HOUSTON – Courageous, passionate, and prepared are three words that D.Z. Cofield, pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, feels that his congregation would use to best describe him. Pastor Cofield was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in the lower city of Manhattan. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, a Master’s degree in Theology at the Dallas Theological Seminary and obtained a Doctor of Ministry from Faith Evangelical Seminary in Tacoma, Washington.
Pastor Cofield has been pastoring Good Hope since April of 1994. This is his 4th church to pastor. The first church was in New York, the second church was located in Chester, Pennsylvania, and third church was in Dallas, Texas. He first started preaching in October of 1981 and has been pastoring on and off since 1983.
He is also the founder of Hope for Families, Inc., a non-profit “committed to rebuilding communities one family at a time, and the Hope Educational District, an organization that provides creative and innovative educational strategies for urban communities.” Pastor Cofield has received many awards and has written for many Christian publications. He also “hosts a weekly news and public affairs radio show on KTSU 90.9 FM in Houston, TX called Real World, Real Talk, where he discusses current events and issues people are dealing with in our world, and has a television broadcast, Word of Hope Ministries, that is on every Sunday through Friday on The KUBE, providing daily inspiration and insight from The Word of God.”
The events that led him to become a pastor was his father acknowledging and accepting his call to the ministry and setting that example in front of him. It was also seeing his parent’s involvement in the community and working to help people, which was inspirational to him, and which helped him move in the direction he is currently in. “I really felt an unction from God, and really felt that sense that, that was my purpose, my calling, that this is where God wanted me to be,” he expressed. He further illustrated, “To feel really comfortable there, I wasn’t comfortable in other places that I tried to be with things I thought I would do. I never found that fulfillment or peace there. I never felt like I was in the right place. Whether I was studying law or philosophy or economics, and while all of those things come to play in what I do, I never thought those were the foundational places for my life, or the places I needed to operate out of or operate from.
Pastoring a church is never an easy task and Pastor Cofield thinks that “the shifts in the times that we live in and recognizing that each generation presents its own cultural nuances” are some of the challenges he faces. And with that challenge, he has to be knowledgeable and aware of it, if he’s going to effectively minister to that generation. “When you look at society and see the number of changes that have taken place. Some of the most obvious changes is technology, but what we also need to take into account that with those technological changes, people are being exposed to situations and circumstances and information at a much earlier age than they were years ago. So how does that affect children and youth and how they grow up, think, and see the world, and how do you use those tools to help serve this present age?”
One thing that has worked for Pastor Cofield is just remaining true to himself, and never trying to be someone else. The second thing that has been effective for him, is just loving people where they are. “Recognizing that when people see things differently than I may see it, or think about the world differently, it’s not good or bad, it’s just different. So, when its different how can I meet people where they are to help them become all that God wants them to be. That for me has been a strategy that has worked and certainly well in my current pastoring,” he expressed.
The greatest accomplishment that Pastor Cofield has experienced is always seeing people do better and become better, and to become encouraged and inspired to be the best they can be. He stated, “Whenever I see someone who is at one place in life and through the preaching and teaching, and through encouragement and love, to see them go to the next level in their life, it is really exciting.” He gave examples such as a person who is committed to becoming a better husband or wife, a better mother or father, or maybe to better their status in life like going back to school. Or to see children and families to walk across the stage and be the first in their families to get a high school diploma or a college degree. Illustrating that, “those are ground breaking and glass breaking moments, and those excite me because I know that they are changing the trajectory of their family literally for the rest of that family’s life, and for me, that is tremendously exciting.”
The legacy that Pastor Cofield wants to leave behind is for people to feel like their life is better because they came in contact with him. He wants them to be challenged, encouraged, and inspired to be the best person they can be because they came in contact with him. “I have a simple philosophy at the church that I tell all of the new members I meet with, which is that they aren’t at the church to make me a big preacher, I am at the church to make them a big Christian. At the end of my life, I hope they can say that my life is better because they came in contact with me, and in return I hope they can make other people better.”
What Pastor Cofield is passionate about now is public education. “I think public education is the number one civil rights issue that we have to address,” he expressed. He further stated, “When you look at the social ills in our society, many of them are tied to a lack of education. Whether it is unemployment, homelessness, or incarceration, the mass of them are undereducated and unemployable. We are going to have to address it and for those whose children are grown and for those who don’t have children, are going to have to fight for future generations.”
Pastor Cofield was really excited about the opportunity to come to Houston impart because he thinks Houston is a city that has a tremendous place already in our country and has tremendous potential to do many great things. Houston has tremendous opportunities to set the tone for the rest of the US and the world. “My hope is I can do my share, my part during my season in Houston to be a better city than when I found it to help impact and influence the world.”