From Gang Member to Pastor: Bernard’s Story

Without a dad to look up to at home, Bernard was initiated into a gang at ten years old. His high school was mainly Latino and Black. He wouldn’t go so far to say that he hated white people, but as he says, he didn’t like them much. His life changed when his mother took him to church. Bernard saw the pastor as a man who took care of his family and his community. When Bernard saw the pastor’s positive influence on his community, he knew he wanted to be a pastor.

World Impact’s approach to urban ministry, with different ethnicities working towards the same mission, inspired Bernard and was drastically different from what he had experienced growing up. He received training through World Impact’s Evangel School of Church Planting and was commissioned to start his own training center for church planters.

Today, Bernard is a pastor in Oakland and partners with World Impact to transform his community through the gospel. Bernard’s church has formed a “needs network” and a leadership center for the formerly incarcerated. Bernard shares, “I don’t see an ‘ex-felon.’ I see the next leader of a church or a community. We are better together, stronger together, and can transform communities together.”

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