Pastor Marvin A. Jennings, Sr.
December 30, 1949, was a highlight day in Pastor James and Mrs. Bertha Jennings’s lives. Marvin Alphonza Jennings was the second child born to this union but the only living at the time. Marvin graced their home with life and love. Eight siblings followed his birth, seven of which are living.
Marvin’s parents made sure they provided a Christ-centered home, which in turn created strong faith principles in each child. Because of these strong principles, Marvin showed increasing interest in bible reading and scripture memorization. At age seven, he invited Christ into his life, and by age sixteen, he was being asked to speak at youth banquets and services. Marvin’s love for the Lord and God’s Word grew more precious as he dove deeper to learn more. He knew there was a calling on his life but refused to acknowledge it until after high school graduation. In 1968, Marvin acknowledged and accepted his call to the ministry under his father’s pastorate at New True Vine Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan; two years later, on October 18, 970, he was ordained.
Marvin A Jennings met his wife Janis at a youth banquet where he was the speaker in 1968. July 24, 1971, there were married, and a month later, he was called to Pastor a small storefront church in Detroit, Michigan, New Birth Missionary Baptist. Marvin and Janis grew as a family when the Lord added to their union, over time, a quiver full; Marvin Jr., Micah, Celestine, Michella, and Calista. Later in their lives were added two sons-in-law’s, two daughters-in-law, and fifteen grandchildren.
November 6, 1977, Marvin was called to pastor Second Baptist Church, Bay City, Michigan, the county’s oldest black church. In 1978, they paid off an eleven-thousand-dollar balance on 16.9 acres of land in Essexville, Michigan. In April 1978, a mortgage burning service on the land was held, and in December 1978, Second Baptist broke ground to build a new church on a portion of the land to accommodate the welcomed church growth. The structure was completed in September 1979. After serving eight years at Second Baptist and much prayer, Pastor Jennings, Janis, and their children moved to Flint, Michigan.
Adhering to God’s lead and his plan, Pastor Jennings began pastoring Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan, in December 1985, where the organizing pastor was retiring. Since coming to Grace Emmanuel, Pastor Jennings developed and held its first Strategic Planning workshop in 1990, with a group of leaders, ministers, and laypersons at an offsite location, for three days. A mission statement, goals, and ministries were developed to more effectively meet the needs of the congregants and the community. From 1995-1996, Pastor Jennings began and completed a three-phase building project to accommodate ministry needs and growth. A few years later, three properties were purchased, placing families in two of them. Opened and operated within the church, Grace Inspirational Bookstore, and finally, in 2005, the Covenant Early Learning Center opened servicing infants and children six weeks to 5 years. Pastor Jennings has been pastoring Grace for over thirty years.
Pastor Jennings, high school years, was spent at Murray Wright/Wilbur Wright Co-operative School in Detroit, Michigan, before graduating in June 1968. For three years, he attended the University of Detroit in the Project 100 program following high school graduation. Several years later, Pastor Jennings enrolled at Grand Rapids Baptist College and Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in May 1985. By January 1988, Pastor Jennings had his Master of Business Administration in Church Management from the Graduate Theological Foundation. In 2016, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity Degree from Saint Thomas Cristian University, Jacksonville, FL. April 17-29, 2003, Pastor Jennings attended The Governance Institute (Leadership Conference for Trustee, Physicians, Executives) Chicago, Illinois, and in September 2009, completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University Workshop. Pastor Jennings has served on several committees and boards and has supported many community groups; they include Hurley Medical Center Board, Flint, Michigan 2002-2005, President for the Concerned Pastors for Social Action 2004. Pastor Jennings served as Moderator at Large, Great Lakes Baptist District Association, Flint, Michigan, Mr. Rogers Board (a program for young boys), One Church One School Program, served on the first Grand Blanc High School Strategic Planning team, Grand Blanc, Michigan, Governor Granholm’s Insurance Project (to provide insurance for urban areas) and was also on her Faith-Based Advisory Council of Flint, Michigan. Pastor Jennings served on the board for Amachi Big Brother/Big Sisters, Flint, Michigan. He is the President of Grace Emmanuel Economic Community Outreach DCD (GECO), which contributes to several nonprofits as well as community schools. Pastor Jennings was appointed to Sheriff Chaplin and State Police Caution program and certified in March 2015 as Chaplin for the Flint Police Department, Flint, Michigan.
Over the years, Pastor Marvin A Jennings has had many hours bestowed on him; 1995, Grateful Gavel Award was given by (Judges, Fullerton, Neithercut, and Washington), 1995 Urban League Youth Development Award, Mr. Rogers Just Say No Program, 1996, Martin Luther King Drum Major Award, 2000-2001, Pastor of the Year Award from the Wolverine State Congress, 2002, the Genesee District Library honored Pastor Jennings during their annual Black History Branch for making a difference in the Flint Community. October 2003, Flint PanHellenic Council saluted Pastor Jennings for outstanding commitment to the City of Flint in the area of Religion, Career Alliance Inc. Workforce Development Board of Directors conferred upon Pastor Jennings in November 2005 an Honorary Certificate; the AC Lee Faith Community Business and Education Leadership Awards with all Honors and Marks of Distinction, “Renowned Community Activist Award” 2014, from McLaren Health Care. Honored for “Men Making a Difference” (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Zeta Beta Omega Chapter)
Pastor Jennings is known and recognized for his expertise as a spiritual motivator and educator. He was the keynote speaker at the 2005 first annual Healthcare Scholarship Ball and for many other businesses, organizations, schools, and churches over the years. He has even served as a church growth consultant for several churches.
Pastor Jennings keeps these key principles before his church family, to Exalt the Savior, Evangelize the Lost, Educate and Equip the Saints, Embrace Godly Living and Elevate Society. He is a man who loves God, God’s people, and is committed to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.