Pastor Frederick Haynes Talks Leadership, Supporting His Community and Fighting Social Injustice
Frederick Haynes III had more in common with his father and grandfather than just being named after them. Despite losing such influential figures at a tender age, these nurturing relationships still helped shape the person he is today. Their legacies would later inspire Haynes to want to help make a difference. Like the two generations before him, he would also become a pastor.
Along with family ties, Haynes was also inspired by activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman. He reflects on how all of these positive influences helped define his calling in life.
"Let me evaluate my own experiences, my own education, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, the gifts that God has blessed me with, and how those gifts can best be used," he said. "And all of that was done in a context of meditation, reflection, and prayer. And that's when it came to me that the ministry was the calling that my life was going to pursue."
Haynes shares what he feels are the attributes of an effective leader.
"I think I can quote Cornel West here," he explains. "He said you can't lead the people if you don't love the people. You cannot save the people if you don't serve the people. And that right there, I think encompasses what it means to be effective. You have to love people. You will not be an effective leader if you don't genuinely in your heart love people. And that love is a verb that will result in service."
Also, he believes having a strong sense of self is important. According to Haynes, this will prevent a person from allowing others or their occupation to form an identity for them.
He reflects on how history offers examples of preachers and the ways they've impacted lives beyond the walls of a church.
"And so we still have a responsibility to fight for freedom, to fight for justice. We still have a responsibility to transform the communities that we find ourselves in," he said.
His sense of responsibility in the fight for justice was put to the test when a Blue Lives Matter rally made an unauthorized stop on the grounds of his church, Friendship-West Baptist Church.
"And so I thought this was a bad joke until the police chief called me and said we hear some white supremacists are in your parking lot," he recalls. "Yet to give you context, they had sent a Black person to the church earlier in the week, and they claimed that this Black person claimed that there was one of those car clubs, truck clubs, I should say. And this truck club was going to be riding through the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. And they wanted to use our parking lot as a site."
In August of 2020, this negative situation brought the community together and spurred a Black Lives Matter ride-in, which was led by Haynes and consisted of 1500 participating vehicles. Hundreds of people also gathered to register to vote and become involved in the 2020 Census.
Along with these endeavors, Haynes was also a part of the "Your Ballot, Your Vote: Black Men Do Vote" webinar. He participated in a series of Zoom calls to help guide Black men through the voting process.
Apart from his involvement in encouraging the Black community to vote and actively participating in social justice movements like Black Lives Matter, Haynes also believes in supporting and developing Black businesses. He shares his philosophy on how a church can guide the community.
"In our ministries, we have to create the kind of climate where a person can see the relationship between Jesus and justice, between personal piety and public policy," he said. "We have to create the kind of climate wherein people understand that there is no dichotomy between spiritual anointing and social activism."
And with all Haynes has accomplished thus far, he is still making strides to support marginalized communities in the current political climate. He recalls a statement made by President Biden during one of his speeches.
"During his acceptance speech, he said, the Black community has always had my back, and I'm going to have your back," Haynes said. "Well, we have a responsibility to define how that looks. We can not allow him to tell us what it means to have our back. We've got to tell him what that looks like and what that means."
Despite the current pandemic, Friendship-West Baptist Church continues to be actively involved in community engagement.
"So we've had to adopt the slogan that the church isn't closed," he states. "The church has been redeployed, and so we're doing church differently as we do it virtually while trying to keep our members safe. We've been trying to serve as a resource center for information."
Besides keeping the community informed, the church supports the homeless and serves fresh produce weekly from the community garden to countless people. Friendship-West Baptist Church has also helped secure the internet in areas of the community with limited or no access. Presently he is planning to challenge the unregulated power grid dilemma Texas is facing. Under Haynes' leadership, the church remains a beacon of light in these dark times.