By Jason A. Smith
A local church leader is hopeful his ministry will have the same level of influence in Clayton County, as its parent facility has in Henry.
Ralgerald "Ral" Waltower is the newly selected campus pastor at Higher Living Christian Church's satellite facility, at 2450 Mount Zion Pkwy., in Jonesboro. The church will host its first service at its Community Impact Center on Feb. 7.
Higher Living's main services have been held in Henry County since 2008, at 2455 Mount Carmel Road in Hampton. Senior Pastor Andre Landers said opening the Jonesboro location is part of his goal to pursue "the great commission Jesus Christ gave His church, to go and make disciples."
"We are structuring our congregation to grow into a multi-site church, whose focus is not size, but to significantly impact the lives of our fellow man," said Landers. "Our mission is to know Christ and to make Him known. Taking His message to different communities, gives us the opportunity to fulfill that mission."
Waltower, 45, of McDonough, said he shares Landers' goals for the church, and has enjoyed a "dedicated walk" with Jesus Christ for the last 19 years.
From 1991-2001, Waltower and his family -- which includes his wife, Shirley, and their four daughters -- were members of New Birth Cathedral in Lithonia, under Bishop Eddie L. Long.
In 2002, Waltower brought his family to join New Birth South Metropolitan Church, the former name of Higher Living Christian Church. He said the church's services were, at the time, held in the facility where he will begin his first pastorate next month.
"When we were at the Mount Zion Parkway location, we experienced tremendous growth," said Waltower. "Our church was influential, and had a lot of impact in the Clayton County community. That's the driving force behind this [move], to get back into that community and serve it as we once did."
Waltower said he has performed a "servant role" at the church over the last five years, and has been active on a number of committees at Higher Living for eight years. He served as a ministry leader for relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and has taught several classes and seminars at the church.
Waltower will be installed as a campus pastor Jan. 31, prior to the inaugural service at the Jonesboro location in February. He said he wants to "share the love of Christ with others," and to "push the envelope" in the church's endeavors to reach the community.
"Our mantra is going to be to follow Christ, to get out of the four walls of the church and go wherever He goes, whether it's a street corner, a club or a cab," said Waltower.
Pastor Landers described Waltower as "a gifted and faithful man, who loves God, his family and the cause of Christ." He expressed confidence in Waltower's ability to serve as a campus pastor.
"He wants to establish Kingdom order, empower the people of God, develop our youth and save souls for the kingdom of God," said Landers. "I can't think of a better person to help us expand our efforts to make a difference in the lives of the citizens of South-Metropolitan Atlanta."
Waltower grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and attended the University of Florida for two years, where he obtained an associate's degree in undergraduate studies in 1985. He transferred to DeVry University in Decatur, graduating in 1987, with a bachelor's degree in computer information science.
He has worked as a computer consultant with companies including AT&T, BellSouth, Sprint and Cingular.