Little Rock Baptist Church: Rev. Jim Holley - 30 Years of Answering the Call
Subjects: Reverend James Holley
Description: A booklet honoring Rev. Jim Holley for 30 years of pastoring at Little Rock Baptist Church. Included is a list of his educational, community, and personal achievements. Also, a message from the Reverend himself is included.
Original Format: Other
Rights Management: Little Rock Baptist Church
Contributing Institution: Array
Relation: Little Rock Baptist Church
Contributor: Icee Griffin
Transcript: Page 2
There seems to be something no individual has been able to explain and only God really knows, what drives this man that always wants more for his church, family, and community.
The church has not only expanded numerically, but the edifice is "unbelievably beautiful." It's beauty can be found from the 24 karat gold canopy to the incomparable stain glass windows, the beautiful lower auditorium, as well as the professionalism that is replicated across this country with other churches. The presence of God is felt immediately as you enter the worshipful sanctuary and the voices of angels resonate as soon as you hear Jim Holley's oratorical skills.
The church family is a reflection of this sweet and loveable pastor. Tiffani and Tae'lor Marie, his personal family, are chips off the block. The church family has invested in the vision of their leader and the difference in the area is immediately felt. "Rev. Jim," wants so much more for his family of god and always has expectations that for the most part he finds reachable.
The community surrounding Historic Little Rock radiates as a result of the reflection of God in the presence of the church in the form of the Housing Development, the Family Life Center vision, the new Strip Mall recently opened and two more scheduled to open in the near future. The community is called by Rev. Holley, the "Redemptive Coast," and he has asked God to increase his coast and protect him from Satan's imps in order to save the people.
Rev. "Dr. Jim," has the Uttermost, the Guttermost, the Haves and the Have Nots, and he "Keeps Love Alive."
Rev. "Dr. Jim," has caused others to get involved in the community to help make Detroit Northend better.
The Detroit Academy of Arts & Sciences is his third birth; the first being Biological, the second being Theological, and the third being Educational. It has given him purpose beyond, and the 300 plus children and 300 plus employers and 30 million plus budget reflect that "God works through us." The Academy will go to Pre-K through 12th grade, and have a partnership with Comcast Cablevision, Detroit Medical Center, and Providence Hospital. It will offer one of two options upon graduation - college scholarships or job-readiness. As. Rev. Holley says, "we'll begin changing the world one student at a time."
In the Beginning
Sankofa states that in order to now where you're going, you must remember from whence you came. For some, this statement may seem like an oxymoron especially if they are still trying to find out their purpose in live. Rev. Jim Holley, pastor, teacher, businessman, community leader and humanitarian doesn't have a problem, as each progression towards a new goal is probably a constant reminder of his humble beginnings. One might even guess that that is what ultimately drives him.
His story has been told through self-publications, on-on-one interviews and the like and yet it's still intriguing that it bears repeating, as on reflects on the goodness of God. The personal relationship that man and the creator of man can develop, somehow right-wrongs, brings to light that hope is available, that as the songwriter wrote, "trouble don't last always," and that when you simply don't see a solution to your problem, there is always someone who loves you so much that what is seemingly impossible is in fact very possible and that one's potential is only limited when we expose it to its limitations.
Being raised primarily by his grandmother proved to be the turning point in his life. Their relationship was unique. What could they possibly have in common? She was a praying woman and had fulfilled her duty to the degree that she was called. Just as Timothy's grandmother and mother communicated their faith to him (II Timothy 1:5), such was the case with Rev. Holley. She instilled in him strong character, a hearty work ethic and a respect for mankind and a hear for God and his people.
It's with that same resolve that has put him in the position to now reflect on the past thirty years of ministry and to continue to move forward, for there is more to do. The motivating force behind it all is the need to find the way to make a difference.
In 1994, Rev. Holley's wrote a semi autobiographical book about his years growing up in Wolfe, West Virginia and his conversations with Jesus which lead to decisions to attend high school, college, seminary, the ministry and ultimately as pastor of The Historic Little Rock Baptist Church. While it has not been documented just how many times the "Jesus, this is Jimmy" and "Jimmy, this is Jesus" conversations took place, suffice it to say, they have served as the channel to divine guidance and direction.
Throughout his journey, what Rev. Holley has discovered is not a new revelation but a simple truth. When people are impoverished, lacking anything, be it money or peace of mind, they simply are not at their best self.
Everyone despite their upbringing or lot in life, has gifts and talents. The parable of the talents overall message suggest that what we do with them determines the outcome. Over the past 30 years, Rev. Holley has come to know what Jesus was referring to in being faithful over a few things and being made ruler over many things. One of Holley's many gifts is mobilizing people. His claim is that human beings are most mobilized when they are stakeholders.
In his many talks with Jesus, Rev. Holley was charged to "take this struggling church, Jimmy, and lead it to achieve it's full potential. Make it succeed."
Currently the church encompasses various programs and ministries designed specifically to meet the needs of the community and thus fulfilling the will of God. They include Christian Education, Community Outreach, Communication, Family, Mission, and Ministry in Evangelism/ Discipleship, Service, Service/Fellow, Senior Citizen's, Youth and Young Adults.
From 40 members in 1972 to over 4,000 to date, the church has grown in both size and congregation and within the congregation, many have grown economically.
Rev. Holley comes well decorated with a long list of accolades, academic achievements and affiliations and yet maintains humility as he insists that the focus can't be on the preacher alone, but rather the ministry. The work of the ministry dictates the conversation about the who he says.
Where it concerns the church, its congregation and the community in which the church is located, empowerment is key.
He therefore wants to make sure that the church is independent and self-sustaining knowing that the survival of the local church can not be dictated by the economy.
Under his leadership, some congregants have became members of the investment club, SHIP -= [Self Help Investment Program] and have parlayed their experience to become owners of real estate developments and strip malls. This, he hopes, ensures that ownership, not jobs, will be passed to the next generation such that each can stand on the shoulders of others instead of generation after generation starting over.
The beauty of his vision is that it leaves room to include others. This vehicle, if you will, will serve as model for other urban American churches to replicate.
Having raised a beautiful daughter, Tiffani and being a proud grandfather of Tae'lor Marie, I realize more than ever just how important creating a legacy is.
The legacy I want to create is for my people to have ownership. Not just my immediate family, but my church family and its surrounding community. This stems from education and economics. Everyone, then becomes a benefactor.
It would be foolish to just think about me. I have to think about a generation that hasn't been born yet. I believe that it is our responsibility to leave something for our children and those who follow us. Each generation builds their future on what was left by those who preceded them. I think it is very important that each of us leave something for the next generation that will enrich their lives and make their road a little easier to travel.
I hope and pray that my deeds and efforts help the next generation. If they never know my name and know that there was a man that god sent to Pastor at The Historic Little Rock Baptist Church who tried with a;; his being to make life better for us all, that will be the legacy I want to leave and God will get the glory.
Reverend Jim Holley, Ph.D.