accountability. People dont mind giving if they see where their money is going, he said. But that transparency, along with his heightened prominence in the public have come with a cost. Many times people have assumed that they know Curry when they first meet him. But the bishop says they are mistaken. They know Bishop Curry. Very few people know Victor, he explained. I know it sounds crazy, but I have to compartmentalize myself like that. According to Curry, Victor is very, very, very shy, doesnt talk a lot, doesnt engage a lot, and would rather be home. To help manage stress in his life, Curry prefers to drive alone in his car. Its just me time. Its very therapeutic, he said.
Growing into the role of father While Curry has been able to handle the responsibilities that come along with being a pastor, entrepreneur and civil rights advocate, he said that he was worried about how he would cope with the role of fatherhood. The father of three girls had never known his own father and was concerned that despite his desire to be one, he would fail.So Curry sought outside counsel. I didnt know how to be a father, so I prayed and I asked the Lord, he recalled. The answers he received told him to treat them like God treats him. In other words, God is present, protects, and disciplines. That wisdom has paid off. Ive always had a very, very good relationship with my daughters, he said. In conclusion of their celebratory festivities, New Birth Baptist Church invites the public to a special service to be held at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, where the church once held services, on June 26 at 7 p.m. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com