Busta’s Person of the Week: Pastor Leak is giving our youth a voice

Pastor Robert Leak III

Busta’s Person of the Week: Pastor Leak is giving our youth a voice
January 24
09:24 2019

By Busta Brown

“They might not sound like a TD Jakes, or what the elders want them to look and sound like, but we must give them the opportunity to be heard,” said Pastor Robert Leak III.

I asked Leak how we can bridge the gap in church and communities between the youth and adults. “Their lifestyle may not look like how God used you, but the elders, local politicians and church heads must appreciate the youth testimonies, and I promise the church will grow and communities will get better,” replied Leak.

Pastor Leak is the associate Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Holiness Church in Winston-Salem and has been the president of the Easton Neighborhood Association since the age of 17; he’s now 30. “I matured fast after my mom transitioned into heaven. My grandfather immediately set some rules. You had to go to church every Sunday, you had to go to school, you had to go to college, and you had to do community work. And I’m not mad at that because that’s how God designed my life to be. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Robert didn’t have fun like other kids in his neighborhood; his fun was all business. “On Monday nights my grandfather had me at city council meetings; Tuesdays I was at school board meetings; Wednesdays was Bible Study; and Thursdays were Easton Neighborhood Association meetings. Fridays was prayer service and Saturdays we were cleaning up the communities. So, my childhood was tasking,” he said with pride and a smile.

His grandfather, Robert Leak I, was the president of the Easton Neighborhood Association, and passed the baton to him at 17. Since then it’s grown tremendously. “As a kid, I’ve seen prostitution, drug activity, and gang activity, lots of neglect and the kids had nowhere to play.

God gave me a vision to organize an entirely new board and we created programs for the youth, worked with Winston-Salem Parks and Recreation to install a new playground, and the Sprite Bottling Company resurfaced the basketball courts.” Easton Association was the first neighborhood in Winston-Salem to be recognized and receive a historical marker.

Robert has also made a difference at his home church, Mount Pleasant Christian Holiness Church. With his boots on the ground in the Winston-Salem inner cities, the youth membership has grown tremendously. He received his calling to preach at 14. “Society is missing more strong, young black men, so I go out into the community to listen to what they need because I was once their age and not too far from that at 30. When we teach our young men to be community leaders, when they become adults, they will pour back into those that follow them. I believe that a wise parent or adult can see inside our youth what God is going to do for them.

God showed my grandfather something special in me and he gave me that push I needed.”

Robert said if young black men had that grandfather influence, it would make a big difference, “and I believe the community would be a better place because of that as well.”

Go to thewinstonsalem Chronicle YouTube page to see the rest of this very empowering interview with this future world leader. Pastor Robert Leak III became the first African-American president of the New South Community Coalition, a coalition that is a comprised of four neighborhood associations located on the south side of Winston-Salem.

He also serves on numerous boards, including vice chairman of Winston-Salem Human Relations Commission, Habit for Humanity Board Directors, Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful, Black Philanthropy Initiative for the Winston-Salem Foundation, president of the New South Community Coalition, and president of the Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful Board of Directors, Piedmont Environmental Alliance Board, and Horizons Residential Care Center.

The Winston-Salem native is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, Class of 2016. Robert is the recipient of many leadership and volunteer awards, including the Winston-Salem Foundation’s Echo Award.

Robert’s favorite saying is “ Trouble never lasts always.”

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