Rev. Jasper Williams Jr. Celebrates 50th Anniversary
One of Atlanta’s and the nation’s premier ministers Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., will celebrate 50 years of ministry, 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at Salem Bible Church East, 5460 Hallandale Dr., Lithonia.
Rev. Williams accepted the call to pastor Salem at age 19. Since then, he has become nationally revered for his flamboyant pulpit style and his consummate skill in the art of homiletics. “Rev. Jasper Williams is highly regarded as cultural icon within the African American preaching tradition,” says Emory University theologian Damien Conners. “His mastery of the whooping style of preaching has marked a permanent place for him among America’s finest and most influential preachers.”
Rev. Williams contends that while the word of God has not changed during his 50 years in the pulpit, the manner in which the message is delivered is constantly changing. “I have seen the pendulum swing from one extreme to another extreme,” the Morehouse graduate says. “When I first started as a kid, all a preacher had to have was a hoop with a pretty sound, and he was looked upon as a great preacher. We are now at the juncture where it is very difficult to say just what direction the church is moving in. We are in a period of transition. It is questionable just what the church is doing right now.”
Rev. Williams is one of a very few ministers who captain two churches. He pastors Salem Bible Church West in Northwest Atlanta and the sprawling Salem East in South DeKalb County along with his youngest son, Dr. Joseph L. Williams.