Each Sunday Pastor Tim Timberlake preaches to a large congregation of 700 to 1,000 people in the small rural town of Creedmoor just north of Durham, where in the late ’70s his well-known father Bishop Mack Timberlake, now deceased, and his mother, Brenda, founded the Christian Faith Center at 101 Peachtree Road.
Theirs was a ministry that mushroomed, both locally and across the country, because the pair shared a weekly television program that reached audiences beyond their small Granville County town.
If you were not interested in the Christian message from the bishop, you might watch for another reason, the beauty and charm of his wife, who spoke with the authority of one called by God but looked like a model and wore spectacular clothes.
But beauty and charm was not the charisma that kept this ministry on the move. Instead, it was the upbeat message that encouraged people to believe in God and in Jesus Christ and to believe in themselves as well.
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Tim is the 31-year-old son, an avid sports fan and a popular thought leader in venues around the country, who has inherited the mantle of his father. He does most of the preaching, but his mom, Pastor Brenda, is still active in the ministry, he said in an interview last week.
(And for those inquiring minds who want to know, her son says she’s still beautiful and still likes to wear good-looking clothes.)
Tim’s story is not one of a prodigal son, but it is the story of a young man who in 2002 when he was 18, lost his father and whose father on the day before his death sat him down for a five-hour talk about what it means to be a man.
In the dedication of his new book “Abandon: Laying Aside Your Plan for God’s Purpose,” Tim writes about his father, to whom he dedicates the book.
“I am who I am today because of what you instilled in me. … You changed my life forever by being the epitome of a great father. When I look in the mirror, I see you. When I speak on the various platforms God has granted me, I hear you. … As long as I live, you live.”
Tim looks more like an athlete than a preacher. No slick suits, white shirts and snappy ties for this sports enthusiast. He says church should be a come-as-you-are kind of place. Although he went to Hampton University to play basketball, he did not have a career in sports, but feeds his appetite for all things athletic by supporting local teams like UNC. And for a time, he was the part-time team chaplain for N.C. State. He’s also a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Carolina Panthers.
The academy, a school the ministry opened on the Creedmoor campus, has graduated 70 Division I basketball players. The campus also includes affordable housing for the elderly and a daycare center, both projects of the Christian Faith Center.
Tim, a graduate of the Pistis School of Ministry in Detroit, is the fourth child in a family of seven children. He is getting married July 4 in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a woman he met when he was speaking at a conference. A bit older than the usual bridegroom, Tim said that marriage is something to move toward slowly, reflecting his steady-as-a-rock approach to the Christian life.
The idea he puts forth in his book is that the secret to living a better life is to exchange your plan for God’s purpose.
His book offers wisdom on focusing on that purpose rather than getting distracted by day-to-day problems. It emphasizes victory over doubt and temptation and abandoning guilt from previous failures.
His next book-signing in this area is set for 7 p.m. May 22 at Barnes & Noble at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh. Other book-signing events are May 9 in Atlanta and May 21 in New York City.
The book was published last month by Destiny Image and sells for $15.99.
Contact Flo Johnston at email@example.com