About Us


Lead Pastor – Dr. Degrando Franks, Jr.

Degrando-FranksBorn 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.

Cathy has been a Pastor’s wife a great part of her married life.  She and her husband, Degrando, currently pastor the  Lakewood Community Church of God in Brandon, FL.  They have been married 36 years in April. They have 3 beautiful children and have 5 grandchildren.
She is also a contributing author to the 2017 Women’s Book Study in collaboration with The Church of God Florida Women’s Ministries. Additionally, Cathy serves as the Director of Women’s Ministries at Lakewood Community Church in Brandon, Florida.

Reverend Clyde Stutts – Executive Pastor

Clyde is an ordained minister and has served in the ministry for almost forty years in the areas of: Outreach, Youth, and as Senior Pastor. Clyde recently completed his Master’s in Christian Counselling. In 1999, he began Flying For Joy, a non-profit organization which has assisted various ministries in all aspects of outreach.
From 2003 to 2005, he was the Florida Disaster Relief Coordinator for Operation Blessing, International (The 700 Club). In 2005, Compassion Tampa (now Compassion Worldwide) was formed and he has spearheaded the efforts of that organization since then.
Pastor Clyde and his wife Michele were most recently on staff at Riverhills Church of God in Tampa, FL as the Outreach and Singles Pastors for over 10+ years. Pastor Clyde and Michele are extremely pleased to be serving in ministry again with the Bishop who married them thirteen years ago.

Michele Kinser- Stutts – Singles Director

Originally from St. Louis Missouri, Michele now resides with her husband Clyde and grandchildren in Plant City, FL. Michele currently serves as the Administrative Assistant to Bishop Degrando Franks Jr. and ministers as the churches Singles Director.
Michele comes to Lakewood CCOG following 38-years of marketing in the corporate world, and serving 19-years as Singles Pastor at Riverhills Church of God in Tampa, FL.
Her fondest joy is to watch God change the lives of singles and single parents as they begin to draw nearer to Him. Michele loves encouraging people and sharing The Word of God with those the Lord puts in her path. Michele has three children and five grandchildren.

Jorgie Franks-Bell -Director of Christian Education

Daughter of Pastors Degrando and Cathy Franks, Jorgie, also known as “The Goal Girl” 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. In addition, she runs her own coaching business. She is also a newlywed, having married Marvin Bell last year.

Additionally, Jorgie is an author, having written numerous books including “You Goal Girl” and “Fueled by Greatness.”


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.


Patty Wolfgang – Director of Children’s Ministries

Patty Wolfgang is the Director of Children’s Ministries at Lakewood Community of God. She is a native of Boyertown, Pennsylvania and is a mother of two boys, one of who is serving in the United States Military.

In addition to working full-time at Weichert Realtors, Patty is extremely involved in community events, serving within the Diversity Council at the local Brandon Chamber of Commerce.

Patty is also an avid volunteer, giving her time to many charitable organizations such as Metropolitan Ministries during the Holidays, helping families in need. Additionally, she is active in a number of causes, including the Children’s Ministry at Lakewood CCOG, where she hopes to impact the future leaders of tomorrow.

Shequila Malcolm – Creative Director

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, A Gurl Led by Faith.

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 Masters in Public Administration and Business Administration.

Veronica is also an entrepreneur, establishing her business VMP Enterprise, LLC, a credit repair and restoration company.

Martha Ocasio – Social Media Director

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.