Bishop O.C. Allen rides in on a horse

Openly Gay Bishop O.C. Allen III has never been one to think inside the box or afraid of controversy.  From starting with an open and affirming church in the deep south, marrying and naming a first gentlemen and adopting two children all in the public eye, I think we can all agree that Bishop Allen “Ain’t Scared to go there!”

It appears that Bishop Allen often utilizes his creative gifts to push people’s buttons.

Most recent, Bishop Allen, mounted and rode a horse down the aisle during  his New Years Ever Service as a sermon illustration: (Now that is really out of the box Chile!)

The main point of his sermon was:

 “Your vision should be like a wild horse that broke out of the gate! Don’t waste time. Stop making excuses. Do something out of the box in 2015!”

While clearly from the video his congregation and visitors loved the illustration, the internet was abuzz with a less favorable response.  So much that it sparked The Bishop to issue the following statement on Facebook :

“To all CREATIVE and INNOVATIVE leaders and people, communicate God’s truth with passion, innovation and creativity! Every New Years Eve service, at the end of the sermon, I use an illustration to further communicate the the Gospel.

The 2014 sermon was, “Break Out the Gate!” (John 8:36). 15 seconds of the sermon illustration has received great attention for which I am proud! However, the sermon points before the illustration are most important! Here they are: (1) in 2015, STOP WASTING TIME! (2) in 2015, NO MORE EXCUSES! (3) in 2015, LET YOUR VISION OUT OF THE GATE!

At the end of the sermon I mounted a thoroughbred horse to illustrate “let your vision out of the gate!” It was effective and I am honored to have a congregation and leaders who fully embrace creative approaches to communicating The Gospel! I pray that you will do just what the sermon illustrated!

Take the limits off in 2015! This is your season to let your vision, creativity, innovation, gifts and calling out of the gate! Create opportunities, create inspiration, create educational opportunities for our youth, create a space for health and wellness and create a better world around you! Remember, some people will not understand you, but God will send those who will invest in you!

Your assignment is to follow God no matter what! So, break down every barrier that stands in the way of your CREATIVITY, GIFTS and INNOVATION. Master your focus not focus on your fears. Now break out of the gate! A creative communicator.”

About Bishop Allen: source

Bishop O.C. Allen III is the Founder/Senior Pastor of The Vision Church of Atlanta. He is CEO of The Vision Community Foundation Inc., an organization designed to provide accessible social services for under-served populations. Additionally, he is the Presiding Bishop of  the United Progressive Pentecostal Church Fellowship, a fellowship of ministries and leaders, created to nurture and support visionary leadership. A uniquely gifted, creative and profound orator, he is a highly sought after, charismatic preacher, motivational speaker, lecturer, singer, writer and human rights advocate with a burden to equip and empower people to transform the world. Known for his “uncensored” and “down to earth” preaching style, Bishop Allen has the ability to relate to people from diverse backgrounds, specifically focusing on emotional healing and restoring the spiritual authority of the believer.

A native of southern California, Bishop Allen has vast experience in urban ministry which has afforded him ministry opportunities throughout the United States and abroad. As an international evangelist, he has spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Central Europe and West Africa. His political and theological evolution over the years has focused his ministry on addressing miscellaneous forms of oppression within communities positioned on the margins of society, the spiritual and social impact it has on the lives of hurting people and the psychological and spiritual liberation needed to move people into their destiny.

In 2003, after over 20 years of preaching and urban ministry, Bishop Allen sensed a divine call of God to create a place of refuge and empowerment for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, affectional orientation, class or background. This place would be  called “The Vision Church”.  In the fall of 2004, Bishop Allen began developing and training leaders to initiate birthing this refuge. Since its inception, many are calling The Vision Church “one of the South’s fastest growing Churches” or “Atlanta’s new progressive Pentecostal movement”. The Vision Church of Atlanta has become a multiracial, welcoming and affirming, Pentecostal Church experiencing explosive growth since its inception. In 5-1/2 years, The Vision Church has grown from 12 committed people to more than 3000 members and more than 50 active ministries, including children, youth & young adult ministries, counseling services, community food and clothing bank, senior ministries, and much more.  Each Wednesday, The Bread of Life Ministry (an outreach ministry of The Vision Church) feeds over 12,000 individuals annually in downtown Atlanta. Intentional about providing education and resources for the community, The Vision Church provides on site medical testing and counseling on a monthly basis. Heralded in a BET documentary as “Atlanta’s new alternative to homophobia and identity oppression in the Black Church”, Bishop Allen and The Vision Church has been transforming Atlanta’s “Church culture” to become more inclusive and influencing all people to live not just spiritually but authentically.

In addition to his pastoral duties, Bishop Allen resides in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia along with his life partner, Rashad Burgess and two children, Caylee Burgess-Allen and Joshua Burgess-Allen.  He currently studies at Harvard University, Harvard Extension Studies division in Cambridge, MA, where in conjunction with studies in Religion, he also pursues degrees in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources. He previously matriculated at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland where he studied Philosophy and Religion. Overseer Allen is a member of Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Lambda Delta intellectual societies. He works with numerous national, civic and social organizations focused on Economic and Community Development, Social Justice, Human Rights advocacy and HIV/AIDS testing and education. These organizations include; The Atlanta Branch of the NAACP, Operation Rainbow Push Coalition, People for the American Way, Regional Council of Churches of Atlanta Inc., The Center for American Progress, Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc., The National Black Justice Coalition, HRC (The Human Rights Campaign), United for Peace and Justice, The Coalition on Human Needs and The Equality Forum. Bishop Allen is currently working on his first book to be released in the very near future.