Lead Pastor – Dr. Degrando Franks, Jr
Born in Hollywood FL, third generation Church of God minister and is the son of Bishop Degrando Franks Sr. & Helen Franks. Bishop Franks Jr. married his college sweetheart April 4, 1981 and is the father of three children. He is also the grandfather of five granddaughters.
Dr. Franks currently serves as the Lead Pastor of Lakewood Community Church of God in Brandon FL since 2015, and previously Lead Pastor at North Metropolitan Church of God, Longwood FL since 2009. Prior to this assignment, Dr. Franks was Lead Pastor of International Harvest Center Church of God, Tampa FL where he served with distinction for 12 years.
Dr. Franks is the President and Founder of COPE Inc. (Community Organization to Promote Empowerment). COPE Inc. is responsible for feeding over one million hot meals in a ten year period. Cope Inc. partners with other non-profits in disaster relief throughout the state of Florida. He currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Christian Business Connection of Brandon, and was just appointed to the Brandon Chamber of Commerce to serve as Director of Diversity Business Planning.
First Lady – Cathy Franks
Cathy Franks, a Native New Yorker, was born and raised on Long Island, NY in the town of Wyandanch.
Reverend Clyde Stutts – Executive Pastor
Michele Kinser- Stutts – Singles Director
Jorgie Franks-Bell -Director of Christian Education
Daughter of Pastors Degrando and Cathy Franks, Jorgie has been serving the Lord since age 8. She has cleaned bathrooms, knocked on doors, sang on the Praise Team and served as a youth pastor. She is also an accomplished author, having written and collaborated on 3 books. Jorgie is a sought-after speaker and consistently facilitates meetings, conferences and meet-ups to empower women entrepreneurs.
She works as Membership Coordinator at The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce and is the mother to 2 wonderful girls. She is also a newlywed, having married Marvin Bell this year.
Marvin Smith Bell – Trustee
A native of both Tampa and Philly, Marvin is a huge Tampa Bay Bucaneers fan. He is the host of “Buc Talk with Coach Bell” on Facebook. Additionally, he is the Site Administrator/Principal at Mendez Exceptional Center within the Hillsborough County School system. Marvin obtained his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University.
A Trustee of Lakewood Community Church of God, Marvin strives to serve in the Lord by working hard and being faithful to the Lord, Bishop Franks and the church. He supports each in order to help them successfully reach all of their goals. Father to 4 beautiful children, he is a newlywed, having married Jorgie Franks-Bell in January 2017.
Otis Franklin – Director of Music
Born in Ft. Pierce, FL, Otis has been serving in the Music Ministry for the past 20 years. Saved at 14 years old, he has been serving the Lord within both the Community (serving on the Board of his local Community Development Board).
While not serving in the church, Otis works as a Medical Claims Adjuster. He and his wife, Joi, have been married 14 years and have two children.
Joi Franklin – Nursery Leader
Born in Georgia and saved at age 12, Joi has been ministering before the Lord since 16 years old. She is currently pursuing a Nursing degree, in addition to already having several other degrees under her belt.
She is the CEO of her home and enjoys taking care of her two beautiful children with Pastor Otis. They have been married 14 years.
Joi serves wherever there is a need in the ministry.
Shequila Malcolm – Creative Administrator
Shequila Malcolm is the Creative Administrator at Lakewood Community Church of God. At an early age, Shequila knew her calling in life was to assist helping others in the community as well as mentoring youth. She volunteered at community recreation centers teaching dance and crafts. Shequila started a mentoring program for young girls ages 5-18 to teach them about self love and confidence, as well as creating an online boutique.
However, she still felt there was more she was to do to serve the Lord. She decided to stop pursuing her dream for her life and fulfill her true purpose and join a church ministry that wants to save souls. She is a devoted wife and mother and ready and willing to lead the new generation.
Veronica Peterson- Church Administrator
Veronica Peterson is the church Clerk & Notary of Lakewood Community Church of God and is a native of Tampa, Fl. She spent a vast majority of her life attending a Missionary Baptist Church. She is a proud mother of two beautiful girls.
For the past 15 years she has worked as a Career Counselor assisting low-income families getting back into the work force. She has been completing personal income tax returns for the past 20 years. And, she has achieved her Master in Public Administration and Business Administration.
Martha Ocasio – Hospitality & Website Administrator
Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to the US at a young age. Having grown up as an Army brat led her to live in Germany, where she was saved at age 18. Diving into ministry headfirst, she served as a Ministry Leader in worship, Nursery and Youth ministries in Texas. She later moved to Tampa, Florida in 1998, where she gave birth to her daughter.
She received her undergraduate degree in Marketing in 2009 and is passionate about supporting the local community through community volunteerism and church service. Currently starting up her own professional organization business, she enjoys helping others Create Order from Chaos. When she’s not busy helping others, she spends time with her Papillon, Chica, and 18 year old daughter. She is currently working on her Masters in Business Administration.