About Us

Leadership

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.

Veronica Peterson- Church Administrator

Veronica Peterson is the Church Administrator & 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.

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.

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.