Thursday, December 06, 2007

AJC Article: Snapshot: 'Eclectic' style for new church

The following article about Paramount Church appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday, December 1st:

For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/01/07

Mission statement

The following list of statements is Paramount's creed:

> People are more important than things.

> The need is always the call.

> Irrelevance is irreverence.

> We live to learn and we live to teach.

> The faithful man gets the blessing.

> Simply, excellence is our minimum standard.

> Everything is an experiment.

> We are optimal in being missional.

> Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.

> Character defines, not personality.


Rowland and his wife moved from Valdosta to plant, or start from scratch, the Assembly of God congregation in south Atlanta. "After pulling into a Morrow shopping area, Karen and I both looked at each other and said, 'This is it', " he said. "Once we were approved to be church planters, our house sold in three days. God really blessed us in that."

Preview meetings were held in February before the Sept. 15 inaugural service. The match of Paramount and Glad Tidings "is a perfect union," he said. "We use their facility on Saturdays, and I attend their staff meetings on Tuesdays. Our churches are similar but different. His church is mostly white with a few black people, and our church right now is mostly white with a few black people, but we want to be more multicultural."

Pastor's path

The Middle Georgia native graduated from Valdosta State University with a telecommunications degree in 1994. He stayed in the South Georgia town and served in intercity ministry for 10 years at the Rock Church (formerly Evangel Assembly of God).

Rowland's wife, Karen, a native of the Bahamas, works as a professor of community counseling at Clark Atlanta University. They have a 1-year-old son and a 19-year-old, whom Rowland began parenting at age 8.

"He was a little boy I met through inner-city ministry. His mom came up to me one day and said, 'I can't do anything with him.' He was in second grade and about to be kicked out of school. I said I'd help her. What was supposed to be two weeks ended up being a lifetime now," said Rowland, who never legally adopted the boy. "I just had the privilege of raising him."

The Rowlands settled in south Atlanta, figuring it would be a welcoming community for the interracial couple. They became involved in Apartment Life as a CARES team, organizing outings and gatherings for the apartment residents.

"I've done everything from helping people fix their computers to taking their kids to school," said the 34-year-old. "It's our heart's desire to reach out to international people."

That desire extends to the church family as well. Paramount's "eclectic" services blend hip-hop with contemporary worship to reach a multicultural audience.


The primary focus for the young church in the early stages has been marketing and communications to introduce area residents to Paramount Church. "We believe the greatest message deserves the greatest marketing. We tell our people that Paramount Church is like a tag team. You bring them in and during that one hour we take over, and tag it back to you, so when you leave, you continue that friendship with them," the pastor said.

Even in these early stages, Rowland is discovering a strong need to create ministries for children and youth. Since a majority of the folks living in the area are single and many are parents, Rowland wants to cultivate a supportive environment.

"We're joining hands with them to make a difference to their children," he said. "We want that one hour to be the best hour of their week. "

The pastor has a "digital discipleship" outreach through his blog (, where he expounds on his sermons or just shares daily activities.

Thoughts from the pastor

"People are more important than things. I've taken on that as my motto. We want to be a place where people feel welcome, where they feel that they're the most important things. Our responsibility is to be a light and be a friend to sinners. Karen and I take that very seriously."


Mailing address is 707 Landing Pointe, Stockbridge, GA 30281. Services held at Glad Tidings Church, 2560 Ga. 138 East, Jonesboro, GA 30236.

Phone: 678-448-2058

Web site:

Services: 6 p.m. Saturday

Worship style: Contemporary progressive

Average attendance: 35

Minister: Jason Rowland

Denomination affiliation: Assembly of God;