At the age of 29 Bishop Lewis Williams made a personal profession of faith to follow Jesus Christ. On Marc 16, 1984 he converted and his life changed personally, professionally and spiritually. At the time Bishop Williams was working at Naval Air Station of Jacksonville as a WG6 packer. He worked the forklift supplying uniforms, chairs, equipment and anything the military needed. A co-worker named Wayne Jones ministered to him ... he told him about Jesus. That's when Bishop Lewis Williams says more and more people began sharing their faith with him. Ultimately he responded to their encouraging advice.
Bishop Williams was born January 1, 1955 to Joe and Camilla Williams. He is a native of Jacksonville and the youngest of 4 children. Bishop Williams graduated from Andrew Jackson High School and immediately started working to make a career for himself. First he worked at the Navy Exchange at Cecil Field. Then he worked at Naval Air Station of Jacksonville in the Navy Supply Center. Bishop Williams credits his father with shaping his character and instilling values of hard work, discipline and structure.
His father worked for the city of Jacksonville laying asphalt. His mother was a housewife and spent time earning extra money doing domestic work. Bishop Williams' philosophies reflect many lessons he learned at home from his parents.
His new journey as a born-again Christian began at Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Lewis Namon Yarber. Bishop Williams describes his motivation for serving God as a desire to escape hell and escape the fascade he felt his life had become. In his early 30's some would think he had achieved the "American Dream," but his mistakes were catching up with him.
After 9 years of marriage to his wife Bernadette, multiple affairs resulted in a child being born outside of their marriage. In addition to his 2 children with his wife, a third child was born in 1984. His struggle to face the consequences of his actions, reconcile his marriage, and restore his reputation amidst public humility could only be overcome through the help of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Williams knew he needed peace and joy in his life. In his home, alone in his bedroom he recited the sinners prayer and made a commitment to change his heart, mind and direction. This was the pivotal turn in his life. It led to an undeniable change which he believes only happened through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Bishop Williams began serving as a deacon at Mt. Lebanon. He volunteered on various ministry programs and build a strong relationship with Dr. Yarber his pastor and mentor. After years of serving at Mt. Lebanon, Bishop Lewis Williams was inspired to launch Household of Faith Church. On December 2, 1989, he and his wife held their first service.
On a Wednesday night with only 5 members - their daughter Kim, son Chavez, niece Mashawnda and a man named Mr. Gelsey. Although the church was in its infancy Bishop Williams was eager to lead people to Christ, do community outreach and teach people how to take their salvation beyond Sunday morning.
In the early 1990's Bishop Williams began seminary at North Florida Baptist Theological Seminary. He obtained a Bachelor's of Christian Education and a Masters of Theology. The church he and his wife pioneered was flourishing. It only took 3 months for their house church to grow from 5 members to 27 members. Bishop Williams continued to work full-time at the Navy base while pastoring, doing community outreach, going to seminary and making daily efforts to father his 3 children and strengthen his marriage. He and his wife were no longer just intimate partners. They were partners in the community, and the church they founded together.
By 1994 Bishop Lewis Williams resigned after 19 years on his job at the Navy base to pastor full time. He was able to fully committed to counseling, handling administrative responsibilities of the church and make himself more accessible to the people. Bishop Williams worked to relocate his members to a facility which would accommodate their growing numbers. The church moved from three locations before he made one of the most impacting decision in their expansion.
In 1998 Household of Faith grew to 350 active members. Bishop Williams and his wife had initiated various community outreach programs, men's and women's fellowships, youth program all in addition to their regularly scheduled services on Sundays and Wednesdays. This is when Bishop Williams purchased the former Winn-Dixie grocery store on Jacksonville's northside. The concept of a store front church was not new, but Bishop was the first and only pastor at that time to redevelop a facility of that size for the purposes of community outreach and spiritual growth. He turned the 26,000 sqft. building into a church.
The former Winn-Dixie building was left abandoned for 10 years before Bishop Williams became interested in it. He was inspired by scripture found in Isaiah 61:4, "They will rebuilt the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."
He walked around the abandoned building and saw its potential. It took 45 days for him to work with the bank to get approved for the purchase. He built a strong case for his congregation and convinced the bankers that they could raise the money, and his congregation would feed, clothe and educate the community..
Household of Faith moved into what they now call the Household of Faith multiplex. That building was renovated in 3 phases. Each was constructed by skilled members who volunteered in addition to hired contractors. It took 4 - 6 months for the congregation, donors and volunteers to complete each phase. Bishop Lewis Williams designed the 3 phases for distinct purposes: spiritual worship, education and recreation.
As the church continued to grow so did Bishop Williams. Not long after moving into the multiplex, he received a Doctorate in Christian Psychology from Jacksonville Theological Seminary. He also became a certified marital adviser for the city of Jacksonville. Bishop Williams was hired to work as a professor teaching a course on Homiletic a Truth for Living Bible College. His work as a professor inspired him to write biblical study materials for new Christians. His philosophy is based on Hosea 4:6 which partly states, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ... ". Bishop Williams believes born-again Christians need to get saved and know why they made that choice. Bishop Lewis Williams developed a ministry training program that has worked for his church and many others. "MOEC," Ministry of Excellence Class, is a training workshop for leaders and ministry workers. Bishop Williams relies on the lessons his father taught him about having a value for high standards and excellence. His father was a man of few words, but a detail oriented person. He taught Bishop Williams to always go beyond what was expected of him. This is Bishop Williams definition of excellence. This is what he teaches in MOEC. The results are invigorated volunteers, inspired to do work in the church and the community at a level of excellence reflecting God's perfect plan for our life.
He also developed a course available to his congregation called "New Member's Class." It is a course he personally teachers with a manual he authored. It gives the congregation an introduction to the church culture, the ministerial staff, and outlines the more than 40 ministry programs they can volunteer in.
Bishop Williams is a leader who takes church beyond Sunday morning. He takes church into his Monday morning routine and beyond.. Everyday is an opportunity for him to serve God. His church has a variety of programs that minister to the entire family. There are homework assistance programs, food and clothing programs, evangelism program where volunteers visit prisons, homeless shelters, nursing homes and juvenile detention centers.
In 2018 Bishop Williams began partnering with Teen Challenge of Northeast Florida. It is a faith-based drug rehabilitation program. Every month Bishop Williams leads a bible study for men in the program who come for different racial and social backgrounds.
After years of mentoring other pastors and demonstrating a father's heart, Bishop Williams was consecrated into the office of bishop on December 18, 2017. In preparation for the office of bishop, he submitted to the tutelage of Bishop Vaughn McLaughlin. This relationship began began before Bishop Williams launched his church. Their friendship evolved into a father-son relationship and their bond has lasted through the years.
Bishop Williams attended the Joint College of Bishops and successfully completed the courses of study required by the Joint College of at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Through Covenant Faith Fellowship, he provides covering for several ministries and pastors around the globe. Pastor Elpito De Santos of Brazil, Pastor Titlos Dios Dados of the Philippines both receive financial support and guidance from Bishop Williams and his ministerial staff.
Bishop Williams is a pioneer. His work as a clergyman demonstrates the holistic work Christ does in the lives of individuals. He is proof that the mind, body and spirit undergo change when exposed to the power of God. As he approaches 30 years of ministry he has worked tirelessly to save souls by preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, educate believers about the church and to serve the community with love and kindness.
Household of Faith Church is a hybrid experience fusing the traditional black worship experience and the contemporary gospel movement of the millennium.t The church he and his wife founded 30 years ago is built on the foundations of faith. Faith that God through Jesus Christ can change lives, heal the broken heart and set the captive free. Bishop Williams inspiration for Household of Faith Church come from the scripture found in Galatians 6:10 - "Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the Household of Faith.
Over the years, Bishop Williams and Household of Faith Church have been acknowledged and awarded by local and state agencies for outstanding and consistent work. He was invited multiple times to pray before the Florida legislature at the state capitol building. Bishop Williams has used every life experience fulfill a calling he answered to serve God's people. He is an anointed and skillful preacher most know for preaching line by line and verse by verse delivering the Scriptures with precision. His personal and 'down to earth' approach resonates with the northside community who has followed him from the beginning of his career. Many credit him with coining the phrase "No towel, No title," a reference that explains his philosophy on leadership.
Since launching a digital webcast of his ministry on Holy Connection and Facebook Live people have been drawn to him locally, throughout the U.S and abroad. People have come to Christ through the ministry he and his wife continue to build together. Bishop Williams' children all serve in the church. The children he shares with his wife work alongside him at Household of Faith Church. His third child is also an ordained pastor with a church of his own. Bishop Williams and his wife have been married for 43 years, and continue to love one another and serve God together.
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