Wednesday, 22 June 2016

GOSPEL SPOTLIGHT: Pastor Ryan Mark on love, relocating his church, and touring with Kevin Downswell

THE BRIGHT SIDE: "When you go the extra mile for people, it makes a difference to them," Reynolds says of growing his church.

These days, embracing change comes as naturally to Pastor Ryan Mark Reynolds as breathing. After a decade of making gospel hits and releasing albums under the stage name Ryan Mark (aka The Chosen Prodigy), this multifaceted artist, minister, husband, father and entrepreneur has decided to devote the lion’s share of his time to growing his church, Pure Heart Ministries International which, after two years and counting, is attracting followers from all walks of life. And Pastor Reynolds couldn’t be happier. TALLAWAH rang up the superbusy preacher and family man to talk about his many blessings – and what’s next.

TALLAWAH: Pure Heart Ministries started out at the Theatre Place on Haining Road in New Kingston, but now you’re located on Half Way Tree Road. What’s most appealing about the new location?
Pastor Ryan Mark: It’s more central and we have easy access to the location. We also have more space available to hold more services. It was a smooth transition [moving from New Kingston to Half Way Tree Road], and the congregation has been growing steadily.

TALLAWAH: Making the transition from recording artist to preacher and church founder, what did you have to give up?
PRM: Music had to take a back-seat and has been for a while. I think I’ve given music fair enough time. Ten years, and I’ve been a pastor for about two years. It’s time for me to put more focus on my pastoral ministry.

TALLAWAH: How does a young pastor grow his church?
PRM: One of the main ways is really through love. You show them love and the people respond to it. A lot of people out there crave that kind of attention, and when you go the extra mile for people, it makes a difference to them. So the church has definitely been growing, with most of our members being young adults.

TALLAWAH: You’ve been on the road with Kevin Downswell all of this month, for the All The Way tour, celebrating his new album. What was the vibe like?
PRM: It was excellent. We had a good time. Kevin brings a great energy to gospel.

TALLAWAH: You’ve seen first-hand his artistic growth. What makes him such a dynamic talent?
PRM: He is an exceptional minister. He’s come out of the box and expanded his musical ministry to give more variety. His music has more youthful appeal than before. He has both the young and old listening to him. You can definitely see where his music now has more appeal.

TALLAWAH: Happy belated Father’s Day, by the way! What do you and your baby girl talk about now that she’s growing up so fast?
PRM: She’s now seven actually, and I talk to her about everything I can. School, church, everything.

TALLAWAH: Fatherhood, music, pastoral ministry – what’s left for you to accomplish?
PRM: I think it’s time for me to just really put my stamp on my island of Jamaica. I want to be among those great leaders, and perhaps influencing government officials. I also want to put a positive spin on how people see Christianity, get more people interested and just impact Jamaica in a positive way.

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