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Rev. Michael Fisher at the Taste of Soul. (photo by HGstar1 via FAME)
By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
The Rev. Michael Fisher makes no excuses about his approach to the Gospel. As the young, dynamic pastor of Greater Zion Church Family in Compton, he unapologetically declares, "I preach Jesus in a real, radical and realistic way. I just have no shame doing whatever it takes to reach this generation."
Judging from the response of his 4,000-member congregation, his method is working and convincing young people to choose Christ. In fact, Rev. Fisher estimates that nearly 70 percent of the church's members are age 30 and under, yet Greater Zion has vibrant ministries for middle age and seniors as well.
"Our church has the unusual mixture where we can go super-young to rap and hip-hop, but we also know how to lift up a hymn, how to sing ‘Amazing Grace.' We haven't forgot where we come from and our older people are just as active as the youth. The Lord has created a great atmosphere where everyone feels a part of Greater Zion," he said.
A huge audience witnessed the spirit enveloping Greater Zion during the Taste of Soul Family Festival where members showcased their ministry and talents.
"This year, we worked with Producer Niele Anderson, Lady Denise Hunter and the LA Sentinel in presenting the ‘Let's Move Flash Mob.' We provided rehearsal space in our newly erected youth and community center and the Voices of Destiny, the 2010 national winner of How Sweet the Sound, performed on the Gospel Stage," said Pastor Fisher.
"I enjoy participating in the Taste of Soul every year. I look forward to the food, fellowship and seeing people I don't get a chance to see because I'm always traveling. It's the way Los Angeles has what I call a ‘down-south' moment."
The Flash Mob attracted lots of attention at the festival as thousands spontaneously performed the same choreographed move. Many people joined the dancing, not associating it with exercise.
"The motivation behind the ‘Let's Move Flash Mob' was to try and encourage Los Angeles to get moving again because in our community, we have the highest rate of obesity, cardio vascular diseases, and diabetes. So, hopefully we inspired people to see that it's fun to workout and be healthy as well," Pastor Fisher said.
In addition to physical health, Rev. Fisher is committed to improving spiritual health, especially among youth and young adults. Two episodes in his life led him to pursue this cause.
"When I was younger, the church failed miserably reaching out to my generation. I promised the Lord that if He would use me when He called me to preach and to pastor, I would use the platform to go after the generation everyone seems to have given up on. The same God that transformed me, and those before me, can transform your son, grandson and the generation behind me. We just have to go after them," he maintained.
The second incident occurred shortly after he became senior pastor in 2005. He recalled, "We had a record number of funerals of young men under the age of 19. So, when people come to me and say ‘you're just too radical,' I say you can't ever do enough to spread the message of Jesus Christ. I do not want to lose another person to the enemy."
Pastor Fisher and Greater Zion ‘spread Christ' through the use of their new youth and community center that offers classes such as tutoring, single parenting, teen pregnancy and line dancing. Also, S.H.A.R.E. (Someone Helping Anyone to Reach Everyone) Sessions assist people struggling with addictions, abuse, sexuality, bereavement, and depression.
Another project underway is a new album by the Voices of Destiny and Pastor Fisher's solo album entitled, ‘Champion,' that encourages listeners to move beyond their environment to reach their calling. A single is out now called ‘Favor.'
Although his future appears bright, Rev. Fisher remains humble and focused on Christ. He said, "My philosophy is to keep God first. If you keep Him first in all that you do, the Lord will bless you in return for representing Him. I don't have a problem telling people where my power and my source come from. All of it is of God."