Pastor Delores Johnson

by Tonya Dixon | July 11th, 2013
Pastor Deloris Johnson

Pastor Deloris Johnson (Photo by Perfect Lenz Photography)

Pastor Deloris Johnson never imagined she would do much of what she does nor does she really understand how she is able to do it all, but one thing she is absolutely certain of is that God has ordained her to do it all. From running a daycare center, various community assistance programs, several group homes (and more on the way), to pastoring a growing and thriving church and ministering to all types of people and ages, Pastor Johnson has enough on her plate to keep five people busy. Nevertheless, she wouldn’t trade any of it for the world, because she recognizes she is doing exactly what God intended for her life.

In 1976, the Florence, SC native moved to Greensboro by way of Brooklyn, NY. She worked for several years at North Carolina A&T State University before becoming affiliated with Wells Memorial COGIC. In 1985 she became the executive administrative assistant for the church’s pastor, Bishop Ithiel C. Clemmons. It was an ironic situation neither. Johnson or Clemmons knew their paths had previously crossed on two separate occasions. As a child Johnson spent summers in a town in Pennsylvania where Bishop Clemmons pastored a church. Years later in Brooklyn, NY, Johnson lived on the same street as another church pastored by Bishop Clemmons.

Even still, following the direction of God, Johnson and her husband moved to Greensboro and ultimately joined Wells Memorial COGIC which was then pastored by Bishop Clemmons. The strategic and behind-the-scenes intertwining of their lives was simply the seamless hand of God setting foundation and fulfilling purpose and destiny.

While working under Bishop Ithiel and Clara C. Clemmons, Johnson helped start a daycare center at the church as well as the International Prayer and Life Clinic. Both continue to play a major role in her life today. Johnson ultimately purchased the daycare from the church and relocated to the current location, 2020 Textile Drive. The COGIC Cathedral Day Care Center has become a labor of love for Johnson. She admits it’s not something she would have ever chosen to do, but she absolutely knows it’s what God wants her to do. She gets so much joy from the center that she beams with pride when she talks about it.

“I call myself semi-retired, but I’m here every day,” she laughs. “But I enjoy it so much. And you would be surprised at the amount of parents that just come here and pour their hearts out to me. I guess they just feel they can confide in me. Some will come in, sit down and weep and cry, but when they leave out they have a sense of being; a sense of hope that they can make it. And that’s my thing. I want to give them hope. I want to let them know there’s a better way. There is an alternative lifestyle to the lifestyle they are living. I often tell young women; no you don’t have to go down that road to care for your children.”

Giving hope and comfort is exactly what the day care center does. Johnson says many of the children come in and act unruly, but all they need is a little pat on the head and some love. The staff tries to get the children to harness all the unproductive energy they have and point it in a more positive direction. For example, the center has a garden that all able students take part in. They help plant, cultivate and harvest. Johnson says the children have really taken to the project and are extremely proud of themselves. Likewise, Johnson is proud of the children. “What gives me joy is when I look at them and see how they have joy about it and are proud of it.

The children planted the garden. It’s just a joy to see them excited and trying to tell their parents what’s planted and where it’s planted,” she says. “We are trying to combat obesity and give them an alternative to fast food. They have planted herbs, squash, green peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, watermelon and more. At the appropriate time they will harvest and eat the foods, making salads and such. The kids love it. We even have a composte bin in the back.” The day care center is for ages six weeks to 12 years old. There is also an after-school program and the center is one of only a few in the area offering care for special needs children.

Johnson isn’t just concerned about the ones that are enrolled at the daycare center though; she sees her life’s mission is to help anyone in need. As a matter of fact she says her whole aim in life is to try to be a help and relieve the sufferings of humanity in any way she can. Together, the daycare center and her church, Prayer and Life Ministries, take part in the NC Child and Adult feeding program. The program offers daily food options to any of the neighborhood children (whether they are enrolled at the day care center or not) that would not ordinarily have access to consistent nutritional meals on a daily basis.

There is a summer feeding program and then an at-risk program that activates once summer has ended. Johnson knows she is right where she is supposed to be. She is impacting her community and changing lives on a daily basis. More importantly, she says, is that she gets the opportunity to share with all those lives that Jesus loves them. Even at the day care center. She lets the parents know upfront that COGIC Cathedral Day Care Center is faith-based. “We don’t teach and preach denomination, but we will teach them the Lord’s Prayer, to say a prayer before meals and scriptures like John 3:16,” she says. The parents often tell her amusing stories that the kids refuse to eat at home without first praying over their meal. It’s those stories that fill her heart with joy as well as the daily interaction she has with the children. Although she isn’t regularly in a teaching room she does make special “guest” appearances when she is needed and all of the children call her grandma.

Johnson says it gets hard but everything that she has accomplished has been by the grace of God. It has all come through prayer, dedication and hard work; but prayer has always been the key factor. Her foundation has always been and will always be based upon prayer. She says she has a prayer ministry. She and her church, Prayer and Life Ministries, have become known for being prayer warriors. She regularly receives calls from all over to pray for people and accordingly she takes time from her busy schedule to meet with people one-on-one just to pray with and for them.

She says it isn’t a burden when you know you are called to do it. In fact, every year the church comes together with the community or whomever would like to attend and prays a special prayer of protection over all the children that they would be kept from all danger. Since they have begun having the corporate prayer Johnson says not one child has been hurt. God has been faithful and has protected them.

Just when it seems good, old’ fashioned prayer and altar call meetings and services have all but disappeared from churches, Pastor Johnson is quick to remind that Prayer and Life Ministries still has them and will continue to have them. “Holiness is right. I tell people it’s not the church or the denomination, rather holiness is a lifestyle. If you are Baptist, be holy. If you are Catholic, be holy. Just be holy. I’m a firm
believer in that and no one will ever convince me otherwise,” she says.

With all that Pastor Johnson has accomplished and does she continues to look toward

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