Together, WE Change Lives!

His Legacy

In 1982 Reverend Herbert H. Lusk, II accepted the call to pastor Greater Exodus Baptist Church. He was committed to building on the foundation established by Reverend Kelly at the former New Thankful Baptist Church, an offshoot of which became Greater Exodus. Before coming to Greater Exodus, Pastor Lusk had played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles in the late 1970’s. Being called by the Holy Spirit, Pastor Lusk took early retirement from the Eagles and went to seminary. Even though he was a celebrity professional football player, the Holy Spirit chose Pastor Lusk to work among the poor. When he accepted the pastorate at Greater Exodus, the church had eroded in its finances and its membership. By 1982, Greater Exodus only had about seventeen members, infrastructure damage of over $400,000, utility bills of over $32,000, and was on the brink of bankruptcy. The immediate surrounding neighborhood of the church was drug and crime infested, and the poverty rate was one of the highest in the country. Many in the pastoral circle, including Pastor Lusk’s father, thought he should think twice about abandoning notoriety and fortune in professional football to accept leadership in such a challenging environment.

Pastor Lusk yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than to the advice of men! Pastor Lusk has led Greater Exodus to spiritual, fiscal and membership growth and vitality. Between 1982 and 1989, the church recovered from near bankruptcy, paid all its outstanding debts, repaired all its structural damages, and made infrastructure improvements in excess of $1,000,000! By the end of the 1980’s, the church had successfully added a number of ministries. This growth and renewal was interrupted in December 1992 when the sanctuary was destroyed by fire. Nonetheless, with God and the vision of Pastor Lusk, the sanctuary was restored by May 1993 with enhanced beauty. A mural was added to the vestibule that depicts African American Baptist history, the fellowship hall was air conditioned, and a 4,500 square foot game room was completed and equipped with billiard tables, pinball machines, ping-pong tables, state-of- the-art stereo equipment, computers, a large screen TV & VCR, and modern rest rooms.

During Pastor Lusk’s tenure at Greater Exodus, the church has grown from 17 active members to over 2,000 while thousands of others in need have benefited from the work the Lord is doing through the ministries of Greater Exodus and People for People, Inc. both locally and in Africa.

A Great vision

A truly new beginning and a great vision took shape in the 1990’s. In 1991 Pastor Lusk created People for People, Inc. (PFP), a separate community economic development arm of the church. This nonprofit organization was formed to bring socio-economic hope and education to church members and the larger community. After its inception, PFP trained thousands of individuals in various work skills and placed most of them in moderate income paying jobs throughout the Delaware Valley. The organization collaborates with the public and private sectors in various programs and initiatives in order to bring renewed hope to individuals and the community at large. In 1994 PFP created a modern computer lab aimed at training unemployed and underemployed individuals in computerized office skills. Pastor Lusk founded Lusk and Associates in 1999 as a for- profit business with a focus on providing employment opportunities to underserved populations. The company has held contracts with leading corporations in Philadelphia, including Lincoln Financial Field and, currently, Independence Blue Cross. In 2000 the People for People Community Development Credit Union began operation. The Credit Union was housed in a state-of- the-art facility at 700 North Broad Street, a building donated to PFP by PNC Bank. In September 2001, People for People Charter School opened to more than 300 students. The school is housed in the modernized eight-story former Philadelphia Traffic Court Building. PFP acquired the building from the City of Philadelphia and invested $6.5 million for renovation. The People for People executive offices and The View, a conference facility and banquet hall, were also established on the 7 th and 8 th floors. As of 2017, the PFP Charter School is home to 540 students, grades K-10. 2019, will be PFP Charter High School 1 st graduating class. In 2006, PFP began operating an even more ambitious jobs skill training effort as an E.A.R.N. Center, which served thousands of clients in this capacity before it closed in June, 2015. PFP also opened its Early Childhood Development Center. In recognition of the great need in the community for assistance with unplanned pregnancies, Greater Exodus founded the HOPE Pregnancy Center in 2006, which provides counseling and support to mothers and fathers facing the challenges of an unexpected baby. GE also reaches out in compassion to those with addictions of various kinds through its Out of Egypt ministry.

At the Republican National Convention in 2000, Pastor Lusk and Greater Exodus Baptist Church were featured. Credited to the immense work and leadership of Pastor Lusk, the President of the United States visited Greater Exodus Baptist Church in July 2001 as part of the promotion of the President’s faith-based initiatives. President Bush also selected People for People, Inc. in 2004 from which to make a national announcement about his release of several billion dollars of relief to those countries hit hardest by HIV AIDS. He did so because of the energetic work of Pastor Lusk in establishing the Stand for Africa Crusade for the same cause. Greater Exodus has been blessed and highly visible locally, nationally and internationally because of the spiritual and compassionate leadership of Pastor Lusk.

In 2014, Greater Exodus acquired the Frederick Douglass School in Chester, Pa., and now manages that school as well. Over the time period from 2003 to 2013, the triangular property within the boundaries of Ridge and Fairmount Avenues at Broad Street was purchased by Greater Exodus and cleared of all abandoned buildings. In partnership with Project H.O.M.E. and Jon Bon Jovi, Greater Exodus and People for People designed and built a five story building which now covers the entire property, providing transitional housing to formerly homeless and low income individuals on the top floors, and bringing new entrepreneurial energy to theFairmount/Francisville Neighborhood corridor via street level businesses. Thanks to an ongoing series of federal grants, People for People has been able to operate Project DAD, a program helping ex-offender fathers to reconnect with their families, learn good parenting skills, and gear up for jobs in order to support them. In October, 2015, PFP was awarded a $10 million grant to be spread over a five year period, which will enable this important work to continue beginning in March, 2016.

During Pastor Lusk’s tenure at Greater Exodus, the church has grown from 17 active members to over 2,000 while thousands of others in need have benefited from the work the Lord is doing through the ministries of Greater Exodus and People for People, Inc. both locally and in Africa.

Pastor Lusk is married to his beloved wife, Vickey, with whom he has three children, Herbert, Danuelle (Cedrick Watkins), Laiah (David Artis), and two grandsons, David Judah and Israel Andrew Artis.