After more than two decades as a leader of one of Chicago’s historic black churches, a popular pastor has announced that he’s retiring.
Pastor Charles Jenkins - the charismatic, unconventional young leader of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church - said he feels it’s time to begin the next act in his life.
“It’s important to listen to God’s guidance and voice,” he said. “I’m retiring from the first act – my first phase and looking forward to whatever I’ll do next… I felt like God placed it on my heart for 2019 to be my last year.”
Jenkins’ leadership journey began when he was 24, filling the shoes of legendary former pastor Rev. Clay Evans, who Jenkins said has given his blessing on the latest decision.
“He stuck out his hand and said, ‘Thank you so much for telling me the truth- I’m proud of you, whatever you do next,’” Jenkins said.
Under Jenkins’ leadership, membership at the church increased significantly. Some said Jenkins’ appeal to millennials played a part.
“Young people want honesty, transparency, and they want to know it’s real,” said Jenkins. “I think my whole approach has been authentic and vulnerable.”
Jenkins wears many titles – pastor, Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, community leader and more.
“God has given me versatility, diversity and ingenuity,” he said.
Jenkins believes his commitment to help and inspire others will continue well into retirement.
So what is next for him?
“The bombshell answer – I have no idea,” he said.
Jenkins is currently working on a new album with Stephanie Mills and Teddy Riley that will be out later this year. His successor, Rev. Reginald Sharpe, will join the church staff this month and train with Jenkins.