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Black History Month Series: Living Legends

I was sixteen years old when my parents divorced. My mother packed up her four children and we moved to Dayton, Ohio. It was my Sophmore year in high school. I was thrust into a new environment. I was worried about my mom and my siblings. I was heartbroken that my seemingly perfect life wasn’t so perfect anymore. But, most of all I was ANGRY at my father. One man stepped in and filled the immense void that was left when my father fell from the pedestal of my heart.

Maranatha Voices of Joy

This month I honor my spiritual father, Bishop Truman L. Martin. He took us out to MCL, inspected our report cards, and gave the best hugs. He sat me down in his office and asked me how I was doing. He told me to stop by his dentist office and I helped clean and talked to him while he worked. He prayed for me. He preached to me. He listened to me and he SHOWED UP for me! He made me feel special even though I knew I was not the only one he was doing this for. In fact, I grew up with a group of about sixty young people who all called him Pastor and thought of him as a surrogate dad (see pic to the left).

His empowerment of young people is only one of the reasons he is a living legend. Dr. Martin received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Howard University and has been in private practice in the city of Dayton since 1977. He’s the founder and Sr. Pastor of Maranatha Worship Centre (formerly Maranatha Christian Fellowship) and has faithfully served in this capacity since 1977. His commitment to community development is evident through his service on numerous boards. He founded the Vision Pastors Fellowship Assn.; also the interracial, interdenominational City Gates Ministry. His heart for global missions compelled him to establish five churches in West Africa. Bishop Martin has also provided free dental care to innumerable persons in African villages, also in Jamaica, West Indies, as well as in Haiti. 

There are so many people who have benefited from this man’s mentorship. He has a unique anointing to strengthen and empower men. For over forty years, thousands of Mighty men of valor have been launched from his ministry. Men who were discouraged and distraught have watched him model what it means to be a Godly husband, father, and citizen. His humble, integral, and consistent leadership is a breath of fresh air in a Church environment full of scandals and inconsistency.

The Apostolic mandate on his life is evident in the number of leaders and entrepreneurs that have emerged from Maranatha. Pastors, counselors, doctors, lawyers, teachers, prophets, psalmist, worship leaders, deans, successful business owners. ALL of us are products of the love, kindness, and generosity of T.L. Martin. I am honored to be a part of this legacy. Thanks for embodying black excellence Bishop!

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