Leadership Profile: Rev. Jarvis C. Ward, Evangelist, Pastor, Facilitator, Networker, USA

A servant of Jesus Christ set apart unto the gospel of God

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. My wife of twenty-six years, Brendalyn, and I reside in Pearl, Mississippi (USA). We have five children: Jervette, Brandan, Brena, Jenell, and Jenae, and one granddaughter, McKinley.

Q. Give us a brief overview of your work and ministry.

A. I currently serve as the national facilitator of City & Community Ministries with the Mission America Coalition (MAC), the U.S. arm of Lausanne. In 1997, I accepted this role of helping leaders of Christian congregations, denominations, and ministries across American cities partner for holistic evangelism and discipleship through a Prayer-Care-Share lifestyle approach.

I have helped facilitate national, regional, statewide, and local evangelism initiatives, including “The Light House Movement”, “The Book of Hope”, “Honor our Heroes”, 9/11 remembrance services, “Passion of the Christ” outreach summits in 100 cities, and “Narnia” summits in 150 cities as part of a movie-ministry outreach. The website www.cityreaching.com continues to be the most visited city-reaching resource site in the country.

For over ten years a co-host and I have conducted a monthly city-reaching networking call that has attracted thousands of participants around various city-reaching topics and themes.

I am the national Prayer-Care-Share trainer/instructor for the Church of Christ (Holiness) USA denomination, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. I founded Christ for the Cities, a city-reaching ministry encouraging servants of Jesus Christ to “serve better together”. I am also co-founder of the National City Impact Roundtable, a learning community of practitioners and theorists serving together to have a sustained impact in every city, institution, and sector of life in each city in the United States.

I served as director of special ministries with the New Lake Outreach Center, an inner-city ministry located in Jackson, Mississippi. When many Christians were leaving the inner city to “live and worship” in the suburbs, I sensed the Lord leading me to take the light of the gospel to some of the most difficult and darkest parts of Jackson.

I also served as the first executive director of Mission Mississippi, a nationally-recognized Christian racial reconciliation ministry focused on encouraging the Body of Christ to practice right relations in order to more effectively share the message of Christ both in word and deed. I am founding member/drafter of the Mississippi Marriage Covenant/Committee, which calls pastors to the standard of preparing couples for marriage (not just a wedding). One result has been a drop in the divorce rate in Hinds County near Jackson.

I have volunteered in more than half a dozen other roles as well. I have made a commitment to labor and sacrifice to see people of all ages come to know, love, worship, and serve Jesus Christ.

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. “Jesus Christ is all my life. The Holy Spirit is all my power.”

Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life/ministry, and why?

A. After the God of glory drew me to himself through Jesus Christ, he also set a number of his servants in my path to encourage and equip me. Joseph Carroll was one such servant. The Lord used Mr. Carroll to remind and reinforce the principle of making and cultivating intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ as the first thing. It is out of such deep personal communion with the Lord Jesus that everything else flows and from which all ministry and relationship are measured and ministered to and from.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

A. One of the words of encouragement I received continues to be the target for all my ministry and relationships: I must make cultivating intimate personal fellowship with Jesus Christ the very first thing in the entirety of my life.

Q. What one issue do you believe is the greatest barrier or opportunity to evangelism, and why?

A. One of the greatest barriers and hindrances to the advance of evangelism is the failure of the Body of Christ to serve together in a spirit of humility, purity, faith, and love, with a clear focus on Jesus Christ.

Even with glaring biblical truth stating the opposite, many local congregations, national denominations, and ministry networks operate as if their single group alone will be able to effectively advance the message of Christ in cities/communities and the nations of the world. Selfish ambitions, egos, self, and organizational promoting “in the name of Jesus Christ” grieves the Holy Spirit and thereby renders much of the “work of the church” as mere human efforts resulting in human results that last for nothing.

Evangelism. On Point.

Q. Describe a time in which you shared
your faith in Christ with someone who
didn’t know him, and then saw God
clearly work in that situation.

A. I had been praying for one of the
guys in my neighborhood for years. One
day, as he walked in front of my house,
I was impressed to invite him up to the
porch to chat. During the conversation,
the Lord gave me an opening to ask him
if he wanted to “get in right relations
with this God he said he did not know”.
It was made apparent to him that he
was not right with God. It was made
apparent to me that prayer and loving
concern for our neighbors are vital in
evangelism. My young neighbor prayed
to receive Jesus Christ.  

I pray that the Spirit of God would move on all our hearts to bring us to a position of serving better together in a spirit of humility, purity, faith, and love, with our eyes fixed on Jesus—and that this will result in fruit that remains throughout eternity to the honor and glory and praise of our God!

Q. What book do you most often recommend to others to read, and why?

A. Other than encouraging any follower of Jesus Christ to spend time in Romans, Ephesians, Acts, and Hebrews, I suggest the small book written by Joseph Carroll, How to Worship Jesus Christ, as a basic devotional tool. Worshiping the Lord is the pathway to cultivating deeper and more intimate fellowship with him. This book provides simple, clear teaching, with applications to help both the new and experienced Christian know the ever-increasing wonder of Jesus Christ.

Q. What would you like to be doing in ten years?

A. Ten years from now, I would like to be walking before the Lord (and those who know and don’t know him) in a spirit of humility, purity, faith, and love, with the eyes of my heart fixed on Jesus Christ as all my life and the Holy Spirit as all my power. I pray this would result in many who do not currently have a relationship with God coming to know the wonder of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Q. How can people be praying for you?

A. Pray that I would make cultivating intimate personal fellowship with Jesus Christ the very first thing in my life, and as an outworking of that intimacy with Christ, that I would passionately serve in God’s harvest so that many will come to know, love, worship, and serve Jesus Christ the Lord.