Several years ago Jamaica came to know Junior Tucker as the sensational reggae crooner turned Christian artiste. Few however know that he is now an ordained Pastor who has served for over 15 years in various ministry capacities in churches in the United States and in November 2015 launched True Word and Worship Church in Kingston, Jamaica. The anointed preacher, pastor and worship leader is married to his lovely wife Trudy and the two have been blessed with 5 beautiful children – Chyna, Zoe, Paige, Laila and Judah. Family and Faith Magazine caught up with effervescent Tuckers to talk church and family life. Although they have countless joyous testimonies to share about the goodness of God, they have also had to weather excruciating experiences that have led them to put their trust fully in God’s sovereignty and His grace.
Foot-Stomping, Easygoing Church on a Friday
A typical Friday evening at True Word and Worship Church in New Kingston is always easygoing, energizing and relaxing all at the same time. With worship led by Pastor Tucker who is normally donned in jeans, sneakers and a long sleeve shirt, attendees can be seen on their feet singing and dancing in praise and eventually enthralled in heartfelt anointed worship. The worship session is followed by a practical sometimes hilarious sermon, prayer and oftentimes prophetic words for individuals who go to the altar for prayer. Parents can take their children along with them to church and experience a little break since in an adjacent room, all the kids are hosted by Trudy, a trained teacher by profession and her daughter Paige, a gentle mentor for the younger children. It’s certainly not typical to go to a full church service on a Friday night but the fun, fellowship and freedom are certainly what more and more people are searching for at the end of the work week. But how did the idea of planting a church come about?
Prior to returning to Jamaica, Pastor Tucker studied Theology and Psychology in the United States of America and served as Pastor, Preacher and Worship Leader in several churches. Through a series of prophetic words and his own sensing of God’s call on his life, Pastor Tucker was lead to return to his homeland to plant a church. Still, he admits that becoming a Pastor was never his plan. “If 13 or 14 years ago, you told me that I was going to be a pastor, I’d laugh… but the bible says that every step of a righteous man is ordered,” Tucker shared.
Explaining the meaning of the church’s motto No Perfect People Allowed, Pastor Tucker said, “One of the mistakes that we make is trying to get perfect before we come to church so I am saying no, come, we will help you towards perfection as we ourselves are being made perfect. So it is Christ who does the perfecting and he uses the church to do it.” He added that catering to the whole man is intentional in his ministry and that life application is a key approach used during his sermons.
Marriage and Family Life
Although Trudy, a trained teacher by profession, is a devoted behind –the-scenes supporter of Pastor Junior’s ministry, he wisely maintains that she is not married to his calling. “One of things you don’t want to do is to make someone feel that because they are married to the person they are also married to the calling. She (Trudy) is not married to my calling. Because what you don’t want her to do is now be in something that she is not called to do and is frustrated and then end up being miserable in our marriage and in our life,” shared Pastor Tucker, noting that this is why he specifically asks God for her specific calling so that her passion can also rise.
No doubt the Tuckers will continue to minister the word of God and the church will grow, but Family and Faith Magazine was keen to determine how they are managing family life, especially with the notion that Pastor’s kids are oftentimes wayward and troubled. Trudy emphasized that is very important to stay involved in the children’s lives; in their music, the TV shows they are watching and so on. Through a close relationship, parents have ‘entrance’ to truly discuss and influence their children’s decisions, Trudy counsels.
Pastor Tucker adds that a key discipline for him is seeking and listening to the Lord as it relates to family matters. “I know for me, being the head of the house, anytime I act like I’ve got this I am always in trouble, so I always have to consult Him (God), pray, find out what His word says about the situation I am dealing with or the family and He leads and I follow Him and then everybody walks with me.”
He also recalls discussions he’s had with fellow Pastors who were themselves children of Pastors. He asked them how they would raise their kids differently. He recalls those Pastors sharing that: “My parents sheltered me from the world so much, the moment I became free to leave the house I ran into it (the world), I wanted to find out what I was missing. So what they have done is they have had to walk with their children through the things of the world and so what I get from that is that they will watch TV with them, listen to what they are listening to and talk about it.”
The doting parents are also excited to share how God has blessed their lives with miraculous provision and healing. They fondly tell Family and Faith Magazine how God delivered on a promise to their firstborn, Chyna. “When my oldest girl, Chyna was 2 years old, her mother pointed her finger at her and said you are a getting a full scholarship at one of the best colleges in America and I’m going to pray and I’m going to ask God to bless you and she spoke it over her life and she kept on doing that and many nights she would lay hands on her and pray. Many times Chyna would ‘act up’ as a teenager and she (Trudy) would speak it over her life and call it (into being) and say you are what God says and God says you are going to specifically get a full scholarship and we saw it come to pass.”
Chyna is now second year at a university in the United States on a full scholarship. She was one of only 400 teenagers in the USA who was chosen for the scholarship.
Losing a Child and Remaining in Faith
You would never be able to tell by just looking at the joyous Tucker household, but just 4 years ago, they lost their second child, Zoe to a major illness. Accepting that the experience must have been excruciating and knowing that they still are charging forward into God’s plan for their lives, Family and Faith Magazine wanted to simply find out what Pastor Junior and Trudy left the situation knowing.
With tears streaming down and her voice quivering, Trudy points to “A tangible experience of God’s grace. There are days when you just don’t want to wake up or any regular person would probably be in depression or just can’t go any further. But then you know that there is something carrying you, literally just carrying you; you can’t explain it, cause when you should be down, you are up, you know that the fruit of the spirit is real – there is joy and there is peace.” Indeed Trudy’s experience brings meaning to the popular song – one set of footprints in the sand.
“For me is that He is sovereign,” started Pastor Junior. “I asked the Lord why did He allow her to die and He never answered me for quite a while and then one day I was in the kitchen and I heard the voice of the Lord speak to me. He said to me ‘do you love my grace’ and I said ‘yes Lord’. He said to me, ‘what is grace?’ and I said ‘Grace is undeserved favour’. He said ‘you love my grace don’t you?’ I said ‘yes Lord’. He said you’ve never questioned my grace. Then he said to me, who can question my grace when I give it? I said ‘nobody Lord.’ He said, ‘In order for me to give grace I must be sovereign because only a sovereign God can give grace. But you love my grace but you don’t want to love me when I am sovereign. In order for me to grant grace, I must be sovereign.”
While his reverence for God has grown tremendously, Pastor Junior admits that he remains heartbroken. Nevertheless, the man of God continues to hearken to the voice of the Lord and pursue His will. Recently Pastor Tucker launched a new 12-track island worship album, Jesus Famous and hosted a worship party at New Kingston Shopping Centre. Speaking to his evolving journey as a Gospel artiste and Pastor, Tucker said that God alerts him when it’s time to embark on another musical project. “These songs come and I wrestle with them lyrically, I get the melody, I get the songs together…and put the album together,” he explained passionately noting that he is simply a channel for the delivery of God’s heart to the body of Christ. SAH