The Greater Exodus Baptist Church was born out of New Thankful Baptist Church located at 1800 Columbia Avenue (Cecil B. Moore Avenue) in Philadelphia, PA.
On November 21, 1971 Greater Exodus Baptist Church was officially organized with 92 members. Shortly after being officially organized, the church moved to its current location at 704-714 North Broad Street.
The Greater Exodus Baptist Church is indebted to Reverend Dr. Jack Kelly for his vision to lead the Church to Broad Street. The late great Reverend Dr. Kelly was Pastor of Greater Exodus for the first 10 years of its existence. He was known as one of the most powerful preachers of his time.
Reverend Dr. Kelly, born in South Carolina, graduated from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, Stork Seminary, and Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. Reverend Dr. Kelly was married to his wife, Vienna and is the father of two sons, Jack Kelly, Jr. and Carroll A. Kelly. Reverend Dr. Kelly resigned in 1981.
Pastor Lusk Arrives
In 1982, Reverend Dr. Herbert H. Lusk II, a former Philadelphia Eagles Running Back, accepted the call to pastor the Greater Exodus Baptist Church. Since accepting that call, well over $2.5 million in renovations have been made to the church building and the church has grown from a deficit of $500,000 to over $17 million in assets. Under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Lusk, the church has grown from a handful of active members to thousands of new members on the church roll.
People For People, Inc.
Under Reverend Lusk’s holistic approach to ministry, thousands of people have been fed, clothed, educated and trained in job skills through Greater Exodus’ community outreach organization, People for People, Inc. (PFP), now a multi-million dollar non-profit agency which has aggressively met the socio-economic needs of church members and those of the greater Philadelphia community since 1989.
Components of People For People, Inc. include Project D.A.D., the PFP Charter School, the PFP Early Childhood Development Center, the HOPE Pregnancy Center, Stand for Africa, and multiple programs that mentor children of incarcerated parents, fathers released from incarceration who need help with parenting skills, and those that provide youth enrichment. PFP Charter School educates students in grades K to 11; in the 2018-19 school year it will add grade 12.
In 2014, Greater Exodus, PFP, Project H.O.M.E. and partner Jon Bon Jovi marked the grand opening of JBJ Soul Homes, a $16 million, multi-story building covering the entire city block at Ridge, Fairmount and Broad Streets which provides 55 units of transitional housing for low income individuals. The building also houses 12,000 square feet of retail space which will bring new entrepreneurial energy to the Fairmount-Francisville neighborhoods.
In addition, Greater Exodus manages the Frederick Douglass Christian School in Chester, PA., educating students academically and spiritually in grades Pre-K to 4. A grade will be added each year until the school reaches grade 8.