Authenticity of Experience

Pastors Derrick and Octavia Roberts have an “out of the box” style of ministry that fires up and motivates the younger generation to express themselves without being quenched and held back. You can read more about their beginnings in ministry in last month’s article, Changed by God’s Power. Here’s more of their dynamic interview about Reset women, DOPE men, and being out of the box at Open Wings Ministries.

Reset Women
Pastor Octavia: I started Reset, which is definitely outside of the box. We have church on the beach, literally. We get people saved and do a bonfire where we challenge the women to burn things that have held them back. Whether they’ve been molested by their fathers or even other women, whatever it is, we get to the core to help them get true deliverance. I’ve been delivered and saved from the streets, from being promiscuous and having children out of wedlock, and just happy to be married to my “baby daddy” for twenty years. Some people don’t know how to cast those cares on Christ, so I believe that God gave me Reset to show women that, no matter your age, you can begin every single day again. The Bible tells us to be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), but sometimes it’s hard as believers to be able to relate to the Word. Sometimes people have to see God’s Word through example. God has transformed my life so that I can use my testimony to tell women they do not have to be stuck.

Pastor Derrick: “DOPE” stands for Dominating On Purpose Every single day. God created us after His image and authority. He gives us dominion each day we get up, and we can set the tone for our day with our words. As men or as women, we allow the enemy to dominate us when the devil is under our feet. God gave us authority, but when you don’t know your birthright or the authority that God has placed inside of you, you will settle for or accept anything. But God gave me dominion; each day I get up, I’m going to dominate that day on purpose. When I go out into the field, I dominate everywhere I go; any room I step in, I dominate on purpose. Why? Because of the God that’s on the inside of me. He gave me the authority, so it’s not cockiness—it’s just that boldness that God placed on the inside of us. So if I take God’s Word literally, then I’m gonna stand on His Word. I won’t allow any situation to defeat me, regardless of what it looks like.

On Being “Out of the Box”
Pastor Derrick: We preach the Word of God, but we also have balance and are open-minded. We love trap music, so we remake songs and allow the kids to perform them to keep the teenagers engaged and looking forward to coming to church. Just because it looks different doesn’t mean it’s not God. We’re old school and we teach the Word. Everything we do has the Word in it. Even rap music has a message, so when the kids or the teenagers are at church, home, or school rapping, they are rapping and speaking the Word over their lives.

We have fun in church. You’ll get the Word, but we’re going to make it an experience you’ll never forget. We’re not ashamed to be transparent and just tell about our struggles. I don’t have a problem telling people I had a weed addiction or that we sold drugs, and I got locked up. We tell people so they can look at me and say, “Man, he looks just like me. If he can overcome it, I can overcome it too.” We are open-minded when people come to our church. If I smell weed on them, I still love them and don’t condemn them. I just tell them, “Look, it’s an addiction. I can’t clean you up. My job is to give you a proper introduction to Jesus. It’s His job to do the rest, but I’m going to be the example you can look to in the natural and say, if Pastor D can overcome it, then I can overcome it too.”

By being authentic to their lives and experiences, and never being ashamed to give their testimony, all types of people can identify with the Roberts. People see pastors and think their lives are perfect, nothing goes wrong, and that we don’t know anything except Jesus. Here’s the truth: pastors are human too and experience the same things as everyone else. It’s called life, and there are no excuses.