(The Man Behind The Vision)
The life of Will Thomas Washington began on November 22, 1935 in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. He is the second oldest of four children born to Will T. Washington and Eunice Washington, a school teacher and principal at several rural schools. With the untimely death of his mother when he was just 14 years old, he was forced into a boarding school called Piney Woods Academy in Piney Woods, Mississippi. Basically he was a ward of the state and raised himself, his two sisters and brother. He never really had a chance to just be a kid.
In 1952, Will Washington moved to Chicago, Illinois in search of life experiences that would help him figure out who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. So, he entered the Air Force 2 years later and decided to accept the call of Uncle Sam. He was a good ole’ service boy quickly climbing the ranks of office and always doing as he was told. Things were great for a while. Then he met and married Yvonne Reeves, a young local girl from Virginia (Cosmetology was her trade). The year was 1961.
Will Washington quickly noticed the Service and all of its principles contradicted the man he knew himself to be. He held strong to his beliefs and political views and realized that he was representing a country that treated African Americans with such brutality, yet expected them to fight on the front line. So, after 11 1/2 years, he decided not to re-enlist. The year was 1965 and he happily took his wife Yvonne and son Edward to Los Angeles, the city of dreams, to settle in and make it home. He obtained a job with North American Aviation and quickly moved up the ranks to Lead Man of the department. After 4 years, he was laid off due to budget cuts. Will Washington then decided to obtain his Real Estate License and became Manager of Ballard Real Estate & Construction Company. Three years later, he joined the Federal Government as an Accounting Aide, and quickly promoted to a GS-11 as a Field Agent for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He was enrolled in college throughout his multitude of careers and would later receive his Associate of Arts Degree. Then along came the birth of his second son Thomas. The Washingtons were on the move upward. Money was tight but they were happy.
Will Washington, the natural man, still could not be completely satisfied with life as it was. He knew there was still something missing. Throughout his life, he had re-occurring visions but would not accept them. These visions could not possibly mean what he thought they meant! So, he drank a little more, partied a little more; and did everything he could to convince himself that the “happiness” he currently had was all that he needed. The visions became even more vivid; and now they clearly showed a picture of him as a 13-year-old boy. This young boy was asleep and dreaming of God handing him a bible while speaking these words: “Take this bible and go and preach my Word.” Yes! He thought. I have been running away from this since the age of 13, and yes, this is the calling on my life. He did not fully acknowledge the calling until 1969 at age 33.
Will Washington and his family joined Mount Zion Apostolic Church where he was saved, being baptized (in Jesus’ name) and filled with the Holy Ghost. He served faithfully, never wavering. He would arrive at the church early, before the doors even opened. Once he became involved, he could not get enough! Life was not just good, it was great!!! He had two sons and his third son Timothy would be born in 1972, further adding to his excitement. If that was not enough, he was officially ordained in the gospel ministry on September 3, 1972.
God told Minister Washington (as he would now be called) it was time for him to move on. Training had just begun and HE wanted to take him up a little higher. So, Minister Washington joined Living Gospel Fellowship, and that is where he really received the training he would need for his call to lead God’s people. At Living Gospel Fellowship, he served as International Youth Leader and liaison between the Bishop Boards and new Pastors, and he established new ministries. He was very involved, very devoted and had proven that he could accept the many challenges of this ministry. As a result, God sent him back to the church of his spiritual birth.
While there, Minister Washington saw a vision to build a house for God. God instructed him by HIS Spirit to leave his church home and go prepare for God’s mission. The time had come for him to be accountable for the souls of others. In January 1978, the ministry started in the dining room of his family home in Inglewood with the following: his wife, Yvonne; his children, Thomas, Tim and Joy (his last child born); and a friend. They had wonderful Friday night Bible studies and Sunday Morning Services. Pastor Washington (his new title) never once felt that he lacked a legitimate ministry because he did not have a building. It was this kind of humility and faithfulness that caused God’s blessings to flow quickly: and quickly they did flow. Thus, God instructed Pastor Washington to look for a building; and a wonderful building he did find.
On July 14, 1978 after much preparation, Christian’s Community Church opened its doors at 8223 South Western Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Although it was a tiny little storefront and church services were attended only by Pastor Washington and his family, great things were about to happen. Pastor Washington would stand outside the doors of the church passing out flyers and witnessing to passersby. Some would walk by and laugh; but before long, the church was full of members. God was still working fast. In 1981, God instructed him to resign his commission as an Internal Revenue Service agent and devote himself full-time to the ministry.
In August of 1981, a much larger building was found at 8725 South Broadway, the current location; the church has been here ever since. Yahvah has been blessing this ministry by leaps and bounds. The membership more than quadrupled that of the Western location. There is a host of departments that are led by wonderful and faithful leaders who were all trained under Dr. Washington - yes, he received his Doctorate of Divinity in 1986 from Altadena Bible College. The church now owns the major portion of the entire block, hosting the businesses of some of our members. Even more exciting than that, Dr. Washington has sent out men of integrity, loyalty and faithfulness to establish satellite churches. The organization now consists of 8 churches in different parts of the US and Africa, with all Pastors being trained by Bishop Washington (Note: Dr. Washington was installed as Bishop of Christian’s Community Churches Incorporated in 2002). What a blessing!!!
Bishop Washington has been a very busy man, not seeking to achieve any outside notoriety; but to keep his commitment to Yahvah and the ministry. What else can be said of a man of this caliber? More than anything, we have a Bishop that is dedicated not only to preaching Yahvah’s word, but to preaching the truth! Truth is very subjective. Words have different meanings for different people, but when Bishop Washington begins to teach the truth, watch out, because it will definitely hit you right in the heart! Bishop Washington, along with his dear friend Dr. Charles C. Queen, have gone against the odds and are strong advocates of using the name Yeshua, the true name of our Savior that had been translated incorrectly and misused all these years. Because Bishop Washington was so relentless in spreading the name of Yeshua, he launched a Witnessing Campaign coined Mobilization. In this campaign, our most fearless soldiers were sent out to spread the name door to door and on street corners from Western to Broadway and from Florence to Century. No house was left without a flyer or face-to-face information. The mission was very successful; and it is Bishop Washington’s intent to go even further through Los Angeles in the very near future. He is truly a man of strength and courage.
Bishop Washington the man, the father and the Bishop is a loving, caring, honest and faithful servant of Yahvah who is in constant search of the truth. He cares deeply about this community, as he is heavily involved in the Redevelopment Project of South Central Los Angeles on Broadway that would bring a much-needed shopping center to the area. He is also a big endorser of children going to college, and he holds an annual Graduation Celebration where he awards monetary gifts and scholarships to students who are members of the church. He has a big heart!
In addition to being an advocate for children in education, Bishop Washington has been actively lobbying against gang warfare and police brutality in the area. He always says he wants to “build up the community and make it a better environment.” It was his presence at city meetings and outspoken and controversial viewpoints that landed him an interview on the nationally syndicated Primetime Special with Peter Jennings. In this broadcast, Bishop Washington openly challenged the philosophy of the police department hoping to change the department’s officers’ way of thinking. His main goals are to see gang violence cease and to witness a police department that truly protects and serves the community rather than victimize it. The interview was powerful and really spoke to the character of a man who is unwavering in his beliefs and true to the community. Where other Pastors may water down the Word and pretend to be concerned about the community, Bishop Washington’s approach is genuine. His convictions are real and he is not just a talker; he is a doer!!
Where do the accomplishments of this man end? In addition to everything else, Bishop Washington is also a great author He has written such books as, Revisiting Water Baptism (2001); Pre-Wired for Yahvah (2002); Hebrew Made Simple (2004); Chimes of Ancient Times; Power of Yahvah in the Hands of the Enemy. All of these are available for purchase. He has a repertoire of sentimental and sometimes comical poetry that he shares with the church body at special programs. He is not afraid to show his softer side by really opening up about his life’s experiences. He is just that kind of guy!
Bishop Washington: Who is he really? Spiritual misfit? Perhaps. Hebrew Fanatic? Probably, but with good cause. Seeker of truth? ABSOLUTELY! But who we all know him to be is a man of Honor, Integrity, Truth, Faithfulness, Love, Kindness and Humility. What better man to watch over the souls of many than Bishop Will T. Washington? He is truly a man of Yahvah!