The Miami Times 2013-09-29 03:59:32
caines | 2/27/2013, 7:17 a.m.
Church focuses on spiritual growth, family and the youth Youre gonna be a preacher, different people said to Rev. Dennis M. Jackson, II, while he was growing up. No, Im not, the pastor of New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, would respond. As a preachers kid, Jackson witnessed all of the challenges that came along with the job. He also didnt like the constant scrutiny and close observation that came along with pastoring. But sure enough, as many had prophesied, Jackson had heard Gods calling on his life to become a pastor in his 30s. He had even felt the restlessness that came along with not obeying God and not submitting to His will. Then finally, he answered the call without letting his fear or nervousness stop him. Once I accepted the call, I felt peace, he said. Nine years have passed since Jackson first started pastoring at New Mt. Moriah and although there have been some ups and downs, he proudly shepherds a church that is on a mission to lead people to the knowledge of Christ through worship, witnessing, work and the word of God. Jackson said over the years, both he and his congregation have grown spiritually, which is the churchs top priority. New Mt. Moriah also focuses on family, reaching out to the community and impacting the youth, according to Jackson. Interestingly, the church that is primarily made up of seniors puts forth a majority of their effort into serving the youth of the community through its tutoring services, youth sports teams and a teen outreach program. Partnership with police department But Jackson does not only serve the community through pastoring, he also works as senior executive assistant to the Miami chief of the police. He describes his two positions as an interesting marriage. Jackson believes it is important for youth to build a proper relationship with law enforcement, through programs such as the Police Athletic League whose members tutors and coaches at New Mount Moriah. Through 9ll Mentoring, a new program that Jackson and other law enforcement officers have designed, they plan to help equip young people with vital skills and empower them to make the right decisions through mentorship. If you develop a relationship with [at-risk youth] at school, then you probably wont have the problems that you have with them on the streets, Jackson said. They plan on helping the youth discover their purpose in life, helping them develop self-love, taking them on college tours, giving them employable skills and working with their parents to offer any advice that they may need. The program will be piloted at Brownsville Middle in a couple of weeks. They plan on eventually serving in all schools. A lot of the young men, they dont have father figures, their fathers not there, maybe theyre away or incarcerated, and thats one of the areas where we want to step in and be involved, Jackson said. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@Miamitimesonline.com