Pastor on a mission

Rev. Curtis Friday has led The Love Church for nine years.

Pastor on a mission
January 16
09:14 2020

Rev. Curtis Friday is the senior pastor of The Love Church, 4198 Cherry St. in Winston-Salem. Friday and The Love Church have been extending their reach throughout the community for nine years.

The church has continued to grow in numbers and their commitment to bringing in the millennial generation is to be admired. With a membership over 1,000 and over 400 strong every Sunday, The Love Church has a strong presence in the city.  

Recently, Friday sat down with the Chronicle to discuss his path to the pulpit and the direction he wants to take the church.

The Chronicle: Now that it is 2020, give me an overview of what the church has planned for the year.

Friday: This year, I believe we are setting our focus on bringing in a lot of young people from the streets. We are focusing on the killing that has been going on and we are actually looking for donors and helpers so we can be able to possess some kind of safe place for our kids. We have outgrown our building and we are looking for a way to impact the community by having a safe place, community type center. We have a lot of people that come from jail that say, ‘What do I do next?’ or ‘What is my next step?’  

The Chronicle: Tell me a little bit about how you grew up.

Friday: I was born in Winston, but I moved to Baltimore. I grew up in Baltimore and I moved back to Winston at 13 years old. When I got back, I lived in an area called Morningside. I was like really into the streets then. I started doing drugs, selling drugs and rapping, trying to do the street thing. I got arrested at the age of 19 and I went to jail. The judge was going to give me 30 years, but he said, ‘I am going to give you a break this time, if you come back, I’m going to make sure you get those 30 years.’  So, I sat in jail for two or three years, until I went to court for that and they let me go and I never turned back.  

The Chronicle: Was it in jail where you started your path toward faith?

Friday: In jail, I had a good friend and we both were teaching Bible study. We both said when we get out, we were going straight to church, and we aren’t leaving. Unfortunately, I went, and he didn’t, and he died, he was shot in the head trying to rob a store or something. Once I saw that, I knew that God wanted me to stay on this course and path and continue your walk.

The Chronicle: When you look back at the progression your church has made over nine years, are you surprised by the growth your church has made during that time?

Friday: Yes, I’m extremely surprised, because I didn’t expect it to grow that fast. I was only in it to really just help the community. I thought if I get about 100 people, we can just impact the community and then it started to increase, which now gives us the weight of responsibility. It’s more put on our shoulders to help more and I think this year, God is going to allow us to get those resources so we can help more. It’s more about our heart, I think our heart is in a place where we want to do that and impact the city.  

The Chronicle: What do you think it is about you that make people gravitate toward the church?

Friday: I think it’s real and relevant. I think some people are coming because they want something different, something real, something relevant. I think a lot of it is, even with church period, that I’m dismissing religion. It’s not about religion, it’s relationship with me and I think people are gravitating because of my story, because they know I have been through certain things and done certain things they are dealing with. I think God ultimately sends me those people, like I talk to my men sometimes and they say ‘I’m struggling with this’ and I am looking at them like, I used to struggle with all of that, so maybe God is sending them to me, so they can come out of that. I think it’s more of a safe place for people and they can talk to me about porn, drugs or cheating on your wife and they feel safer.

The Chronicle: Your church environment is very inviting; was that intentional?

Friday: I am teaching leadership to be more loving on people, than we are judgmental. So, it’s not like we have a dress code or look a certain way. I’ll even go in the parking lot and park cars. Sometimes I’ll park people’s cars and they don’t even know that I am the pastor. It’s all about the heart of the pastor, so I am teaching the people to give heart, so that you know I am not judgmental, or bourgeois and you can’t be either. We are making and building that culture.

The Chronicle: You first started in your living room with only five members. When did things start to take off as far as your membership?

Friday: Things started to take off when there was a young brother who was popular in the city and he was riding a motorcycle and he was hit and killed. His family members go to my church and he was engaged with a lot of people who sell drugs and they came to the church. There was like 800 people at that service. I went in there and like 50 people got saved. People were dropping their drugs on the altar and from then, the church started blowing up. It came out of me doing a funeral, because I usually do funerals for free, so it came out of that funeral, sowing that seed. I call it sowing that seed into the family. When you sow a seed into a family, you get a harvest of souls, so I sowed that seed so I could talk to the young people. I talked to them, they got saved and their mothers started coming to the church, because they saw that someone was talking to their children and made them change. I think it happened right there at that funeral where people were throwing their drugs right there on the altar, it was incredible.

The Chronicle: Describe your style as a minister.

Friday: When I first started preaching, I was connected to another pastor and I would try to mimic that, and it was years that went by that God transitioned me to calm down and just be yourself. So now, when I get up there, I just be myself. A lot of people come to me, because we have this prophetic move going on, so we do a lot of speaking into people’s lives and showing them that God is still real. He is using me in a prophetic area now in this season that people are gravitating to, because they want to hear the voice of God.

The Chronicle: Your church does a lot for the community. Was this a special ministry of yours?

Friday: When I first started, I had a single mother with three kids come to me and say her lights were getting cut off. I gave her the whole offering and then we got really strategic about how we do things, because of course, I can’t just give away the whole offering. It came from the heart, so my heart was to help every person that I could. Now I have transitioned into trying to teach people how to budget.  

The Chronicle: Ten years from now, where is Rev. Friday and The Love Church?

Friday: Ten years from now, I believe The Love Church will have a stable, paid-in-full place that’s able to reach the community to have everything I call a one-stop shop. You walk in there, you learn how to interview, write a resume, or find a job. I just believe that God is calling us to be that beacon to open up for the city and show what the church is really for. Ten years from now, I’m talking about paid in full community center and it’s a one-stop shop, you get what ever you need at The Love Church.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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