While many church leaders consider themselves part of a family of faith, the leadership at The Well Church is actually a family.
Bishop Charles and Pastor Pamela Johnson founded the church that is on Gresham Lake Road in Raleigh in 2003. They have been married for more than 20, years and their preaching partnership gives parishioners the best of the talents of both.
“I am more of the visionary, the encourager, the empowering kind of guy, and she comes along, we call her the ‘spiritual interventionalist’; she helps with those issues we face that are in your life that will help you become a better person. Those things combined have been a blessing,” saysCharles Johnson.
Charles was raised as the child of a preacher andPam is the product of a musically talented family.
The Bishop says congregants tell him they appreciate them as a pair.
“They came because of me, but they stay because of her,” Charles says.
The couple continues to grow professionally. Charles is working on his masters of divinity, and Pamela is studying to earn her master’s degree in professional counseling.
“We bring a great balance because we minister to the whole person,” Pamela says.
And the Johnsons have engaged their entire family in the ministry.
“Our oldest son, who is 29, does a lot of security at church and does a lot of ministry at church. And our youngest son, who is 21, does a lot the music and arts like I do,” says Pamela. “Our youngest son follows after me and our oldest son follows after their dad with the youth ministry and is a little bit more hands-on,” Pamela Johnson says.
But the parents say they did not insist that their children follow them into the ministry.
“They are naturally drawn to it,” says Pam. “We promised we would never try to influence them one way or the other and we wanted them to evolve on their own. We told them growing up you do not have to be a preacher, you do not have to be a pastor, and it sort of happened that way.”
The Johnsons say their philosophy about their biological family and their church family is really the same.
“We do our best to best to be as real as possible and as transparent as possible, we don’t try to put on airs for anybody,” Charles Johnson says. “We are like anybody else’s family, we don’t care what you wear or what you are like. We aren’t going to assume anything about you, but we are going to love you.”
And Pam Johnson says the atmosphere at The Well Church may be atypical.
“We are very spiritual people, but we are not very religious people,” Pam Johnson says. “That sounds strange but we don’t believe in the bondage of religion and the rules. We don’t believe in judging people and telling them how wrong they are. We believe in loving people right where they are and we don’t care who you are or what your background is or what struggle you have. We love you where you and that’s why we like to call ourselves the judgment- free zone and we just want to love people and enjoy the life that God has given us,” Pam Johnson says.
And Bishop Charles and Pastor Pam intend to continue working side by side as a family ministry of unconditional love inside the special sanctuary they have created at The Well Church.