Pastor’s inspiration drives growth of FWPC
Person of the Year
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Every now and then Quincy Griffin, pastor of Family Worship and Praise Center, shares some of his personal life stories with his congregation.
Yanela McLeod, who has been attending the church since its early years, says Griffin’s preaching creates an aura of transparency. That, she said, has kept her and thousands going back even through location changes.
“I like that very applicable preaching,” McLeod said. “There is no holier than thou mentality. When you hear the pastor’s personal story, that helps to connect.”
Since Family Worship and Praise Center opened its doors in a small storefront-like building in 1996, it has become popular with millennial church-goers. Over the years it has become a place where the hungry people can occasionally expect to be fed.
Each month church members also feed the homeless who shelter at the Kearney Center.
Lately Family Worship and Praise added academic tutoring to its lengthy list of services it provides for the community at-large.
For all that and the fundamental teachings that is a part of the Center’s culture, it has been named the Capital Outlook’s Church of the Year.
Growth has become part of the Center’s evolution since it was founded by Rev. Cyrus Flanagan.
“We bring them in, build them up and send them out,” said Griffin, a protégé of Flanagan from Day 1.
Griffin, 36, was one of Flanagan’s first recruits going back to the day when he started a prayer group on FAMU’s campus. Participation increased to the point that Flanagan decided to open the church.
It quickly experienced another growth spurt. Flanagan relocated to the southwest side of town on Branch Street in 2003. Overflow crowds forced yet another recent move, which Griffin said he dreamed about more than once as the old location became too small.
“We had people who would come to the church and it would be full,” he said. “Overflow (section) was filled and people would go home. It hurt me because people coming to church needing a miracle or a prayer but couldn’t get into the building just because of space.”
Small as the previous two buildings were, Griffin carried on service with a sense of gratitude just for having a place to worship.
“There was a presence of God that was so strong in that church that was undebatable,” he said. “It didn’t matter how bad the building looked, how small it was or who all were in there. Pastor Flanagan was such a good example for us.”
Since last August, Family Worship and Praise Center has been holding its services in the Enrichment Center off Lake Bradford Road. They celebrated the move with yet another one of their annual benevolent campaigns — Shoes for School — just in time for children to get new shoes to start the school year.
One of the stories that Griffin gladly tells is about his four years as saxophonist with FAMU’s Marching 100 band. He’d tell about meeting his wife, Michelle, and how she’s one of the reasons, along with God’s calling, that made him stay in Tallahassee after graduation instead of returning to his native home South Carolina for other opportunities.
Flanagan had made an impression on him, too. The church’s founder had groomed him for pasturing the church after he was ordained in 2011.
Flanagan died two years later.
“The privilege of being under his tutelage gave me the opportunity to learn things beyond preaching; character, integrity and even how to handle myself as a young man with the temptations of the world,” said Griffin.
He gave up his job as band director at Rickards High School to become fulltime preacher at Family Worship and Praise Center. He is running it just like his mentor did, said McLeod.
“Church is a place that has to do God’s work on this planet,” McLeod said. “Part of that work is building people; broken people, hurt people, discarded people, people who live on the margin and using the power of people’s gift to do that.”