The Encouraging Discipler
High-energy lead pastor Cornell A. Jordan loves preaching sermons and discipling congregants. He also is passionate about traveling the globe as an evangelist. So he does both.
“I want to reach people across the street and across the sea,” Jordan says.
Although he is lead pastor of Metro Assembly of God in Youngstown, Ohio, around two dozen Sundays a year Jordan is on the road, whether that be in the U.S. or foreign destinations such as Tanzania, Mexico, the Philippines, or his most frequent stopover, Kenya. This year in Kenya, 1,300 people made first time decisions for Christ during Jordan’s sermons.
The 50-year-old Cleveland native grew up in a single-parent home. His mother raised nine children, including him, the youngest of six boys. He found solace from life’s challenges at the Salvation Army. Through the organization, he went to camp regularly, came to know the Lord, ventured out on mission trips, and received a call to ministry.
His wife, Kristin, introduced him to Pentecostalism. She grew up attending Ravenna Assembly of God, 45 miles southeast of Cleveland. The couple met when Kristin took a summer job at a Salvation Army camp. The Jordans have been married nearly 25 years and have two grown children, Christopher and Halle. Kristin is a fifth grade special education teacher.
Early on in ministry, Jordan traveled to AG churches around the Buckeye State, speaking as an evangelist, revamping student ministries, and serving as an interim pastor. In 2006, he made the first of what has become 52 journeys to speak to AG youth in Kenya.
“Young people are still moldable, not jaded by life, politics, or cultural hang-ups,” says Jordan, who earned a political science and history degree from Youngstown State University. His passion to encourage and disciple young people also resulted in working bivocationally. He believes years of working with residential treatment for youth, juvenile corrections, and Child Protective Services have better equipped him to minister to young people. He still conducts multiple youth camps throughout the year.
At Metro Assembly, Jordon is emphasizing discipleship and leadership development in an effort to help congregants grow spiritually and discover their purpose.
“Post-pandemic, we must reach people in a different way than before,” Jordan says. Now in his fourth year at Metro, Jordan says the training of lay leaders to teach has enabled him to travel frequently for ministry.
Metro Assembly is a multiethnic congregation and Jordan says it helps that he and Kristin are an interracial couple; he is Black, she is white.
“I want to not only impact, but also reflect, our community,” says Jordan, who also is an Assemblies of God Ohio Ministry Network presbyter. “Our church needs to look like the people shopping at Walmart.”
One of those who has benefited attending is Cassandra Leavell, who serves as office manager at Metro Assembly. In addition, she leads Bible studies, serves on the worship team, and preaches occasionally. In September, she led her first ministry team to Kenya, after participating on five such journeys before.
“Pastor Cornell has a passion for the Word of God,” says Leavell, 40. “He makes it practical and applicable. His leading by example has impacted our entire family.” Cassandra’s husband, Charity, serves on the church board. Their 20-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, helps lead worship. Sons Lorenzo, 16, and Andre, 14, are part of the projection team.
Leavell says the discipleship emphasis at church has helped her learn more about what it means to follow Jesus.
“Pastor Cornell meets everybody at their level — whether they are in seminary or just off the street,” says Leavell, who is studying Global University courses in pursuit of ministerial credentials. “He doesn’t just want to win souls; he wants to see transformation.”
TOP PHOTO: Cornell Jordan (right) prays with a student in Africa.
LOWER PHOTO: Cassandra Leavell is engaging in more ministry, including preaching.