Photo by Jeylin White
Pastor Donald Battle has a wealth of experiences to lean on — including 15 years as a detective — as he takes his promotion to bishop.
Pastor Donald Battle is becoming a bishop this week. “It means I will be a pastor of pastors,” said the elated preacher.
Battle, a Clayton County resident, is the spiritual leader for Divine Faith Ministries International, located at 9800 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro. To celebrate his new title, the church is hosting a week-long consecration celebration through Friday, Aug. 24.
Parishioners are eagerly anticipating the event.
“I’m so excited for the anointing to flow,” said Daniel Bostick, who has been a member at the church for two years.
Battle said thousands travel from across the Southern Crescent and Metro Atlanta to hear his message of love, peace and prosperity in God, which he said has compelled countless people to pursue God’s best for their lives.
“We have nearly 8,000 members,” said the husky, well-dressed man.
This week, several well-known televangelists and gospel singers will be on hand to provide words of wisdom and inspiration. Among them, according to flyers promotiong the services, will be Pastor Rod Parsley, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Bishop Michael V. Kelsey, Bishop Paul Morton, and gospel artists Dottie Peoples, Keith Dobbins, Vickie Winans and Melvin Williams. Many other local preachers and ministers will offer congratulatory words to Battle.
A native of Fairfield, Ala., Battle began his ministry in his living room at the age of 30, with just family and friends. After 22 years, Divine Faith has grown to offer more than a dozen ministries, with three locations: two in Jonesboro, including the Generation Now youth facility, and one in Buford. Sunday services are broadcast live on the Word Network and ION television.
“It’s been a long journey,” said Battle.
Battle has been married to his high school sweetheart, Gwen, for 38 years. The couple has three daughters, Minister TaVondria Battle (Vonnie B), who leads the Buford location, Jamie Howard and Christin Smith, who also work diligently within the ministry. Battle and his wife also have six grandchildren.
For six years, Battle served in the U.S. Army in Savannah, before relocating to Atlanta, where he was a sex crimes detective for 15 years. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.S. in criminal justice. He has also received a Masters of Divinity and an honorary doctorate degree. Despite his great success in the law enforcement arena, Battle said he could not ignore God’s calling on his life. That’s when he and his wife co-founded Divine Faith Baptist Church in 1990.
Battle said his church has been “a light of the community.” He said they give away free food to hundreds of Clayton and Henry residents each week. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, the church hosts a free dinner. During Christmas, they also have a toys for tots drive where gifts are given away to 500 youngsters.
Battle’s philanthropy even crosses the ocean. He said his church provides financial assistance for two schools in Haiti to help purchase clothing, school supplies, food and medical supplies.
“There’s nothing about this ministry that is not great,” said Bostick, who also volunteers and sings in the choir. “I love everything this church stands for and wherever I’m needed that’s where I like to be.”
Battle also serves as president of the Policy Action Committee for the Association of Christian Ministers of Clayton County. Under his leadership, the Clayton County Public Schools’ Mentorship Forum was established. Battle was also instrumental in establishing a youth offenders program in Clayton County that encourages state court judges to get the churches involved with the young adult offenders’ community service program. Battle also serves as chaplain for the Clayton County Police Department.
He is the National Director of World Harvest Church Ministerial Fellowship, which is how he met many of the influential televangelists who will speak at his consecration this week. In 2010, he founded the International Covenant of Christian Churches organization in efforts to bring together a covenant fellowship among pastors and leaders.
Battle said he hopes that people will receive a good word from God, during the week-long event.
“I want the people in our community to be blessed by the services,” he said. “I want God’s prophets to bring a word that will cause to them to prosper and become saved.”
Anyone is welcome to attend. “There’s no charge in God’s house,” he said.