Busta’s Person of the Week: Local bishop ministers to the whole man: body, soul and spirit

June 24
10:59 2024

By Busta Brown

This past Father’s Day, the congregation at Whole Man Ministries learned the most valuable gift a father can give his children: “I can give my kids a house or a car. But you know what? The greatest gift is to give them the word of God. To give them a relationship with Him. Because one day I may not be in their lives. And people go and come, family members come and go. But one thing that is there for eternity and that is God. 

“God was saying to Abraham, I know he’s going to teach his children about me. I know he’s going to tell them how he got him through. 

“For the greatest gift is that I show my children that I have to call on God’s name. That I must pray, I have to believe in God and that they have to trust and see me serving him. I must be honest, Busta, I started to cry during the sermon, because I said, man, I’ve done my job. If I have pointed them toward God, I’ve done my job,” said Bishop Barry Washington. He’s the senior pastor at Whole Man Ministries in Winston-Salem, and The Light Gospel Radio Station’s 2024 Pastor of the Year.

How did you feel when you received the Pastor of The Year award?

“I was like, wow, you know, that’s really a blessing because of the work that I put in. I don’t do it to be recognized, but when you are, it makes the world of difference. Everybody needs a pat on the back every now then. It blessed me because it gave me confirmation that I was doing the right thing. I love to fight for those who don’t have a voice, continue to help the homeless and continue to reach out beyond the walls of this church and make a difference in the community. This award helps blow the air amongst my wings and keep on flying, baby, keep on flying.”

Where did the concept of Whole Man Ministries come from?

“The scripture Thessalonians 5:23 came up, which says your whole body, soul and spirit be blameless unto the coming of the Lord. I had lived a tough, a rough life, you know. I realized that when I did go to church they didn’t deal with the whole man.”

Why do you feel God chose you to minister to those who are lost, bound, hurting and seeking the truth?

“I was going to Winston Salem State University having to pay my tuition and living alone with a six-year-old boy. I didn’t have the money or resources, so I dabbled in the pharmaceutical business, and as a result of that, I found myself in a little trouble. I was trying to buy a house and trying to do a whole lot of things at one time, and a friend of mine introduced me to the hustling lifestyle. He said, ‘Man, it could help you to get money to pay your tuition and anything else you want.’ So, you know, I found myself going in that pathway, but eventually it led to God because I realized, man, that it wasn’t a life for me. I was able to overcome that, and now you see me going into prisons and jail to preach to people. The Governor appointed me to serve on one of his boards. I realized I had to be the mouthpiece and share my life struggles.”

What message do you preach to those who are in prisons and broken spiritually, physically or mentally?

“As a pastor, I go into trenches with the people to understand the plight of them and what they’re going through, because I’ve already gone through it. So, I preach with passion because I’m saying to them, you can get up and you can get out. My first assignment is to get the men whom I’m speaking to in prison on the same team. I have to break them down and remind them that everybody here is crying, and they start laughing. I said no, look at your neighbor and say you’re crying too. I want them to know that we all made this mistake somehow. We’re in this place, and all of us are crying. And then I say, look at the man beside you and say you got permission, you got permission to serve, you got permission to worship God. This way, it eases tension among the crowd and allows one another to feel comfortable praising God.

“I tell them 75% of the New Testament was written in prison. Paul wrote a great part of it, and so we have Joseph, Paul, Peter and John the Baptist were all in prison. Jesus was on death row, so I let them see that they’re in good company. I remind them that when they’re watching TV, all are jumping up for their favorite sports teams, rooting for them. Then why not shout for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords? If you can shout for LeBron, you got to be able to shout for Jesus, man. It was God that kept you even when you didn’t know any better. And even knowing what you’re going through, God is able to keep you. God is able to sustain you. I teach them that true worshippers are real, man. I said the family goes the way we go, so you have a great influence on your family and friends. I said to them, everybody is broken because of their absence. Everyone from your mother, wife, kids and even your friends are broken because of your absence. But you are coming out of this, baby.”

Tell us about “The Men Under Authority” class.

“Jesus was a man under authority, and so we try to impress upon the men that you have influence and that you have authority. A lot of times, we feel like we don’t have authority, and we have no influence, but we do. I mean, even the weakest among us have some authority. You can have authority as long as you are under authority and to be under authority is to have some accountability. To be under authority, you must move within the realms of those rules and regulations. Because once you’re outside of that, you’re no longer a man under authority. I’m operating within the realm of the authority that God is giving me. I have heavenly power as a bishop to be able to do things that sometimes are supernatural.”

Tell us about the services that your ministry provides for veterans.

“Our permanent housing project focuses on helping veterans obtain safe, energy efficient housing with supportive services. I think we renovated a total of about 17 houses for veterans and two or three houses for low-income families. There’s a crisis out there, the ordinary person cannot afford housing. So now we have what you call Tent City. Now, normally Tent City would consist of men who are on drugs, men who do criminal activities. Now Tent City has a mother and two children. Tent City had a man who cannot afford housing. They have ordinary people who are working two or three jobs trying to pay $1500 to $2000 a month in rent. They’re all on the highway. They’re in every city. This is happening around the world, so we started this in 2012. We started providing housing.

“I went to a homeless shelter we served out there one night and I was playing chess with the people and every person that sat down to play chess with was a veteran. My first thought was these guys are irresponsible men, these guys are lazy. But during our conversations I learned their stories could have been any of us. They were not irresponsible, what they were going through, and they slipped through the cracks and because of that, they became homeless. And I said we got to do something. We cannot just let these veterans stand by idle. They served this country and the reason we are enjoying these civil liberties. Now, if we don’t work together with other churches and organizations, it’s going to get worse, man.”

I love your Bridging the Gap Community Center. Tell our readers more about this amazing program.

“During COVID-19 until 2023, we were on the front lines serving the community and we did it by bridging the gap between the community. We provided food, home goods, COVID vaccinations and testing kits. We partnered with the Winston-Salem Foundation and were able to provide rental assistance and utility assistance. The Bridging the Gap Community Center hosts a computer center, teaching a second language to the Spanish community, and we have a food bank. On every first and third Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., we’re serving families struggling with food insecurities. We’ve served over 60,000 people. During our community giveaways, the line would stretch three miles, and the police were trying to get us to shut it down. They asked, what y’all doing? All we’re doing is feeding the community. One officer said, listen, man, we can’t shut this down, because he understood that the people were hungry. We gave away toys to the kids because you know, the world was shut down during COVID. We had to take care of the kids.”

Tell us about your book, “First Fruits: God’s plan for your success.”

“Well, it came about because a lot of people deal with poverty. You know, a lot of people are in need. I was broke as a joke until I started to practice the principles of the first fruit and basically it’s tithing. I take the tenth of whatever I make and give it back to the Kingdom. As a result of that, me and God come into partnership. He’s my senior partner when I give him that 10%. God promotes us even more. God knows if he gives me $10,000, I’m going to give him $1,000. If he gives me $50,000, I’m going to give him $5,000. I started to practice this, and I started to see the results in my own life, and it doesn’t have to be monetary. God said I’ll open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing where you don’t have room to receive it all, so it could be in every area of your life. Your fruit will not cast before it’s time. So, when you start to implement this, your life will change.”

What role does your wife play in helping in all of this?

“My wife, Pastor Camilla F. Washington, she understands all aspects of my life. She plays a vital role at home and in the ministry. She is the teeth of the ministry. Anything and everything that we call her to do, she is there. If I’m not there, she goes in my place instead, that’s just how strong and capable she is. I don’t mind giving her flowers now, because she does it all at Whole Man Ministries. You hear me? That’s my baby.”

What do you want our readers to remember most about the man, father and husband Barry S. Washington?

“That I’m just an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things. I’ve learned over the years to do what God said. He said when I was naked, you clothed me. When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was in prison, you came to visit me, when I was sick, you looked after me. So, I’m just doing the basics, brother, and I want them to know that. That’s the greatest call that is in my life, are those basic things recorded in Matthew 25. Jesus said if you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me. So let my work speak for itself. 

“I’m grateful and thankful for the community. They welcome me, they help me, they assist me. There are a lot of people that support what we do, and we could not do this without the support of the community, without the support of those donors. And we do it in the name of Christ.” 

My Phenomenal Person of the Week is Bishop Barry S. Washington. For more info and how you can volunteer or donate, visit Whole Man Ministries, 3916 Old Lexington Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27107, call 336-785-2080, or visit

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