By, Tristan Turner
Habari Media sits down with Minister Trevor Barnes Jr aka BJ to talk about his ministry journey and how he feels about the church and its role in the black community.
T: Peace brother BJ (Trevor Barnes Jr.), Please tell us how you got interested in ministry…
Pastor: Well my father and uncles would tell me that I was destined to be a minister all the time!
I also had a teenage relationship which resulted in the woman getting an abortion which hurt me emotionally and led me to pleading to god that I will tell everyone about you if you can get me through this situation, and he did.
T: Where did you start?
Pastor: I started pastoring in Richmond and Oakland and around the bay area at different churches here and there. Richmond being a ship building town and railroad workers town in the 40’s then when all the jobs left, the people went into poverty. Now I’m operating out of St. Louis MO where the situation is like Richmond or Sacramento on steroids…
Our ministry style is one where we like to address the basic needs of the community first. The St Louis community that we serve, has a life expectancy of 17 years less than the affluent communities in the same city.
A lot of people are not able to make it to a hospital due to lack of public transportation and lack of personal vehicles or due to bad health etc.
T: What are some of the things the ministry is doing to help?
Pastor: The church is working on getting Aetna to provide funding for a mobile van or trailer that can be used to provide health care in these impoverished communities that dont have cars and aren’t healthy enough to be mobile.
A lot of people’s only method to get health services would be to call 911 and this needs to change.
The church also has veteran services, aids counseling, broken home counseling and a few other services that the people commonly need.
T: This is great and its a throwback to when the black church used to be very involved in providing services and supplementation to the community who didn’t have much to begin with.
I want to make sure to salute and give flowers now, to guys that are working with the community’s needs first before even beginning to convince anyone about Jesus etc.
Pastor: The people don’t care about what you have to say unless they see you actually care first!
The black panthers started with a serve the community mindset which allowed them to have success. Oakland to this day still implements some of their approaches to providing for the people.
Luke chapter 4 verse 18-19 says, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
I feel the church has actually failed the black community and needs to apologize! The fact that we have these groups outside of the church providing for the community in place of the church tells me that the church has lost its way. I want to say to the people out there that there are people who are grinding and keeping the people first and showing what the gospel is about (not to be confused with religion or the church) but the gospel.
T: Well brother, places like Richmond, Oakland, and St Louis very much need the services of guys like yourself who have a community needs first mind set. salute.
please give us the name of your ministry.
Pastor: North side 7 day Adventist church. please check us out at www.northsidesda.org Trevor Barnes Jr on YouTube as well to engage the church in any way.
We hope to hear from you soon!
Tristan Turner is a writer for Habari News Media