Wednesday, 3 August 2016

MAN ON A MISSION: Pastor Dwight Fletcher fuses powerful preaching with a deep philanthropic spirit

TRUE GRIT: Pastor Fletcher's preaching style is a traditional mix of the militant and the mercurial; (below) sharing an easy moment with wife, Joan.

For the past five years, Transformed Life Church, which meets at the Police Officers’ Club on Hope Road in St. Andrew, has been spreading a message of hope, Christian transformation and spiritual enlightenment that’s attracted an increasingly large following. The man who is largely responsible for this quickly expanding flock is Pastor Dwight Fletcher, a tireless preacher and teacher whose combination of fiery rhetoric and high-energy rock-star-lite appeal continues to woo and inspire believers.

Consequently, TLC no longer hosts one but three Sunday morning services – 7am, 9am and 11:30 am – an undertaking that would prove daunting to some in his league, but Pastor Fletcher seems to have a gargantuan inner drive that keeps him fired up. “It’s a lot of work. Anybody who thinks that pastors don’t have anything to do needs to visit us often,” he tells TALLAWAH laughing, one recent Sunday morning as we have a chat following the 7am service. He has a ready smile for everyone who comes up to him.

Neatly attired in a light-green shirt with vest and dark pants, sharp eyes peering out from behind sleek eyeglasses, Fletcher is the picture of secure alpha-male coolness. When he’s on the pulpit, however, the no-nonsense scripture warrior emerges, with a booming voice that commands attention. “I’m just me. I try to stay fit and energized and make my sermons as appealing as possible,” he explains. “So whatever you see that’s not who I’m trying to be; that’s who I am.”

Like the best creative artists, Fletcher says before gracing an ‘audience,’ his preparation is total. It shows. And he doesn’t shy away from the massive workload. “You have to spend a lot of time in preparation, seeking the Lord. Preparation is key,” he points out. “And then there are the many projects that we’re working locally and in different countries. There are also a number of institutions that we support [Dare to Care, Martha’s House, Marie Atkins Shelter], so all of those things keep you quite busy as a pastor.”
Pastor Dwight’s other half, Joan, wasn’t in attendance when we visited, but other members of the congregation readily sing his praises. “As a leader he demonstrates a real love for people. His sermons are practical and very helpful, and he empowers us with a very solid example,” shares Marsha Davidson.

“I grew up Methodist,” offers Orthel Faulkner, “but here at TLC you are in tune to what’s happening. It’s fantastic. It’s good when you can be a part of a worship experience that’s not just spiritually fulfilling but also very energizing.”

As his congregation expands, Fletcher is looking to elevate members to leadership positions, starting with the upcoming ordination of their first two elders (Jean-Claude Davidson and Paul Russell). Where does he see Transformed Life Church five years from now? “I’m hoping for the best. We expect the numbers to grow and our contribution to the wider society to increase,” he says. “We’ve grown a lot. We celebrate our fifth anniversary in January, officially. We’ve moved from one service to two services to three services, so that is expansion. We have some limitations in terms of space now, so we’re looking into how we can expand the space.”

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