“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 KJV)
Just recently, Dennis Ross, Sr. paused momentarily to reminisce on just how far from which God has brought him.
As one songwriter once insinuated, Ross, Sr.’s’ soul ultimately cried out, Hallelujah, in large part because all his life, he was taught to always think of the goodness of Jesus and all He’s done for him.
In fact, given his immense, notable resume as a man of cloth, Ross, Sr.’s routinely acknowledgement and reverence to Almighty God is just as prevalent today than it was when he accepted his divine calling to the ministry.
In other words, regardless of how seemingly insurmountable situations and circumstances had become in his life, much less throughout his ministerial tenure as the Senior Pastor of Memphis’ Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church at 1047 Mississippi Blvd. in South Memphis, Ross Sr. was determined to demonstrate the life-enhancing wisdom he had acquired as a child growing up in the church.
“I am here today only by the grace and mercy of God,” the 56-year-old Ross, Sr. explained during a recent interview with longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “The enemy tried to kill me, but God kept me.”
So much so that even to this very day, Ross, Sr. doesn’t shy away from the notion that he has a newfound perspective on his ministry as well as the overall landscape of his life.
“It made me see God in a way that hadn’t seen Him in Evening Star MBC, Inc.,” Ross said.
Raised in a single parent home like a number of his peers, Ross, Sr.’s father abandoned their home when he was he was just three years of age. Still, he’d be the first to tell wasn’t excuse to abstain from maximizing his potential in the natural and in the spirit.
Having been brought up in the church virtually his entire life, Ross Sr. was baptized at the age when he was six years old and attending Sunday School and midweek Bible study was mandatory.
In addition, he was a fixture a member of the choir and, along with the steady strides and valiant contribution to the ministry, he became a Sunday School teacher and superintendent as well as a choir director.
“I was raised by my mother,” Ross, Sr. said. “My father left when was about three years old, but my mother instilled in us the Golden Rule.”
Generally, it seemed evident that Ross. Sr. would destine to assume the role as a pastor. That’s because three of his older brothers had been called to the ministry.
In assessing his longstanding pastoral tenure, he acknowledged his family has supported him “100 percent,” in large part because a large contingent of them is members of his church.
“In hind sight, I can see I was called (to preach the gospel) at age 12,” said Ross, Sr., “did I not surrender until age 37.”
Regardless, the gates of hell shall not prevail against a ministry Ross, Sr. said has partnered with The Southern Baptist in that it partakes in an assortment of community-wide activities, particularly in the poverty-stricken 38126 zip code.
Moreover, Evening Star MBC also has partnered with the Center For Transforming Communities as well as the Soulsville Revitalization Initiative, all of which has made Ross, Sr.’s ministry an integral force in the heart of the South Memphis community.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson is the former chief adjutant to Elder Andrew Jackson, Sr. of Faith Temple Ministries COGIC in Memphis. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.