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5 Things I wish I'd known before I went to College

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went To College

 

It’s “Back-to-School Season”; that time of year when youth and young adults around the world say “good-bye” to Summer fun and freedom, and go back to the structure and routine of school.

Senior year symbolically marks the end childhood and the beginning of adulthood: and for many, life on your own in college.

I still remember my first realization that I’d be leaving the small-town comforts and familiarity of home and family to embark upon the journey to adulthood in the big city. Up until that point, I’d spent most of my time focused on finishing my last year of high school; planning and preparing for entrance exams, college applications and portfolios; and gathering the necessities for dormitory life. Then it hit me: I’m going to be living a totally new life – and I had no idea what that was going to be.

Looking back now, I see an amazing adventure, and I wouldn’t have traded in a day of those experiences. But years later, much has changed in the world of today. The times are very different: and there might be a few things I’d want to know if I were doing it all over again.

Here are 5 things I wish I’d known before going away to college:

  1. Your faith will be tested. Your first encounters may be with people, activities, or ideas which are the exact opposite of everything you’ve learned to be true up until now.But although it’s great to learn new things, that doesn’t mean that your faith is wrong: even if everyone in society says otherwise.Your homework assignment for today: Read about Daniel and his friends in The Book of Daniel, chapters 1-6. Best advice here? Practice discipline. Know that saying “No” is a strength: not a weakness.
  2. It’s not necessarily a Christ-centered education you’re getting. Unless you’re attending a Christian college or seminary, your education is going to be secular; meaning, it may uphold more worldly ideas than Godly ones. I always thought that college was a more in-depth, specialized version of what we get in high school, and like the news, education was supposed to be neutral and objective, based on a central (bible-based) truth. Well, that’s no longer true for the news, and it’s not always true for your college education either. Holding onto your faith will prove to be an important asset (Proverbs 2:1-2).
  3. It’s a crash course in tolerance. My coed college dorm was a converted apartment building with large apartments as dorm rooms. Within my first two years of college, I’d had seven roommates; among them: a lovable white “hippie” drug dealer; a physically-challenged adopted Asian; a free-spirited African-American; a prim, Southern white supremacist; a shy Latino. That close proximity to actually living with diversity has continued to prepare me for life experiences to this day (Ephesians 4:2-5).
  4. You won’t always have someone on your side. Nope, not even professors. As a matter of fact, many professors feel it’s their duty to break you of whatever old ideas they think you’re harboring in order to make you “a new creation”. But remember your faith: and according to 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, that’s Jesus’ job. Joseph’s story in Genesis 34 is a great one to remember regarding the trials – and rewards – of staying faithful to the dream God has for you.
  5. It’s a very important step in a much bigger journey. Be proactive about your education; develop as many of your skills as possible. Where a syllabus may fall short culturally or spiritually, research other titles which can supplement your knowledge base. It’s important to seek and learn all you can to prepare yourself for the life God created you for (Matthew 25:14-30). Staying true to your Christian faith when you’re young will yield many rewards later in life, and this is just the beginning.

I guess the diversity of experiences was a gift, and I chose to accept it head-on (unlike our troubled, white supremacist roommate who, upon asking to be moved to another apartment during our first semester, was never seen or heard from by any of us again). My college years eventually led me to a fuller understanding of Jesus, of God, of my own values, and of the world. It may sound trite, but life really is a wonderful journey if you remember to keep the faith, stay the course, and hold on to the lessons it brings.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES -Daniel 1-6, Proverbs 2:1-2,Ephesians 4:2-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18,Genesis 34, Matthew 25:14-30.

Are you ready for college?

Watch the trailer for the film, “God Is Not Dead”-

When atheist philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) plans to forego “dusty arguments” in his class, he insists the new students declare that “God Is Dead.” Unable to do this, Josh (Shane Harper) is challenged to defend his faith and prove to the class that God is NOT Dead. 

BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO YOUR DREAMS seem to be marked, “Never to be fulfilled”? Do you feel that it is impossible for your dreams to come true? Do you fear your dreams are too big to achieve?  Let  Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teach you the biblical principles to follow from the life of Joseph and other dreamers. In Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, you’ll learn how faith, integrity and endurance will pull you out of the valley and up to the peak of success. Bishop Blake will encourage you to pick your dreams back up, dust them off, and persevere to the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life.

PURCHASE Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Charles E. Blake, Sr. at the WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 731-3012 for more info.

Bishop Blake: Why We Need The Church

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. shares with us why the church is of vital importance in today’s world.

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’ (Psalm 122:1)
 …not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” (Hebrews 10:25) 

 

IMAGINE a world without the church.  Can you conceive of how bad things would be? Conditions are already bad on the earth in which we live. The moral standards of our nation have gone into the sewer; mankind today is doing every conceivable thing – and even some things that have not yet been conceived!

Why do we need the church?

The work of the church is important because:

  1. The church points men to their Creator.
  2. The church defines the meaning of life.
  3. The church prepares men for eternity.
  4. The church talks about morality.
  5. The church gathers people together to hear the Word of God and the will of God.

If the church were not here, who would tell men about Jesus?

If the church were not here, who would point men to God?

If the church were not here, who would stand for morals; calling right ‘right’, and wrong ‘wrong?’

“The work of the church is more important than any institution in the world because it makes the spirit of man its central focus.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

Every endeavor has a place. Every pursuit has a place, and we go to that place to pursue what it stands for. The church is that place which stands for God. We ought to make sure that we have a house where we can worship Him; to lift our hands and praise Him! When we fail to provide a place of worship, it indicates a lack of sincerity and commitment to God.

We also need to make the church as great as we possibly can. God gave us His best when He gave us Jesus Christ; therefore, we ought to give God our best. God’s house ought to reflect the beauty and majesty of God; a beautiful, a spacious place which accommodates the people of the Lord.

David said in Psalm 122, “I glad was when they said unto me, let us go into house of the Lord.”  The work of the church is more important than that of any institution in the world because no other institution makes the spirit of man its central focus.

We need the church to tell men about God’s Will, and to push him higher than he’s ever gone before.  God has a plan for mankind and for this world, and the world needs to turn to God.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Adapted from the sermon, “Of Your Own, We Have Given You”; July 26, 2015, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. at West Angeles Church Of God In Christ.  PHOTO – W. E. B. DuBois, 1899. “Photographs of African Americans in Georgia exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.” Courtesy, Library of Congress.


WEST ANGELES is growing to better serve the community! Please CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW to give to the West Angeles Building Fund.

10 Inspiring Quotes on American Independence, Liberty and Freedom

In honor of Independence Day, West Angeles Church of God In Christ reflects upon the American ideals which have guided us thus far toward becoming the greatest nation on earth:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

– From The Declaration of Independence

 

“We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government it’s surest support.”

 George Washington

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us, a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

– From the American National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key

 

“Lift ev’ry voice and sing,

‘til earth and heaven rings;

Rings with the harmonies of liberty.”

– From “The Negro National Anthem,” James Weldon Johnson and  J. Rosamond Johnson

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”.

-From  “I Have A Dream,” the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My country ‘tis of thee

Sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing.

Land where our fathers died; land of the Pilgrim’s pride;

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

-From “America,” Samuel Francis Smith

 

“America, America, God sheds His grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.”

-From “America The Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates

 

“Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal…In chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t feel ashamed about; memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild”.

-From “Dreams From My Father,” President Barack Obama

 

Have a Blessed Independence Day, From West Angeles Church of God In Christ!

 

 

Bishop Blake: A Prayer Agenda for Fathers

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10

 

“There’s a great hunger, a great need for expert advice on today…Abject failures are clamoring to tell you how to succeed.”

“Bad advice is everywhere but good expert advice is hard to find.”

“Sometimes, advice is very expensive, but there can be no more important dimension than that which relates to God and to eternal life.”

“The best advice comes from the Word of God.”

“It is so important to read the Bible for yourself.”

“Isn’t it great to be caught doing good?”

“Doesn’t it seem a little strange that Paul would pray for a group that seems to be doing pretty good?”

“All of us know a good start, but few of us are able to persevere.”

“When you decide you want to do something excellent for God, that’s when the devil attacks.”

“If you’ve never had a run-in with the devil, it may be because you’re going in his direction.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“You ought to be further ahead and more accountable to God than you were last year.”

“Success imposes responsibility. Blessings impose responsibility.”

“When you are succeeding, it takes a strong, secure person to help you and not get jealous of you.”

“Many consider the apostle Paul to be the greatest preacher that ever lived, except for Jesus Christ.”

“When something is filled, it has no room for anything else. And when we are filled with the truth, there’s no room for error.”

“Paul did not just pray for knowledge, but for divine knowledge.”

“You don’t know a person because you’ve shaken hands with a person…you’ve got to stay around the person.”

“The most important associate you can ever have is God almighty.”

“Stay around the Lord.”

“The priorities of so many men are confused…They want the knowledge of God so that they can accomplish their will. It’s not our will, but God’s will.”

“Wisdom is practical knowledge.”

“A dumb question is better than a stupid mistake.”

“It’s not our will, but God’s will.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“How many of you know that God will guide you and direct you?”

“When you’re prayerful… the Spirit of the Holy Ghost will guide you and direct you.”

“My brother…if you would open your heart to the Lord, He was a way of directing you in His way.”

“Your outward life ought to bring credit to your master’s name…If you’re a servant of the Lord, your life ought to reflect that.”

“The Lord wants us to be fruitful.”

“We need the help of God.”

“’Wait’ means trust in God. ‘Wait’ means rely on God. ‘Wait’ means believe that God is going to strengthen you. And if you put your trust in Jesus, He has a way of showing up.”

“Lord, I need your power. I need your presence. If you call Him, he’ll show up!”

“Lord, fill me with your power!”

“Jesus is alive!”

“God will bring you though!” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“Your enemies may come against you to bring you down, but God will pick you up.”

“God will bring you out! God will bring you over! God will bring you though!”

“Patience is endurance; it’s the ability to hold out and not be blocked by any attack of the enemy.”

“Thanksgiving is a command of God.”

“God wants you to stand!”

“Joy is in the Word of God!”

“The Lord is good!”

Adapted from the sermon, “Paul’s Prayer Agenda for Fathers.”  Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.  See our entire Father’s Day service featuring Shelby 5, on The Legacy Broadcast.

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Colossians 1:3-14, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Matthew 22:29, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Proverbs 14:12, James 1:5, Ephesians 5:17, John 14:26, Proverbs 3:6,2 Timothy 2:19, John 15:5, Galatians 6:9, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Timothy 1:7, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49, Jeremiah 33:3, Luke 10:19, Romans 8:31, Hebrews 12:2, Jude 1:24, Revelation 22:13.


Shelby 5 was our musical guest on Father’s Day 2017 at West Angeles Church of God In Christ! Hear their awesome acapella version of “CHAMPION” below:

DID YOU KNOW? The West Angeles Counseling Center has classes on parenting and marriage. We provide support and services to help strengthen every member of the family, and you do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

Discipleship: Please Join Us for Movie Night!

The West Angeles Department of Discipleship would like to invite you to our April MOVIE NIGHT!

Witness the transforming power of forgiveness in the movie, THE GRACE CARD, where a police officer and part-time Pastor work together in life-threatening situations, even when they don’t see eye to eye on anything else.

Everything can change in an instant…and take a lifetime to unravel. Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships by extending and receiving God’s grace. Offer The Grace Card, and never underestimate the power of God’s love.

West Angeles Discipleship movie Grace Card

Join us at the West Angeles North Campus on

Friday, April 21, in Room 8 at 7 p.m.

Address: 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Please Join Us on Resurrection Sunday!

PRESIDING BISHOP CHARLES E. BLAKE, FIRST LADY MAE L. BLAKE

and the

WEST ANGELES WORSHIP AND ARTS MINISTRY with Dr. Judith McAllister

 invite you to worship with with us on

EASTER SUNDAY: RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

RESURRECTION Sunday2017

CLICK THE VIDEO BELOW TO LEARN MORE!

AND:

RESURRECTION concert 2017
Easter flyer 2017 copy

Morning Services at The West Angeles Cathedral
Address: 3600 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Evening Concert at The West Angeles North Campus Sanctuary
Address: 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

7 Steps to Persistence Through Christ

Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you – Philippians 4:9

No matter which stage of life one is in, persistence will usually secure the desired experience. Whether it is an infant crying for a bottle, a child who is begging his parent for a particular toy, a teenager who asks to borrow the car, or one spouse entreating the other, all will find that being persistent will eventually gain the desired attention. Well, just as we are determined to acquire certain items or favors, we must be even more determined and persistent in what we demonstrate through our lives.

Determination, perseverance, resolve, diligence and tenacity are just some of the words that define persistence, and these must be our aim in living for Jesus each day. Here are 7 steps to living a life of persistence through Jesus Christ:

  1. We will arise to each new day with the desire to be a Holy Vessel for His Glory. Philippians 4:1-Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters stay true to the Lord. 4-Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

  2. We won’t allow any challenge to deter us from living for Jesus. Philippians 4:6-Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.

  3. We will be mindful of the thoughts which we allow to linger in our minds, and we will only embrace those thoughts which motivate us to live even the more for Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:8-Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

  4. We will strive to obey Jesus, no matter how others treat us, talk about or ridicule us. Philippians 4:5-Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. 7-Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

  5. We must display the Spirit of Christ through our lives each day. We can’t just talk about being Christians, Followers of Jesus Christ, or Sons or Daughters of the Great High God, but we must truly live the Christian life. Philippians 4:9-Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) – Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. And Colossians 4:6 (ESV)-Let your speech always be gracious
  6. We share with others the joy and benefits of living persistent lives as Christians. John 20:21 – As the Father has sent Me, so also I am sending you.
  7. We find that as we mature in the Lord, all that God requires of us not only advances the testimony of His Holy Kingdom, but also enriches our own lives. 1 Peter 1:8(NLT) – You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. John 14:27(NLT) – I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart.

Jesus wants us to share with the world the sweet truth of how He forgives us, no matter what we have done, and that we can do and complete whatever task He gives us. Better than milk, persistence in living for Jesus does the body, mind and spirit good.

There is nothing like it- the satisfaction of knowing that the Father is pleased with us, loves us unconditionally and displays His faithful love to us each moment of our lives. Thank you God for the invitation, and for the ability to live for Your glory and for the betterment of our lives both here and in the hereafter.

We Love You Lord! We Praise You Lord! We honor and bless Your Holy Name! God bless you my beloved Kingdom sisters and brothers!

Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years. She serves on-staff as the Executive Director of Bereavement Ministries. She holds both Honorary Doctorate and Earned Doctorate degrees. Dr. Lewis has been teaching the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship for over 34 years at West Angeles, along with other teaching venues.


Hear Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music perform “DETERMINED” –

Member Profile: Dr. Judith McAllister

West Angeles Church of God In Christ welcomes back Dr. Judith Christie McAllister as she leads West Angeles’ Music and Worship Arts Ministry into its glorious future. Read the latest interview with Dr. McAllister as she discusses her history, her vision, and her musical goals for the year ahead in a recent feature from the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Dr. McAllister, please tell us about your ministry, and your role in the church.

My name is Judith McAllister and the ministry I am honored to serve in is that of “Worship” in every sense of the word. As a Worship Leader, who makes others aware of the presence of God in those special times dedicated to “Praise and Worship” within the church, I have the responsibility to set, maintain and protect the atmosphere, to ensure that it is conducive for the glory of God to reside.

Through the lens of worship, I have the honor of governing in the servant leadership position of the International Minister of Music/President for the

Dr. Judith McAllister.

Dr. Judith McAllister.

Church of God in Christ, Inc., which boasts over 6 million members worldwide. In this role, I coordinate the musical presentations for all of our major conferences and services. I also have the responsibility to travel to various churches within the brotherhood to teach, train, instruct and impart to the constituents tools necessary for excellence in their presentation of worship and music. Also, I have once again been given the wonderful opportunity to serve as the minister of music, worship and liturgy at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., serves as senior pastor.
In addition, I am the CEO of three entities that enable me to mentor, train and empower the next generation in music and worship arts. Judah Music Group LLC, which served as the springboard for the following recordings – “Send Judah First” (2000), “Raise the Praise” (2002), “In His Presence” (2006) and “Sound The Trumpet” (2008); Never Ending Worship (N.E.W.) Enterprises LLC, which houses all ministry products, and Never Ending Worship Ministries, (NEW MIN.) which serves as the foundation for all workshops and ministry engagements.

How long have you been in ministry, and how did you get started in it?

I have been ministering for over 35 years and this ministry began in my home church in New York City, (The Manhattan Holy Tabernacle) where I developed a love for the hymns of the church. Matriculating through my foundational years of school, I was named a prodigy; a classically-trained pianist studying at the famed School of the Performing Arts in New York, (graduating at 16 years of age) which afforded the initial tools necessary to execute my craft with precision and excellence, which in turn opened many doors, allowing me to participate in piano recitals at some of the city’s most prestigious halls such as CAMI, Carnegie and Lincoln Center.

What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?

God is all to me. It is within Him that I live and move and have my being. I do all that I do, because of my love and sincere gratitude for His love, favor and grace upon my life. In being recognized as a trailblazer in the area of praise and worship in the African American Church, my faith allows me to provide new paradigms for kingdom excellence in ministry; and in addition to mentoring music ministers all around the globe, I trust and have faith that my instruction continues to impact the body of Christ by elevating the understanding of radical, reverent and revelational worship.
What is one of the most memorable moments or experiences during your ministry?

Following a very powerful worship service, a young single mother approached me to say that her child was moved to tears while I was singing and ministering in song. I looked at the young 7-year-old boy, who was still under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and spoke into his life that the hand of God was on him and that he too, one day, would be a servant of the Lord in ministry. It blessed me so to see his face light up with joy and the essence of the Holy Spirit overshadowing him. In that moment, I understood and was blessed by the knowledge that the Lord used me as a vessel to awaken something within him, something neither he nor his mother had ever witnessed before!

What are you doing or working on now, and what are some of your future goals?

I am currently working on the “Promises of God” Project, which is inclusive of a CD single, a daily devotional and other worship aids of the same name, scheduled for release June 2017.
One of my many aspirations is to build a School of Worship and Arts for those who desire to be excellent in their presentation, spiritually, musically and professionally. I also desire to utilize my record label to give young, anointed and integral worship leaders the platform to be exposed to the world; to open doors for them that I did not have the privilege of walking through when I was young and on fire for the Lord.

Finally, my life is aptly summarized by this personal mission statement: “To fulfill the purpose of God for my existence to its fullest capacity, to die empty: having maximized every gift, passed on every ounce of wisdom having been blessed to obtain, completed every assignment and accomplished all that God has ordained for my life.”

Adapted from “L.A. Women of the Gospel – Judith McAllister.”  Published March 15, 2017. Reprinted courtesy of the LA Sentinel.


Hear the West Angeles Mass Choir lead by Dr. Judith McAllister in a performance of “Great”; West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

Bishop Blake, Magic Focus on Advancing Black Males

Originally posted on LAsentinel.net.

Bishop Charles E. Blake, pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, and businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson are partnering to offer advancement services to equip African American men to succeed in life.

During the official launch event on March 18 at West Angeles COGIC, the two leaders announced the initiative before an audience of 400+ men attending the church’s Brotherhood Organization gathering.

The program, billed as “Super Saturday,” featured breakfast and motivational speeches by Blake, Johnson and actor and entrepreneur Romell Witherspoon.

“This initiative was birthed out of a deep concern about poor academic achievement, financial disenfranchisement, high unemployment, soaring crime levels, the desperate state of the African-American male and the breakdown of the family unit that plagues our cities, small and large, urban and rural,” explained Blake.

To combat those challenges, the advancement services will focus on education (access, excellence and  equity), economic development (job creation and training), crime prevention (reduction and  rehabilitation), family life (developing healthy men, women and children) and financial literacy (earning, saving, investing and spending wisely).

While West Angeles COGIC already offers 20 programs specifically for men, Blake noted the Super Saturday event strengthens the church’s effort to do even more to help African American males.

“This is kind of a special day to have Earvin with us now and Witherspoon, a very sharp entrepreneur, to share with us from a millennial perspective. Nobody’s a better businessman than Earvin “Magic” Johnson. He’s taking us to another level and we’re going to continue as long as we are here,” said Blake.

Explaining that the initiative is another step towards community improvement, Johnson said, “The face of our community changed when Bishop built the church (West Angeles Cathedral).  I think people’s minds were changed, so now we have products and services and goods that we never had before in our community.

“We have had so many things happen that are positive in our community. This is what it’s all about. We’ve got to continue to take striving steps to make our community better.”

Johnson’s commitment to community development and empowerment is illustrated by his long history of establishing businesses and hiring people in underserved communities across the nation. In South L.A., he is heralded for opening a movie theater, several Starbucks and other businesses in the area. Through his Magic Johnson Foundation, he sponsors a number of philanthropic campaigns such HIV educational and  awareness programs.

A 25-year member of West Angeles COGIC and president of the L.A. Lakers, Johnson said, “I’m never going to change.  It’s not about my job or what I do, but who I am.  I will always be a man who will be involved.”

“His businesses that he manages here in Los Angeles and the economic opportunities he provides are in the hood or near the hood. So I’m very proud of him and his efforts to improve to enhance the community,” added Blake.