On August 2, 2021, Rev. Jeffrey W. Benford, Sr., became Pastor-in-the-Interim of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC). This appointment followed the 11-year tenure of the Rev. Dr. Dante’ R. Quick, who served as FMBC’s Senior Pastor.
Born to southern transplants, Pastor Benford is a Bay Area native. While in elementary school, he recognized and accepted God’s invitation to eternal life and was baptized at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California. Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., Allen Temple nurtured Pastor Benford’s spiritual genius, encouraging him to discover his call to the Christian ministry. He was licensed to preach in 1990 and ordained in 1991.
Pastor Benford pursued his intellectual interests in language, human behavior, and scripture by earning a B.A. degree in English at Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA), an M.Div. degree in Biblical Studies at The Interdenominational Theological Center/Morehouse School of Religion (Atlanta, GA), and completing Ph.D. coursework in ethics, philosophy, and literature at Emory University (Atlanta, GA).
Professionally, before serving as Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Pastor Benford taught critical thinking at Clark-Atlanta University to religious students at both the undergraduate level at Morehouse College and at the graduate level at the Emory University Candler School of Theology. During his tenure in post-secondary education, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for excellence in teaching. He was also awarded a university fellowship at Emory University.
Pastor Benford has held positions at UC Berkeley in higher education and currently serves the Dean of Counseling and Student Support at Los Medanos College, with oversight for the college’s largest student support service departments with over 50 employees, including managers, staff, and instructional faculty.
As the senior executive spiritual leader of FMBC, Pastor Benford grounds his work in the Great Commandment (Matt 22:37-39, Christ’s directives to worship God and serve others) and the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20, Christ’s directives to be witnesses of God’s love, baptize believers, and promote the integration of faith and practice). For Pastor Benford, what Christ refers to as the “first and greatest commandment” (Matt 22:38), love, is the Churches unequaled asset and ultimate concern. He envisions that FMBC will expand its capacity to re-present God’s love as it becomes a “future focused” church, a congregation that embraces new leadership while holding to its rich tradition of life-impacting, socially relevant, and innovative ministry focused within and beyond the walls of FMBC.
A “gadget-man” and an eclectic music enthusiast, Pastor Benford has cultivated several passions, including – sewing (still quite a novice), humor, painting, photography, architecture, creative process, large bodies of water, biking, scenic views, and above these his love for Lisa, a disciple of Christ and a very gifted, soulful, and supportive wife. Together they have a beautiful blend of five adult children and two grandchildren.