Pastor found God while serving time

Church where community, worship and mission exist

Malika A. Wright | 8/8/2013, 10:53 a.m.
While being confined in a Los Angeles County jail cell, more than 20 years ago, amongst other prisoners who plotted ...

While being confined in a Los Angeles County jail cell, more than 20 years ago, amongst other prisoners who plotted on stripping their neighbors of belongings, money or dignity,   Jack Hakimian looked up to the celling and cried out to God.

“God, if you're real. Jesus, if you’re real…Please help me,” he shared his testimony on a Christian Broadcasting Network television show.

Only two hours later, he was transferred to another unit, and soon after, a pastor gave him a Bible.

"I'm telling you the word of God was just jumping out and speaking to me,” Hakiman said. “Jesus showed up and began to help me, and one of the first things he did was imparted his peace into my heart and into my life.”

Over the next six months in jail, Hakimian made a sincere commitment to Jesus to turn his life around.  This meant walking away from his old lifestyle as a gang member and a drug dealer, who was led by violence.

After being released from prison hang with his gang again. But it wasn’t long after that he took a stand for God.

The gang leader told him and other members to kill men of the revival gang.

“God wouldn’t be happy,” Hakimian responded. The leader said well “Imma show you who God is,” going into another room and coming back with a sawed off shot gun.

“I'm just giving this advice because I don’t want them to go to hell,” he said, with his hands up. “I don’t want them to spend life in prison. I don't want people to die unnecessarily.”

“Look man, I want you to leave right now,” the gang leader, said in response.

“I took his offer really quick,” Hakimian said.

Hakimian passionately leads Impact Miami

Two decades later, Hakimian is not known because of who he used to be. He is a born-again Christian, who is married with four children and has pastored Impact Miami Church for the past two years.

Hakimian and his wife, Jhael, both heard God’s call to move to Miami from Los Angeles to church plant, develop leaders and do life empowering holistic ministry.Their passion for urban culture, ethnic diversity and a collaborative organic approach for the transformation of Miami is evident is many of their church events, which include: kids summer camp, Youth Nights on Thursdays, Worship nights on Wednesdays, Christian Nightclub on Fridays, Couples’ Group on 4th Sundays and Open Mic Nights on last Saturdays.

The church’s vision is to grow in quantity and in quality through evangelism and nurturing healthy Christians in an environment where community, worship and mission exist.   Along with the planting of new independent churches, the church’s vision is to also see the spiritual and social transformation of Miami, while working in cooperation with other city leaders in a Christian manner.

The church has a young  congregation of about 100 members. Hakimian also owns a web design company called Global Presence. He is building an online following with his podcast called The Jack Hakimian Show, his Youtube videos and the creation of many websites.