Praise and Worship Works!
Pastor James G. Lumpkin Jr. of Word Aflame Fellowship (WAF) believes a church filled with powerful Apostolic praise and worship will touch the hearts of the lost and hurting. Bro. Lumpkin and his wife, Jelaine, have pastored WAF in Little Rock, Arkansas since 1991. He currently serves as Presbyter of Section Three of the Arkansas District. He also serves as the South Central Regional Director of the UPCI North American Missions Administrative Committee, representing Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and both districts in Texas. He serves on the School Board of the Tupelo Children’s Mansion as well, and in the past served as Youth President in the New Jersey/Delaware District.
Principles of Growth & Revival
“I believe the key principle of church growth is what I call having ‘good church,’” said Pastor Lumpkin. “It must first be Apostolic in its worship, then structure and leadership will follow.” He explained, “Years ago I read an interesting book by Jack Hayford titled The Church on the Way. He had built a church on praise and worship. At WAF, we place a strong focus on praise and worship.”
Pastor Lumpkin understands the demands of a pastor. Where priorities are concerned, he said, “I firmly believe my marriage and my children are a priority, and then my consecration and prayer life follows. You can have church growth but still not have a revival church. WAF’s church growth comes mostly through word of mouth and personal evangelism. Being a part of community events also gives the church a presence in the community, as do block parties. Home Bible Studies and Home Friendship Groups are also valuable outreach tools for the church.”
Organization & Church Management
WAF’s ministries include the Sunday School Department, a Christian school, Youth Ministry, Deaf Ministry, Prison Ministry, and Home Friendship Groups. Two or three times a year on Sunday evening, there are split sessions for the men and women. WAF also offers a ministry called Extreme Recovery for those coming from addictive lifestyles. Once a month, the Youth Ministry, Extreme Recovery and Home Friendship Groups meet together for a Celebration Service.
Pastor Lumpkin meets every other month or as needed with department and ministry leaders. There are also what he referred to as “tag-in” sessions. He said, “We are in the process of making some changes in our monthly report process. We do, however, meet after events where our leaders discuss the results and provide plans for the next event. We also have an annual planning session where we coordinate calendars and brainstorm. Some are held at the church, and some are offsite. The training process for department and ministry leaders depends upon the department in which they serve.”
Pastor Lumpkin estimates that 30 to 40 percent of the church members are involved in some form of ministry. “We don’t have a specific Department of Evangelism, but about 40 to 50 percent are involved in evangelism through either Home Friendship Groups or Home Bible Studies.”
Recovery Ministry & Miracles
Bro. Lumpkin noted many of the miracles the church has experienced were baptisms and deliverances as a result of their Extreme Recovery Ministry, coordinated by Evangelist Nick Mahaney. Bro. Lumpkin said, “To me, seeing these people being born again and filled with the Holy Ghost are miracles for WAF. We have church members who have taken jobs with the primary focus of being in a position where God can use them to extend His kingdom. Although I can’t say we have a specific ministry target, our church’s heart is drawn to hurting people. Most of those who come to WAF are hurting and wounded.”
The auditorium and Sunday school wing were built in 1965. The auditorium seats 260. A gymnasium, Christian school, and offices were added in the late 1980s under the leadership of former pastor Bill Harden. The facility contains over 50,000 square feet. Plans to expand the auditorium seating will take place this spring. The church averages about 150 in attendance.
Being a pastor’s son, Pastor Lumpkin grew up in several different locations: Montgomery, Alabama, under Pastor Joe Lane; St. Paul, Minnesota, under Pastor S.G. Norris; St. Louis, Missouri, under Pastors Roy Gerald, Harry Branding, Winfred Black, and Guy Roam, (where he received the Holy Ghost at age 15). Upon graduating from high school, Pastor Lumpkin moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where his dad became pastor of Northside UPC.
He also sat under the pastorates of his dad, James Lumpkin Sr., Don Deck, B.J. Thomas, Anthony Mangun, and G.A. Mangun. Since his father passed away, he now considers Bro. Thomas to be his pastor.
Bro. Lumpkin preached his first sermon at the age of 18. He noted, “The call to ministry began to slowly grow on me after Bible college with a desire to do home missions work.” In 1973, he married Jelaine West of Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana. “While hosting a home missions training seminar in Fort Smith, Charles Grisham preached a message that gave me direction and desire to plant a church someday,” said Bro. Lumpkin. “It took several more years for that to become a reality, but in 1983 I moved my family to Orange, New Jersey to plant a church. Along with my former pastors, I credit men like Bro. T.F. Tenney, Bro. Jack Younts, and Bro. Chester Wright with influencing my ministry and direction.”
First Pentecostal Church (later known as WAF) was founded by a group of hungry people meeting in homes, tent revivals and store buildings in downtown Little Rock before finally locating near the State Capitol. It relocated in 1965 to Interstate 30. The history of the church covers almost 100 years and five pastors, including Bro. R.G. Cook and Bro. G.H. Brown. In 1999, WAF started a daughter work in Cabot, Arkansas, which is now an autonomous church, pastored by Bro. Tim Gaddy, former Youth Pastor at WAF.
The Lumpkins have a son, Tres’ (34), and a daughter, Brandee (24.) Pastor Lumpkin often plays golf with his son. He explained, “I have found this provides a connecting point to Tres’, who loves golf.” He explained, “Both of our children are away from the Lord at this time, but Jelaine and I feel they will both return and serve God. Brandee was married this past fall, and we had the honor of baptizing her fiancé in Jesus’ name one week prior to the wedding. Jelaine and I decided a long time ago we would try to be transparent concerning our family’s struggles if it meant creating an opportunity to minister to people who aren’t experiencing a perfect world.”
He and his wife also enjoy traveling. They have a Bullmastiff dog named Jersey, which Bro. Lumpkin describes as lovable but useless. When asked who his favorite author is, he said, “Alan Redpath.”
By Linda Schreckenberg