We had the good fortune of connecting with Garland Thompson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Garland, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As I yearned for change, God revealed to me; instead of grappling about the lack of a Black ecclesiastical presence within your community, why don’t you plant one? So, as I wrestled over God’s declaration, God rejected every application I submitted for employment. God literally shut down every petition and appeal I made to return to the work force. As the COVID-19 pandemic began, God didn’t let my family needs go unmet, however, the level of disdain and rejection I endured was demoralizing. As God was waiting on my yes, my lack of trust and surrender resulted in months of suffering when I didn’t have to. In April of 2020, I finally fully surrendered, and I started the process of establishing the church God revealed to me months ago. The moment I did, God allowed people to come into my life, unexpectedly, that helped me tremendously with completing the legal filings with the state of Texas. One of my dear fraternity brothers, volunteered to use his equipment to record my sermons at no cost to me. Another fraternity brother opened his church to allow me to record our services for free for as long as we need. Also, one of my younger cousins introduced me to a phenomenal, brilliant, and passionate brand manager who has played an integral role in helping me develop the platforms needed to launch our church completely virtually. God instructed me to launch a church in the middle of a global pandemic. When I reflect on the brilliance of God, words cannot adequately express my adoration and reverence. On September 20, 2020, we had our inaugural worship service and since that moment, I have been in complete and utter awe of how God has allowed our church to make an imprint within our community in such a short period of time. God has allowed our church to grow and reach people far beyond my expectations. We launched Encountering Christ Baptist Church and I am so grateful I surrendered to God’s call and stepped out on faith. When we are sincere and obedient to God’s voice, God can bless our lives and ministries in immense ways. God is desiring people to preach, teach, and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University (VUU) was a three-year program tailored to train, stretch, deconstruct, and emancipate African American preachers from a black pedagogy to propel preachers to expand their understanding of the Biblical text. The time I spent at Union exceeded my expectations and my hermeneutic of the Bible and the importance of people of color within the text was illuminated significantly. The Black brilliance I was exposed to at Union; professors from all walks of life who intentionally instructed us on the significance of persons from the African diaspora contribution to the Bible, and an inclusive and liberating theological education was transformational for me. Also, I’m a Board Certified Christian Counselor and I work with a swath of people throughout the country to work their trauma and pain through a Biblical lens with a practical application.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are several! Houston has some of the best cuisine and attractions that can accommodate persons at any stage in their life. Midtown and the Museum district are amongst the greatest treasures here in Houston. These areas are engrossed in historical and cultural themes. The Galleria is an all-time favorite for tourists. The Galleria is a 3-story world renowned mall that will give you a luxury style shopping experience. Depending on the time of year; The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Toyota Center, NRG Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Discover Green, and The Aquarium are all great places to visit! Houston is one of the greatest cities in America.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
With God and the support of my wife, who has always been my rock and voice of reason, I would have to say the place that cultivated me the most for this work is The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology on the campus of Virginia Union University.
Facebook: Encountering Christ Baptist Church