Serving God and His Community for Spiritual Fulfillment and Social and Economic Justice
BY R.L. WITTER
Reverend Dr. David Jefferson, Sr., pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, NJ, holds many titles and roles, including teacher, attorney, radio and TV personality, husband, father, grandfather, and activist. However, the one most dear to him is husband to Linda Mouton Jefferson of Jennings, Louisiana whom he first met at Grambling State University. Married for forty-eight years, Jefferson is father to four awesome children and grandfather to nine wonderful grandchildren whom he affectionately refers to as the divine nine. Realizing his own home as the heart of his pastoral and social communities, Pastor Jefferson takes time to rejoice and spend time with his family.
Born in Doyline, Louisiana to the late Rev. Ernest Jefferson Sr., and Mrs. Wrender Jefferson in a home with fourteen other siblings, Dr. Jefferson grew up with a love for family that serves as the foundation of his ministerial vision of “Bringing Families Together around the Word of God.” Knowing education was the key to unlocking his future, Jefferson graduated from Grambling State University and then earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Finance from the University of Dayton, Ohio. He also received a Jurist Doctorate of Law from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and a Master of Divinity from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Awarded a Fellowship in the prestigious Sloan Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rev. Jefferson completed the Master of Science in Management degree program in 1989. He is a member of both the New Jersey and American Bar Associations; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated; chairman of the National Action Network for the State of New Jersey; and serves on the Council of Choose Healthy Life, a faith-based not-for-profit established to address health disparities in Black and brown families.
Called by the Holy Spirit into the Lord’s service, Rev. Dr. Jefferson also received a call to action. Seeing and experiencing firsthand how Black people are excluded from programs and deals designed to make money and spread it around communities, Jefferson became impassioned about helping his community culturally, morally, spiritually, and economically.
Dr. Jefferson answered the call to become the third pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark in February of 1995. Under his leadership, the church has grown to a 7000-plus member congregation. He continues to serve today under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, preaching and teaching the WORD of God, with a vision for the church of family ministry and community outreach. Having a heart for young people, Pastor Jefferson established a “Young People” focused service, which ministers explicitly to young people and their families. Focused on “three Es”: Evangelism, Education, and Economic Justice. To strengthen the family unit, Pastor Jefferson has established a men’s fellowship group, “Men Stepping Up,” that reinforces the biblical values necessary for men to become solid foundations for their families and communities. In addition, First Lady Rev. Linda Jefferson leads Daughters of Christ and Women’s Fellowship ministries that serve the needs of women in their faith journey. Metropolitan houses some 30-plus vital, vibrant, vocal, and virtual ministries.
In striving to improve the plight of Black and other minority communities, Jefferson has aligned with business and political allies in an effort for inclusion in the American dream and, at the very least, equitable treatment and resources. He played a crucial role in advocating for Blueprint Capital Advisors—New Jersey’s only Black-owned financial management firm, when they were treated unfairly during a deal to manage NJ State employee pensions. “We are accustomed to seeing racism’s manifestations in harmful policies that spur police violence, mass incarceration, unfair sentencing,education inequities, housing discrimination, and the like,” Jefferson said. “But racism is wreaking havoc on our prospects for economic justice as well.” His passion, now, is to bring economic equity to Black and brown families.
Unafraid to speak frankly and clearly, Jefferson is a voice for the Black community saying, “We have the right to sit at the lunch counter. Now we need the resources to purchase from its menu. We have the right to enter the establishment. Now we need the path cleared so we can own the establishment.” In 2020, he used his voice to hold several virtual town halls with nationally known personalities like Roland Martin, Marc Morial, Philanthropist Robert Smith, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sen. Cory Booker, and many others. These gatherings discussed economic and social justice with themes such as “The Black Church in Pursuit of Economic Justice” and “Economic Justice Is Economic Inclusion.”
Responding to the work of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Jefferson is leading his flock to greater dimensions in the area of community outreach and evangelism. Like Nehemiah, Pastor Jefferson has been convicted to rebuild the walls of the city of Newark, uplift families, and restore the community. To that end, he expanded Metropolitan’s physical campus to include The Willing Heart Community Care Center, a nonprofit center supported by the Heart to Heart Partners Covenant. Out of that center, Jefferson has initiated programs to meet the needs of families: food, clothing, educational supplies and assistance, financial programs, Christian counseling, and other services,
as well as providing affordable Christian entertainment for the community. Healthcare equity loomed large in his bailiwick even prior to the COVID-19 scourge in the Black community. It is a mighty task; however, “… The God of heaven will give us success.”—Nehemiah 2:20
While his humility belies the talents and achievements of the man, God surely has much more in store for Rev. Dr. David Jefferson, Sr. to accomplish in service to Him and his community.