By Mark Ellis –
After former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson left his position as president of basketball operations for the L.A. Lakers he will spend more time ministering at his church and in the community.
“I wanted to get more involved with my church and working with Bishop Blake,” Johnson told The Associated Press (AP). “When you think about his spiritual vision and plan, as well as what he had in mind in terms of his business plan for the Crenshaw corridor, it’s in line with what I’ve been doing in my business. I share his vision and want to just work with him and for him to see how we can improve the community.”
Johnson and his wife Cookie have been members of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ led by Bishop Charles E. Blake for 20 years.
Recently, Johnson advised the church on the sale of some its properties. The proceeds will enable the church to build a family life center for its 20,000 weekly attendees. The church also paid the off the mortgage on its cathedral with the sale and was able to establish a financial reserve.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment itself that an African-American pastor, a bishop can say to us as a community and congregation that, ‘we own our church,’” Johnson told AP. “I think what you’ll see is that others will follow.’”
Johnson is attracted by the idea that many community services will be established because of the family life center. “When he asked me to help out, I was very willing to do that and to advise him and the other members that he chose to make sure they were making the right decisions and moves.”
Johnson’s involvement at the church and his relationship with Bishop Blake have helped him grow in his faith.
On a recent Sunday, Johnson stated he now prays more and wants to spend more time with people of faith. “It’s truly a blessing when you know what direction you’re going in,” said Magic. “It’s such a change for me because now when I go to speak to corporations, I lead off by praising the Lord…You can touch somebody else to praise the Lord.”
Johnson has worked with Bishop Blake and the church on several other projects. He helped with relief efforts for cities hit by hurricanes and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey. Johnson has also worked in conjunction with the church’s men’s ministry to help strengthen inner-city men, boys, and families, according to the church’s website.
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