Since 1982, Reverend Dr. Herbert H. Lusk, II, has served as the Senior Pastor of Greater Exodus Baptist Church (GEBC), 704-714 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During this time, under Reverend Dr. Lusk's leadership, GEBC has grown from 17 members to over 2,000. A former running back for the Philadelphia Eagles football team, Pastor Lusk has ever-increasingly committed himself to the service of those in poverty: the jobless, the homeless, the hungry, and those in prison and their children.
During his National Football League (NFL) career, Pastor Lusk was respectfully known as the "Praying Tailback" and has been recognized by the Washington Post and featured in two documentaries including ESPN (Outside the Lines) and NFL Films (Religion and Sports) as the first NFL player to kneel and pray after scoring. When he was asked what he was doing he simply replied, "I was just giving thanks!"
In 1989, Pastor Lusk founded People for People, Incorporated (PFP) as the community and economic development arm of Greater Exodus Baptist Church. PFP's mission is to break the generational cycle of poverty in the lives of local residents by providing them with the necessary tools they need to abandon gangs, drugs, welfare dependency and crime and to create new, stable self-sustaining lives for themselves and their families. PFP’s campus includes a beautifully restored eight-story office building (formerly Philadelphia Traffic Court) that is home to the PFP Charter School, (540 students, grades K-8), the PFP Early Childhood Development Center (serving over 135 children), and The View, a private banquet and conference center that has breathtaking views of the city. Another building on campus (formerly a Continental Bank branch), is home to the PFP EARN Center (serving over 2,500 clients annually), a welfare to work program that helps TANF recipients find jobs and provides GED classes and computer skills training. In 2003, Pastor Lusk founded Stand for Africa (SFA) to raise awareness about and funding for African AIDS orphans and their families. SFA funds stable, reliable initiatives in ten African countries. As a result of his tireless efforts, Pastor Lusk received a Presidential appointment to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV & AIDS (PACHA).
In one of his newest and most passionate projects, Pastor Lusk is raising critical funding to renovate a former bus barn and convert it into the PFP Family Community Center. The goal of the PFP Community Center is to remove our students and their families from Philadelphia streets which have become progressively more dangerous, and provide them with the space and the equipment for sports activities, computer teaching labs, youth enrichment, mentoring and nutritional programs and other family centered events and activities. More recently, Pastor Lusk has led People for People into partnership with Eastern University in order to create the PFP Institute, which provides higher level education classes to low income students otherwise unable to afford them. PFP Institute students can earn an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree in the evenings at People for People. The resulting certificates and degrees enable them to acquire employment with salaries large enough to make them truly self-sufficient and to provide for the needs of their families. In 2008, Pastor Lusk transformed what was formerly a row-house / store front on Broad Street into the HOPE Pregnancy Center, providing women and families facing unexpected pregnancies with counseling and support.
On April 13, 1980, Pastor Herbert H. Lusk, II was licensed to preach under Reverend Jerry William Daily; First African Baptist Church, Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania. On September 8, 1983, Rev. Lusk was ordained by the Monterey Bay Baptist Association, Monterey, CA.
EDUCATION (in chronological order):
- Student at Monterey Peninsula College, 1972-1973
- Student at University of California at Long Beach (subsequently inducted into LB Hall of Fame)
- Graduate of Gwynedd-Mercy College with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Sociology
- Graduate of the Reformed Episcopal Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a Masters Degree in Divinity
- Received Honorary Doctorate from Westminster Theological Semindary, May 25, 2006
- Received Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Eastern University December 16, 2006
- Received Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree Reformed Episcopal Seminary, February 3, 2008
Reverend Lusk has appeared on all of the major television networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox), and features on Night Line, Hardball, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and many news broadcasts. He has received countless awards, honors and citations, and has served on the boards of numerous organizations. He travels to Africa several times each year to meet with national and community leaders and health providers to direct Stand for Africa funding into the most cost-effective channels for the greatest impact in the war against HIV/AIDS, and to bring the most help possible to the millions of AIDS orphans. In November 2005, Philadelphia Magazine named him one of Philadelphia's 50 Most Influential Leaders, and annually he is listed as a "Mover and Shaker" on the Philadelphia Tribune's List of the Most Influential African Americans. Twice during the last decade, Reverend Dr. Lusk has also hosted the former President of the United States, President George W. Bush at People for People, Inc.
Reverend Lusk is married to his beloved wife, Vickey, with whom he has three adult children, Danuelle, Laiah and Herbert, III.