A vision from God was imparted in the heart and mind of Pastor Martin L. Jakes, Sr. to organize a ministry which would personify the very heart of Christ in ways that would impact the world with the light of God’s love. Thus Pastor Jakes was prompted to call it Light of the World Church International. This vision came to him in 1991 in a little church in Lithonia, GA where he, at that time, served as minister of music. In 1996 Pastor Jakes planted his first church named Light of the World Baptist Church. Through this ministry souls were won to the Lord and lives changed, though in 2003 this young ministry dissolved, yet the vision never died. Through it all, Pastor Jakes never lost the passion for pastoral ministry and the vision God gave him in 1991. During what Pastor Jakes call the “silent years” of ministry, he served other pastors and churches, until he was called to pastor Greater Mount Hermon Baptist Church, a small church in the heart of Atlanta where in a year’s time the church experienced rapid growth to doubling in size. It was during his tenure there that the Lord began to intensify the vision for Light of the World.
Our purpose is to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ, and demonstrate God's unconditional love to all people; whereby all people will come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and be transformed into the kingdom of God.
Light of the World Church International exists to ENLIGHTEN people through the illuminating Word of God (Make the word understandable); EXPAND Christ through Witness (Expose more people to Jesus); EMPOWER the total man toward a transformed life in Christ Jesus (Enabling people to succeed).
What We've Achieved
Light of the World started its first Bible study, with three people, Pastor Martin Jakes, Sr., Lady
Betty Jakes, and Alexis Wood, December 2 at the Holiday Inn Express in College Park., and
launched its first private worship December 6, 2009 with a vision to reach all cultures and ethnicities ,meeting their holistic needs, and demonstrating Christ’s love to change minds and transform the lives of people into the kingdom of God.
· The first person ever to join the Light of the World Church was young Martin Jakes, Jr.
· On January 18, 2010, in downtown Atlanta, fed over 100 homeless people sack lunches.
· In April of 2010, at the New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, featured its first celebration concert.
· In May of 2010, Light of the World had its first Baptism. Two gave their lives to Jesus Christ, Charekia Gibson and Nycula Robinson.
· In 2011 three more souls were added to the kingdom and were baptized.
· In June of 2011 the church temporarily moved from the Holiday Inn Express to the home of Pastor and Sis. Jakes, as Pastor Jakes searched for a meeting location.
· In September of the same year, Pastor Jakes met with Dr. Jim Haskill, Director of the Urban Atlanta Church Planting (UACP), to share with him his vision for Light of the World. Through this conversation, Pastor Jakes expressed he was looking for a church building to worship in. Dr. Haskill set up a meeting with the pastor of First Baptist Church, Dr. Bob Wiley. From this meeting First Baptist agreed to allow Light of the World to share their facility with them.
· During Thanksgiving of 2011 members of Light of the World carried baskets of food to 3 families who fell on hard times.
· In December of 2011, Light of the World began meeting at First Baptist.
· Pastor Jakes celebrates 25 years in the ministry at his Alma Mater , Clark Atlanta University.
· More souls came to Christ and members at the Light.
· In November, at the recommendation of Pastor Jakes’ mentor, Rev. Dr. Paul h. Easley, Light of the World purchased its first Church Van for $400.00 from Kings Memorial United Methodist Church.
· In December, Light of the World celebrates 3 years of ministry with an awards dinner, held at the Green Manor Restaurant, Union City.
· January 28th presents the first Empowerment Conference, a combination of seminar and revival style worship. Guest Clinician, Pastor Al Johnson, New Genesis Church, and Guest Speaker, Pastor Ronald McCrary and the New Life Missionary Baptist Church.
· Light of the World celebrates love with its first Celebration of Love Dinner, held in the fellowship hall of First Baptist.
· March of 2013, Pastor Jakes officiates the wedding ceremony of the first couple to be married at Light of the World, Willie Johnson and Sandra Murphy.
· In June, Light of the World takes it first church trip to Chicago.
· In July, LWCI awards two college students, Alexis Johnson and Martin Jakes, Jr., with Education Scholarships.
· In September, Cynthia Chambers join our staff as our first praise and worship leader.
· In February, LWCI held its Second Celebration of Love Dinner, in the fellowship hall of First Baptist.
· In March features its first musical celebration, honoring Pastor Jakes who celebrated 27 years in ministry.
· In November, Light of the World blesses four families with Thanksgiving Baskets.
· In December Light of the World celebrates 5 years of ministry.
· In February, LWCI held its Third Annual Celebration of Love Dinner, and the dinner participation continues to grow.
· In February, Dexter Henry became our first musician and percussionist.
· This year was a great year for new addition.
· In June, we added two new paid contract staff to the ministry team: Martin Jakes, Jr. as Webmaster and Latonia Starr as Administrative Assistant to the Pastor.
· In August we added our first Children’s Coordinator to our paid contract staff: Charekia Gibson. Later on Doris Fleming came as our praise and worship leader. Also God blessed with our full band combo praise God! Marvin Fowler became our keyboardist and later on Maurice Stephens became our bassist. This new sound became an enhancement to our worship experience.
· In October, God gave Pastor Jakes the vision to step out on faith and the church launched its first campaign to purchase a church building in the spirit of our 2015 theme Expect Great Things from God, Attempt Great Things for God.
· In November, Light of the World visits the New Horizon Senior Center and blesses 5 seniors with Thanksgiving Baskets.
· In December Light of the World celebrates 6 years of ministry.
· In January, LWCI presents the second Empowerment Service, a revival style worship. Guest Speaker, Pastor P. L. Redmond, Jr. and the New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.
· In February, LWCI held its Fourth Annual Celebration of Love Dinner, and the dinner participation continues to grow.
· In April, Latonia Starr, Pastor Jakes’ Administrative Assistant, informs him that there may be a vacant church on Willingham Dr.
· The next day God impresses Pastor Jakes to go back to the church and make further inquiry. Pastor Jakes meets what he thought was the pastor of the Willingham Dr. Baptist Church, and asked “When time was Bible Study?” The man responded we don’t have worship here anymore, do you want to see the church?” Pastor Jakes was so excited that he backed up on the curb! Pastor discovered that the man was not the pastor but, Deacon John “Johnny” Eaton. As they talked and view the building they discovered that, while God was talking to Pastor Jakes, Deacon Johnny was talking to God. Deacon Johnny shared with Pastor Jakes that he prayed that God would send someone who would take the church building and use it to further the kingdom of God. Pastor Jakes responded, “We are that church,” and further told the deacon that he has been searching for a home for Light of the World. After Pastor Jakes viewed the building the two felt the presence of God and prayed together.
· In May, Pastor Jakes met, Pastor Sam Underwood, former pastor of Willingham Dr. Baptist Church and deed holder of the property on 1040 Willingham Dr. After discussions on the rental price of the property and the terms, Pastor Sam Underwood expressed that he was not a handy man and that any problems with the building Pastor Jakes’, Light of the World, would have to take care of it. Pastor Jakes immediately agreed to the unbelievable rental price of $400.00 a month and total care of the property and facility. What an incredible blessing this was. At the end of May, Pastor Jakes signs the rental agreement.
· In June, Pastor Jakes and Light of the World takes possession of the building, however, during the summer months, Pastor Jakes encountered several setbacks with the city of East Point concerning codes, temporary power, which was turned off several times, but the thanks to a colleague of Pastor Jakes, Pastor Steve Alexander who introduced Pastor Jakes to Bishop Greg Fann, spoke with a high-ranking official in the city government, Mr. Deron King, to aid the Light of the World in finally being able to totally possess the building. With much prayer, pain, and perseverance, Pastor Jakes and Light of the World Church received the Certificate of Occupancy.
· The second Sunday in September, Light of the World had its first corporate worship in their new home. What a time we had in the Lord!
· In October, Light of the World dedicated the building unto the Lord with several pastors in attendance (Pastor Ronald McCrary, Pastor Paul Jakes, Jr. Bishop Reginald Litman, Bishop Greg Fann, and Pastor P. L. Redmond via a prerecorded video), the New Life Missionary Baptist Church Choir.
· In November, LWCI had its first Thanksgiving Service. What a special time it was.
· Also in November, the church was used in the movie film “Sustained,” filmed by ENVZ Productions.
· In December Light of the World celebrates 7 years of ministry.
· In January, LWCI held its first Redeem the Dream Forum in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, educating the community about his legacy.
· In February, LWCI held its Fourth Annual Celebration of Love Dinner, reminding all that love comes from God.
· In June, Pastor Jakes welcomed new member Ariel Ford to the LWCI staff as his administrative assistant.
· Mid-June, we held a LWCI Fun Fest to fellowship with our members and families.
· Also in June, LWCI joined other churches in the area for a Prayer Walk through the community. Despite weather conditions, they were still able to get together and pray for the East Point community.
· Lastly in June, the church building on 1040 Willingham Dr. was gifted to Pastor Jakes by Pastor Sam Underwood, former pastor of Willingham Dr. Baptist Church. He appreciated how Pastor Jakes took care of the building and knew Pastor Jakes would expand LWCI’s ministry and communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ.
· In August, Pastor Jakes baptized three members and welcomed them into a new relationship with Christ.
· In September, the church held a Fall Empowerment Service with guest speaker Bishop Aaron B, Lackey of Temple of Prayer Family Worship Cathedral UCOGIC
· Later, in September LWCI held a Financial Empower Seminar to educate our members on financial stability. We welcomed licensed insurance professional Stephanie Coney, Christopher Milton of Project Health & Wellness and Perry D. Butler and associates
· In October, LWCI held a leadership retreat to promote the church leaders to operate with optimum efficiency and advance our ministry.
· In November, LWCI had its second annual Thanksgiving Service. What a joyous occasion.
· In December, Light of the World celebrates 8 years of ministry with our Bridges of Hope Anniversary Gala. We honored all those who have been an integral part of our 8 years in ministry.
· In January, LWCI held its second annual Redeem the Dream Forum in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, educating the community about his legacy, and why voting in the African American community is so crucial for our society.
· In February, LWCI partnered with the Dementia Friendly Faith Village Collaborative, for their first Understanding Dementia in the African American Community Conference.
· In March, Dr. David Hodge served as guest speaker in celebration of Pastor Jakes 31 years in Ministry.
· The South Fulton Ministers Alliance held a Corporate Prayer Service in March.
· Later in March, our very own Ariel Ford held her first short film Movie Premier of The Ride, filmed at Light of the World with many members of the church in acting roles.
· May brought Spring Cleaning with a Sanctuary makeover of new chairs to replace the pews, new carpeting, light fixtures, keyboard, sound booth/equipment and media equipment.
· Also, in May, LWCI hosted the second Understanding Dementia in the African American Community Conference with the Dementia Friendly Faith Village Collaborative.
· In July, we held our second annual LWCI Fun Fest to fellowship with our members and families.
· In August, LWCI hosted the third Understanding Dementia in the African American Community Conference with the Dementia Friendly Faith Village Collaborative, informing even more people about this widespread disease.
· In September, LWCI held our second annual Empowerment Service, guest speaker Dr. Warren Wilcox of Camden, New Jersey.
· In October, LWCI hosted the fourth and final Understanding Dementia in the African American Community Conference with the Dementia Friendly Faith Village Collaborative, to an incredible turn out.
· In November, we held our Thanksgiving Service with our congregation.
· In December, we celebrated our 9thChurch Anniversary and held our Very Musical Christmas Service.