Clamp Divinity School Graduate Sees His Inner-City Dallas Ministry Grow
A Doctor of Ministry graduate from Anderson University, Dr. Johnnie Bradley, is lead pastor of an inner-city Dallas church focused on being the hands and feet of Jesus in their community.
In the 16 years since he assumed the pulpit of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Bradley has seen Shiloh grow significantly. But there’s so much more to this story than numbers.
“I was on staff at a church in the suburbs which had evolved into a megachurch,” Dr. Bradley said. “And so the Lord uprooted me from the megachurch and sent me into the inner city to a church that was already doing a lot of outreach and evangelism. Shiloh didn’t have a consistent group of members. It was about, at the most, 20 - 25. So when I arrived, even though the number was not massive—I was used to having over 2,000 people show up for church every Sunday—but this church was doing just as much ministry as the church I was attending, which was truly amazing.”
Shiloh’s deacons would go to the Dallas Life Foundation to pick up homeless men and women and bring them back to the church to go in their clothes closet. They would also provide them a meal and have a worship service there on one Saturday a month.
Under the leadership of Dr. Bradley, Shiloh found ways to improve upon the ministry they were already doing.
“Really, even before I got to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church 16 years ago, Shiloh was really already a church that did a lot of outreach,” he said. When Dr. Bradley came to Shiloh, he led in reorganizing the ministry so that it could reach more people in need, providing a clothes closet, food and other commodities for people experiencing unemployment and other life challenges. Shiloh also moved to a new location to accommodate more parishioners in their services, while providing space in their fellowship hall to accommodate new church plants as well.
When churches across the nation saw declines in their congregations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shiloh was growing and, at the same time, grasping opportunities to help thousands in need.
“People were still joining our church… We have more people coming to church now than we had before COVID-19,” Dr. Bradley said. When we have our food giveaway, people come from all parts of the Metroplex (800-1500 people) and the Lord has blessed us with a unique group of volunteers.”
Dr. Bradley is grateful to James Smith, a deacon and outreach director; as well as deacons John Lemons, Eric Rush, Julius Jackson, Loys Washington, Kelton Lemons John Branch and Kerry Jones. Also assisting are preachers at his church, the church’s women’s ministry and volunteers from North Texas Food Bank.
He feels blessed that Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church has been able to help people from many different ethnic groups who are going through a variety of challenges.
“You’ve got people who are driving up in 30, 40, 50,000 dollar cars; they’ve lost their jobs; they’ve been laid off for one reason or another,” Dr. Bradley said. “It’s been an amazing ministry opportunity, but at the same time, while we’re blessing them with food and trying to help them with their physical needs, we share the gospel, we pray for people, we place tracts in baskets, we invite them to church.”
Finding Anderson University
Dr. Bradley got to know more about Anderson University when he met College of Christian Studies Dean Dr. Michael Duduit at the E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching conference. During the conference he learned that Anderson University was getting ready to start Clamp Divinity School. As time went by and Clamp Divinity School became a reality, Dr. Bradley enrolled.
“The Lord led me to go back and talk to (Dr. Duduit) about enrolling, and the rest is history,” Dr. Bradley said. “My classes helped me because they were designed to be practical. Clamp Divinity School is the premier school in the country now—there’s no doubt about it. I’m here in Dallas Texas, and I have traveled almost across the country to get to South Carolina to attend Anderson University. It’s well worth it, not only in a sense of the academics and accessibility, but the affordability. The education you receive from Clamp Divinity School, you can take it anywhere in the nation and around the world.”
As president of the Clamp Divinity School Alumni Association, Dr. Bradley encourages anyone considering further ministry training to prayerfully consider the program at Anderson University. “It is paramount that the preachers and teachers want a solid education with a scholarly flavor that is practical. Clamp Divinity School is the place to be.”