Joe Henderson is nineteen years old. While many Americans his age would be spending their time hanging out with friends, taking college classes, skateboarding, listening to music, or perhaps drinking, Joe prays, reads the Bible, attends the Deliverance Bible Institute, and focuses on developing his relationship with his Lord Jesus Christ. Joe has been living at the Pentecostal Christian church, Deliverance Center, since December of 2010, when he first moved to Portland, Maine from Oklahoma. Immersed in this faith and this community, Joe is asked to trust his pastor, his church community, and God as he trudges down the difficult path of following his Lord and Savior.
Founded in 1967 by Reverend James Reynolds, Sr., the Deliverance Center was established as a “Bible believing church,” whose members believe that the Bible is literal, rather than literary. The church was designed to help in the transformation and redemption of drug addicts and alcoholics, and provides housing for men who need a safe place to stay or who, like Joe, seek to submerge their lives in the Lord. In 1969, the pastor established the educational institution that Joe attends, creating the Deliverance Bible Institute, a three-year undergraduate program. As Brother Reynolds has aged, his son, Stephen Reynolds, Sr., now provides most of the church’s leadership, preaches most sermons, and is the authority figure in Joe’s earthly life.
This project explores Joe’s journey in his relatively new relationship with Jesus as well as his role in the church community. By completely putting his faith in God and devoting his life to Jesus, Joe is giving up what these born-again Christians consider a life “in the natural” (something that is earthbound), and focusing on what God asks of humans as the Bible literally instructs.