City Church of New Orleans is a vibrant and diverse church located in New Orleans, Louisiana. City Church has a mandate to reach the City of New Orleans and the next generation.
Their dynamic worship services focus on the powerful preaching of the simplicity of Christ as well as hosting an atmosphere of God’s presence that attracts Miracles, Signs, and Wonders. They approach each weekend gathering with great expectation for what God will do in the lives of those who come to worship. Their vision is to see every person Reaching up to God and out to others, belonging to family, growing in Christ’s image, and giving generously.
Dr. Owen McManus, Jr. is the presiding Bishop of City Church of New Orleans. The vision that has motivated Dr. McManus for over 30 years in ministry has been to lead a church that matters! To make a significant spiritual impact on the city’s wellbeing through discipling the next generation, building strong marriages and families, and demonstrating the supernatural power of God to save, heal and set free.
The apostolic call on his life has taken him to many countries of the world preaching in mass crusades as well as imparting apostolic truths to church leaders and establishing sound biblical governance.
Signs and wonders have accompanied this ministry with miracles of every kind including God raising his eldest daughter Alexandra from the dead.
Bishop McManus oversees a wide spectrum of ministries at City Church including a vibrant school, Bishop McManus Academy, founded in 1975 and City College, established in 2006 with a specific vision of raising up spiritual sons and daughters to impact their world in response to the call of God on their lives.
Bishop McManus has been married for 28 years to pastor Tammy and together they have four children – Alexandra, Brooke, Liam, and Olivia.
In light of COVID-19, what lifestyle, habit, or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?
Ironically at the very beginning of the year before COVID-19, I met with my pastoral team and talked with them about “cutting out the fluff” so that we – and the church – could be more focused on doing ministry unto the Lord. Lo and behold, shortly after that meeting, COVID-19 hit, and this forced us to do only what’s most important.
We adjusted the pace of the church. We’ve focused on prayer, Sunday services and our Belong Groups since the beginning of COVID-19, rather than planning for events.
My personal priorities before the pandemic are still my priorities now: my relationship with God, my relationship with my family and my health. What has changed is that I’ve learned to pace myself better.
Of course, my first priority was and still is prayer because that’s about my relationship with the Lord. I’ve dedicated even more intentional time in prayer this year. I spend more time with my family. I’m more deliberate regarding my health, with exercise and eating healthy.
Instead of being driven to “get it done”, I stop and smell the coffee. I have a more consistent and slower pace rather than always being in overdrive, like Aesop’s fable: The Tortoise and The Hare. I’m choosing to be the tortoise and not the hare.
I’ve learned and am learning to accomplish more by doing less.
As a leader, when you feel discouraged, what do you do?
The importance of rest. I never make any significant decisions when I’m tired. Discouragement can lead to being tired, and I don’t make any significant decisions when tired.
I don’t mean rest like I’m going to crawl in the bed and do nothing. There’s a physical rest that’s important, and there’s also a “rest” in God. Both are important.
I’ll stay discouraged if I stay around negativity. I also have to silence the voices of negativity and be around voices of positivity.
As an educator, what advice would you give an intelligent, ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should that graduate ignore?
Making sure of knowing and following the plan of God, His destiny and purpose for your life, ultimately is the only thing that will fulfill you.
We can get caught up in many things, lots of striving to achieve tangible success. Sometimes we find our path after making some wrong decisions, but only God’s plan can give true inner satisfaction.
Be careful of being motivated by instant gratification. Ignore the world’s standard(s) of success. True success is arriving at what God created you for.
When you know God’s plan, give it your all and work hard. Keep God first as Matthew 6:33 says, and don’t get involved in what’s not God’s plan. Seek good advice and godly counsel. If you’re planning to get married, then get the right one! Be patient, and don’t get ahead of the blessing.
What would you say to parents of young children who are struggling to manage the rapid changes that have come along with 2020?
We, as parents, create the atmosphere, perspective, and outlook in life for our children. You can actually make adapting to change a pleasurable thing in your home. Make it fun! This may require some extra effort. For example, if your kid needs a mask, then find a fun mask.
Get them outside. Find ways to offer them a release of all that energy.
Get creative and involved. Another example would be to have arts and crafts at home, making projects fun and as pleasurable as possible.
Stay steady with your value system, but adaptable. Philippians 4:11 encourages us to be content in whatever situation we find ourselves in, and we can help our children do this, too.
Have talks – lengthy ones, if needed – to help children understand what’s going on. Give them security, assurance, and a release from fear. Kids are much more adaptable and resilient than we may think.
Tammy and I have been cooking a lot more at home and getting the kids involved. This helps them feel like they’re participating in adapting to the changes, and they have fun with it.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
Overall and by far, my parents have been the biggest influence in my life.
From my dad, I learned perseverance, faith, believing God for the impossible, hard work, commitment, sacrificial giving, and the list goes on. He was so committed to the Lord.
I get my sense of style from my mom. She was such a fashionista! My mom loved the arts and travel. She was very well-rounded. My creative side and love of music and film definitely come from her.
Even though I know I’ve been called to the ministry, I may not be doing this – if not for Mom and Dad.
What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned? It can be personal or business-related.
There’s so many. How do you narrow it to one? Don’t hang around people who have less to lose than you.
When you’re going through difficulties, you learn who your real friends are. Difficult times reveal who people are to you. True friends rise in the difficult times. They walk with you and help you.
Not everyone has the capacity to be a real friend to you, and that’s okay. You’re the medium of your associates, and you learn to guard and be careful with your heart.
You’ll never get ahead in life without others who’ve been placed there by God.
What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?
Success ultimately is reaching your right destination, which has already been planned by God. It’s not in material gain.
To be successful, you have to commit to the plan and purpose of God. Know that commitment will be tested many times in your business, ministry, or whatever you’re pursuing. That same commitment will get you through the discouraging times. You’ll “live to die another day”.
How do you stay motivated?
My close relationship with the Lord keeps me motivated. It doesn’t allow me to stay in a place of despair or discouragement.
Disappointments are inevitable; however, my relationship with the Lord means that there’s new strength every morning, every day!
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
A legacy of faithfulness to the call of God, creating an incredible church in the City of New Orleans and around the world.
I’ve been blessed to do lots of things: travel, music, movies. I’d like to also leave a legacy of creativity in the church so that it stays fresh without stagnating.
When people remember me, I want them to remember that I was faithful. I want this to encourage them. If I did it, then they can, too! If I did it, then you can, too!