Much like Jesus and his disciples, Pastor Glenn Germany’s goal in life is to put the Word of God out there for people without any fluff and teach them that they can have a vibrant life.
With the opening of Jesus’ Dwelling Place, a non-denominational church located in North Braddock in 2010, the passionate preacher is on the way to fulfilling that goal.
|LEADING HIS FOLK—Rev. Glenn Germany, center, with Rev. Bobby Fulton, left, and Gary Germany during the video shooting of his group “The Levites.” (Photos by J. L. Martello)
“I’m in the beginning stages right now, but I want the church to be a place that isn’t dependent on the people, but the people are dependent on it. I don’t want it to be one of those churches where the preacher is the only one living large. We give money for school grants and we try to help people who has fallen behind on their electric bills,” said Germany, who serves as senior pastor of Jesus’ Dwelling Place.
In addition, he holds a weekly conference call Bible study for about 20 formerly incarcerated men from all across the county on Tuesday nights.
“There were a lot of guys in prison who had time to study the Bible for hours. Once they come home, they want a place where they can still get that intense Bible study,” he said. “Right now we’re learning how to put God at the head of the household. It’s a blessing because everyone’s learning at the same time.”
Germany speaks from experience. After landing in the federal prison system with a 15-year sentence for transporting drugs from Phoenix, Ariz., where he lived with his older brother, back to Pittsburgh, Germany knew God had a plan for his life.
“I went to jail at 22, the first three years I ran around prison like everyone else, gambling and things,” Germany recalls. “During my third year in jail, I went to church and it changed my life around. I gave my life to the Lord because I wanted to learn more about God.”
He said after that pivotal third year, life began to change for him.
“After that I was at peace. I was physically in prison, but I was at peace. God showed Himself real to me and I never cried about the time I had once I got there,” Germany said.
Soon after, other inmates began to approach Germany and ask him questions about the Bible and Jesus.
“There were a lot of guys in prison who had time to study. I would study five to six hours a day because I had the time and then I would teach two Bible studies,” said Germany, who is now married with six children. “On Fridays the Bible study would be standing room only with 80-90 guys attending and throughout the week we would have guys mentoring other guys.”
As a result, Germany found favor in many areas of the prison.
“I had the best jobs in prison like fixing computers. I kept getting favor after favor. You wouldn’t believe it, it was truly a blessing,” he said.
Germany’s older brother, Gary, who serves as associate pastor of Jesus’ Dwelling Place, is not surprised at the good fortune God has bestowed upon his little brother.
“When he was about 7 years old, he prophesied that he would carry God’s word and to see it come to pass after he ran away from the cross as far as possible—as we all sometimes do—is remarkable. God has blessed him with great understanding and he is a wonderful teacher,” Gary Germany said.
Germany was released from prison in 2007 and after a year of schooling in California, returned home to Pittsburgh and his mother’s house armed with only his faith in God.
Three years later, Germany opened Jesus’ Dwelling Place.
“I try to teach people how to read the Bible. I want them to come to their own conclusions and to live by what they understand. You are never going to find two people who believe the same thing, but we are trying to get people to read the Bible for themselves,” Germany said.
Although the church has only been open for two years, Germany has high hopes for it.
He hopes to be in a position to buy properties in North Braddock and surrounding areas to help teach his congregation—which currently stands at 30-40 faithful members—about finances and homeownership. He also wants to start an investment group with his church members and people in the North Braddock community.
Jesus’ Dwelling Place has partnerships with Divine Intervention Ministries, a prison and anti-violence ministry, the PA Prison Ministry, Dare 2 Share, a national youth ministry and the Christian Community Development Association in Chicago.
When he isn’t pastoring his sheep, Germany enjoys playing sports, exercising and performing with his musical group, The Levites, which performs a mixture of hip-hop and R&B-tinged gospel music.
“When we perform, we dress up in various robes. It’s a beautiful presentation. It’s all about glorifying the Lord,” Germany said.
The group has been performing at several venues throughout the city of Pittsburgh and will be performing at a gospel fest in the North Side the first weekend of August. The Levites will be completing a video soon.
(For more information on the Germany brothers, Jesus’ Dwelling Place or the Levites, visit http://www.battf.org.)