Tylos Jackson, pastor of Victory in Praise Church in Modesto, was so quiet as a youngster that his family members were caught off guard when he told them he felt called to the ministry.
"As long as they knew me, they could hardly get a word out of me," he said.
But there were signs along the way. Jackson's dad told him of one incident.
"We had a mother-in-law house in the back yard," Jackson, 49, said. "It was abandoned. We used it for a playhouse and a storage area. My father told me of a time when I was like the Pied Piper of the neighborhood. I had gathered all the children and was wearing a sheet like a robe. I was the minister, and all the kids were sitting and I was going to town. I don't remember it, but he said it happened."
Jackson, born in Martinez and raised in Richmond, said his father was from the South and worked in a warehouse.
"He wasn't able to complete his education, so it was a mandate that my sister and I apply ourselves," Jackson said. "It was not a debate."
He said he liked reading, history, sprinting on the track-and-field team and playing music -- first the drums at age 11 or 12, and later the keyboards.
"I had an affinity for all types of music," he said.
Here's more information:
Family: His father is deceased; his mom, who worked at the Oakland Army base, is still living. His sister is a nurse in the Bay area.
Jackson's first wife died. He's been married to his second wife, Pamela, 53, for 27 years. Their seven children are: Lavar, 28; Monique, 28; Dajon, 17; Daniel, 15; Jasmine and Ashley, 13, and Joshua, 8.
Education: Aenon College, Richmond, ministry training; Jackson is attending Grand Canyon University online for additional theological training.
Career: Worked for the Department of Defense on Mare Island and in Alameda as a painter for 18 to 20 years. Became full-time associate pastor at Victory in Praise Church in Stockton in 1997; became pastor of new Victory in Praise Church in Modesto in 2003.
Future:"My desire is to mentor children who are falling through the cracks. I deal with a lot of single mothers who have children without a male presence or support, so sometimes when the children, especially the males, hit adolescence, they tend to grow astray. Through our church, we're developing a mentor program to keep them in school." He also wants to write and to bridge the ethnic and cultural divide. "If I leave a legacy, I hope it's so that we don't see people as a black person, a white person, a black church, a white church. That's something I really have passion about."
Greatest challenge: "To get people to stop looking and judging people from the outside. Some people have challenges with speech. Some people have challenges with what they wear. We need to just to love people the way they are."
Greatest passion: "To unite under the leadership of Jesus Christ, to lock arms and love each other."
Personality: "I'm still somewhat introverted. Very intuitive. I'm a detail-oriented person and very assertive about what God has told me. You'll never be confused on what's on my heart."
Spare time: "I like to just get away. Go to the gym and work out on the treadmill or with weights and get all worked out. That's how I process things and detox myself."
"Leading the Way" runs twice a month and profiles faith leaders -- ordained and lay -- in our
community. To suggest someone, send the name and contact information to Sue Nowicki, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352-5256 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.