In November of 1999, Elder Dennis Westbrook became the Pastor of Greater Deliverance Tabernacle Holiness Church. Under his Pastorship the foundation of love continues to be a focal point in the expansion of the vision for the ministry. It was through Pastor Westbrook’s persistence in seeking God for the direction of the ministry that it was revealed and confirmed that it would be necessary for the name of the ministry to change so that it would reflect where the ministry was going.
From the inception of his tenure, Pastor Westbrook has modeled his care for the congregation after the example of David caring for his father’s sheep. It is with this care that he began to further expand the ministry’s love focus through action. Partnerships were formed with The Neighborhood Christian Center and Global Men & Women’s Mission in addition to the adoption of Vance Middle School, which provided further support to the community.
He, too, saw the importance of providing support and encouragement to those desiring to better themselves and challenged the members to seek God on how the ministry could do this in a greater way. From this was the birthing of C. L. Ratliff & Company, which was founded in 2007. This program provides preparation for college and training on how to become successful professionals to high school students from around the city and other states.
In 2003 the Lord led Pastor Westbrook to attend Pastor Tommy Barnett's Pastoral Training Conference in Outreach Ministry through the Dream Center Church. After attending that conference, he left with new inspiration and Spirit-filled ideas for changes and vision for the ministry. One of the things that he learned was that the message doesn't change, but the method has to change to reach the next generation. To break with tradition, he took the daring step to tear down the choir stand and transform the pulpit into an expanded tool for ministry. This created a platform for theatrical productions to come forth such as From Africa to the World: The Journey of a People, which highlights our rich African heritage. It has drawn pioneers in the civil rights movement to come and share their story, such as Revered Samuel Billy Kyles-a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was right by his side when that fatal shot was fired, Reverend James Netters-the first black City Councilman, Reverend Lasimba Gray, and State Representative Mrs. Johnnie Turner to name a few. In an effort to present the gospel in a form that connected with the community, The Urban Passion theatrical production was birthed. Through this production a parade was created that provided an opportunity for the members of “The Greater” to bring ministry to the front yards and sometimes even the front door of surrounding neighbors. This has become an annual event that the community looks forward to each year.
This transformation has enabled the ministry to host concerts with award winning artists in the Christian community, such as Mr. Del, Canton Jones, Cross Movement, DaTruth and LeCrae. Also, in 2004 through the Lord’s guidance, Pastor Westbrook expanded the Annual Friends' Day service started by founding Bishop Clithiel Ratliff to the Friends of Faith Outreach Conference. Dynamic generals in the faith, such as Pastor Sammy Holloway, Dr. Nasir Sadikki, Pastor Tommy Barnett and Dr. Bill Winston have all participated in this life changing conference. Pastor Westbrook has also received training from some of the body of Christ's great leaders and training institutions, such as Dr. I. V. Hillard, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Dr. Bill Winston and Rhema Bible Training College.
It is out of Pastor Westbrook’s desire to share God’s love with the world that he began the Friday Night street ministry outreach where the members of “The Greater” go out into the community and connect one-on-one with our neighbors. He is confident that there are diamonds within the world imprisoned by sin that need only to experience the Love of God. For through the expansion of this vision under Pastor Westbrook’s leadership we will be true agents of action showing God’s love in a greater way.
Co-Pastor Vernita Westbrook is a native Memphian who has worked in ministry for over 40 years. She received Christ at an early age, and her mother noticed she was gifted to predict future events. Her mother, Clithiel Ratliff, realized the prophetic call upon her life and began to cultivate this gift with much prayer and study in the word. Her mother would often call her the eagle eye prophet because she was very observant, especially to the things of God. Co- Pastor Vernita began helping her mother with her God assigned ministry of starting a Youth Bible Study for the community.
Evangelist Ratliff, Vernita and two sisters served faithfully in Holy Temple C.O.G.I.C. under the leadership of Pastor G.E. Patterson. For years, Co-Pastor received Christian training, enjoyed working with young people and believed she had found her calling in life. Her sister started a singing group named after Elder Patterson called the Pattersonetts, and they traveled to many destinations singing before the pastor would preach, eventually producing a successful recording.
After years of working in the ministry, sanctioned by her Pastor, Evangelist Ratliff started a Monday night prayer meeting in her home. Co-Pastor Vernita was right there learning all she could about the word of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit. Souls were being saved, healed and delivered.
One day the Lord spoke to Evangelist Ratliff and told her he had seen her dedication and faithfulness in directing souls to different ministries and building congregations. Now God instructed her to start Greater Deliverance Tabernacle Holiness Church, now known as Greater Love Miracle Center Church. Co-Pastor Vernita was one of the founding members, serving as Sunday School Teacher, establishing the choir and Youth Department.
She had a love for fashion design, and her goal was to own an exclusive dress store. Determined to make her mark in the fashion industry, Co- Pastor began preparation for this dream by entering the workforce as a seamstress, working diligently for seven years at a well-established clothing company within the city of Memphis.
One day while seeking the presence of God, the Holy Spirit said, "Put your dreams on hold, and I'll make you a designer of souls." She yielded her plans to the will of God and dedicated herself to empowering, and encouraging the people of God. She firmly believes in winning the lost at any cost. Co-Pastor has had ministry training under such leaders as Dr. Creflo Dollar, Bishop I. V. Hillard, Dr. Nasir Siddiki, Dr. Bill Winston and through Rhema Bible College.
Time passed, and she married a dedicated man of God, Pastor Dennis A. Westbrook Sr. With this union, they were blessed with four children, Andrea, Alisha, Dennis Jr. and Denita. She serves alongside with him as Co-Pastor at Greater Love Miracle Center Church. She is Assistant Church Director, Women's Advisor, Perfecting Class Instructor, Assistant Membership Director and Musical Director.
Co-Pastor Verntia Westbrook is known as a true prophetess and one that empowers and encourages everyone she encounters. She considers supporting her husband in marriage, family, and ministry vital to fulfilling God's vision for their lives. Her favorite quote is "What you will make happen for others, God will make happen for you."