Pastor Spotlight - Archive  
  Pastor: James Mills
Transforming Word Cathedral - Brookhaven, PA (Philadelphia Metro Area)
1-877-282-3568 - -
Interview by:
Tuan N'Gai

Tuan N'Gai (TN): Good after noon Pastor Mills, and thank you for your willingness to do this interview for Operation Rebirth.

James Mills (JM): Thank you for considering me to be a part of this movement.

TN: I start every interview by using three words to start a thought, and I'd like you to finish it. "God Opens Doors…"

JM: …for everyone who makes themselves available to Him.

TN: Interesting. So give us a little information about you and the church.

JM: Well, I have served as Senior Pastor for Transforming Word Cathedral for the past two years. I have an Apostolic and Methodist background. Bishop Keith Jones founded the church about six years ago, and we have a history of being an affirming church. But until we started preaching "radical inclusivity" the affirming was on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis. Thank God that all changed. Our mission is to be bridge builders between all people. We want to unify the community again. We endeavor to be a church with no walls. We will be hosting our 3rd Annual "Miracle Weekend Celebration" during the Memorial Day Weekend, May 27 - 30. Our conference has grown every year. People come from across the country to attend. That's one of our biggest events every year.

TN: Seeing as most affirming or inclusive churches are stigmatized as being "gay churches", as the Pastor, has your sexuality ever been in question?

JM: Well, yes and no. I say that, because I don't have any qualms about being a Same Gender Loving (SGL) man. Yet when I am asked, I let people know that my sexuality is not my identity. People need to start accepting others as whole people and not try to define their personhood by one aspect of their being.

TN: Okay, so how do you define yourself?

JM: I am a man of God who can stand before my maker with out any sense of guilt for being who I am.

TN: So many churches have different platforms…. like prosperity, healing, faith, deliverance, etc. What would you say is your ministerial platform, or do you have one?

JM: We are a balanced ministry. We deal with faith, prosperity, healing, etc. But we teach those principles as they relate to the whole person. We preach and believe the Bible and we try not to focus on just one aspect of its message.

TN: Being the leader of a church that preaches and practices radical inclusivity, what would you say is your biggest obstacle?

JM: Well, surprisingly the obstacle doesn't come from outside forces, but from the slave mentality of those we are trying to include. It's like we're trying to tell them because of Christ's sacrifice; you are the righteousness of God and no longer have to be bound in guilt. And they are clinging to the message that they ARE sinners and will NEVER be holy because of their sexuality. It's almost like they WANT to continue to live in guilt and in bondage. It's like in Dr. Martin Luther King's day, when he and those like him started the Civil Rights Movement, it wasn't the white people who opposed him…it was BLACK FOLKS. And the black church didn't start supporting him until he began to get "recognized" in the media for his efforts.

TN: So true, so true. So how do we overcome this "slave mentality"?

JM: The church needs to crate a safe, non-abusive space for everyone to come in and feel comfortable. We need to create an environment where everyone feels welcome. And not just a place where they feel it, but they must SEE it. A place where nobody feels like the leadership is trying to change them. Where we get in trouble is, WE want people to change, and WE want to do the changing. That's not our job. We are to love and accept people where they are, and allow God to change whatever needs to be changed in a person.

TN: While we are on the subject of struggle, one of the largest opponents to the inclusive message of Jesus Christ is "gay bashing" preachers and their sermons. What do you see is the root for this "gay bashing"?

JM: it's the need to pick on somebody. Having a "safe subject" to preach on. It's like this; they used to bash blacks from the pulpit…that's not safe anymore. They started preaching against women…until women started leaving and starting their own churches. Now that women are pretty much accepted in ministry, that's no longer a safe subject. They need to have someone to preach on without somebody saying something about it. Gays and lesbians are that somebody now. The SGL community is an easy target. I say that because we'd rather stay and enjoy the comforts of a large mainstream church that will beat our brains out rather than move to a small storefront that is a place of safety and freedom. Part of that is, affirming churches have not shown people that we're serious about the cause of Christ. We are looked at as second class because we don't seem to stand for anything but being gay. That has to change. We MUST show people that we're about Kingdom Business when we make an appeal to them to come to our churches.

TN: Would you perform same-sex marriages?

JM: Yes, if they agreed to counseling. We need to understand that if we're going to do this, our credibility is at stake. We can't just be marrying people because it's the hot thing to do right now. We have to think about the commitment and teach people how to honor that. So, yes. I would do same-sex marriages, if they'd agree to like five counseling sessions. I am concerned about the same-sex marriage debate. Because it reminds me of the prohibition of interracial marrying. The Federal Marriage Amendment could set us back like 40 years if it's passed. It's discrimination. Financial discrimination at least. Coming from a financial counseling background, I know about spousal inheritance. For instance, if a straight man dies and leaves everything to his wife of 20 years, the inheritance is in a "tax-deferred status". But if a gay man dies, and leaves everything to his partner of 20 years, that inheritance is taxed. It's not right. We shouldn't allow politicians to make laws that can hurt people in any way.

TN: As one of the founders of the Operation Rebirth, I consider all of the people who are spreading the message of inclusivity and equality as part of the movement. How are you and your church a part of the Operation Rebirth Movement?

JM: We're a part of this movement in that WE DON'T HIDE! We don't have a "don't ask, don't tell" mindset anymore. We're out there telling the truth to people. My church meets in a hotel conference room. And not too long ago, there was a lady staying in the hotel who wanted to worship with us, but was told by the Front Desk that "we were a gay church". She stood outside the door and listened for a few minutes before coming in and sitting down. At the end of the service she stood and said "I wasn't going to come in because of what I was told by the staff about this church. But you are preaching the truth. And that's exactly what I needed to hear. When people realize that you are telling God's Truth, you cannot be denied. I'll never forget what Bishop Yvette Flunder told me. She said, "we learned Christianity on the back of slavery. So we look at everything from a victim point of view. We don't make change, we wait for it to happen." Only getting people to see the truth will bring about change in our cause. We MUST stand up and tell the truth.

TN: Powerful indeed. I like that. In closing, if you had 45 seconds to address the entire world, what would your message be?

JM: Like I said before. We are all the righteousness of God because of Jesus' sacrifice. Therefore we should never be afraid. We should never live in the bondage of guilt because of who we are. God loves us all.

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