Gerald O. Glenn, once a street gangster, says he will not stand by and watch while people in his community suffer
When Richmond, Va., pastor Gerald O. Glenn noticed the high divorce rate among couples in his church, he boldly declared a moratorium on weddings. And when local elected officials voted to "glorify Confederate history," he called for a community boycott.

Defending others isn't unusual for this one-time "gangster"-turned-police-officer-turned-preacher.

"I just can't stand by and watch people suffer," says Glenn, who pastors the city's 2,000-member New Deliverance Evangelistic Church (NDEC). "It doesn't matter if it's racism that's hurting them or cocaine. It's in me to help."

His strong ministry focus on healthy marriages started in part because he became weary of watching couples he knew getting divorced.

"I got tired of marrying couples in my church, and 90 days to a year later, they were divorced," said Glenn, who was once affiliated with the Church of God in Christ. Instead, before he performs ceremonies, Glenn and his wife, Marcietia, take couples through extensive marriage sessions that include teaching on finances, communication and intimacy.

"We preach Jesus and holiness, and that alone changes peoples' lives," he says. His 14 years of pastoral experience has taught Glenn that his approach to the gospel must be different. "My method in presenting the message of Jesus must be relevant."

His position naturally rubs off on his congregation. When First Monumental Faith Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., burned last year due to an electrical fire, NDEC members traveled 28 hours roundtrip on two 50-passenger buses to offer $5,000 and other support to the church.

NDEC, dubbed a "gentle giant" by the community, is noted for its compassion toward hurting people and the lost. Some members come from troubled backgrounds and have nowhere else to turn. At NDEC they find help through more than a dozen church ministries.

The church partners with the city of Richmond in assisting welfare mothers with employment, clothing and mentoring. "These people have real problems, and we offer them real solutions," Marcietia Glenn said.

Helping people turn their lives around comes naturally for Glenn, 48. He grew up in Portsmouth, Va.'s, toughest projects, and he says his ministry attracts hard-core ex-offenders because he used to be a "thug."

Through the NDEC prison ministry, ex-offenders find assistance with job placement, and the ministry hopes to one day offer housing. The goal of many of the programs at the church is to help people become viable and responsible members of society through Christ-centered teaching and educational resources.

Glenn said that, as a leader, he has an obligation to be active in the lives of people in the church, as well as in the community, where last year he called for a citywide boycott of local Chesterfield County malls and area restaurants in response to a planned controversial historical observance.

When then-Gov. Jim Gilmore designated more than a year ago that April 2001 would be Confederate History and Heritage month, Glenn and his congregation called on area churches and civic organizations to protest the monthlong observance.

Some insisted the April celebration was a way to "even the score with Black History Month," but most saw its commemoration of both the enslavement of black people and lynchings as a slap in the face to black and white residents. Confederate supporters told the Richmond Free Press the issue wasn't about race.

"We are not promoting slavery," Henry Kidd, of the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the newspaper. "All of us agree 100 percent that slavery was an abomination."

Kidd stunned the public in August when he came to Glenn's church seeking reconciliation for their past division. Glenn cried, and the two embraced as church members cheered. Glenn and Kidd now work together on the Heritage Month to foster unity in the city.

"We know that ultimately our fight is not against flesh and blood," Glenn said. "We are fighting for souls to come to Christ. That's our purpose for being in this community.
--Valerie G. Lowe

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Marriage man and woman

    Why Marriage Is Not Just Between a Man and a Woman

    Marriage is a miracle. Let us treat it like one.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit