Rev. Leroy Barber was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Christ saved him as a teenager and he became active in the Mt. Zion Baptist Church serving as an intermediate missionary, usher, Jr. Deacon, choir member and Youth Council officer.
At 20 years of age he married Donna and together they had three children, Jessica, Joshua and Joel. As a young adult he helped to begin a men’s ministry and was soon ordained a deacon. During this time he continued working with the youth, teaching and leading retreats.
In 1990, burdened by the plight of the city’s homeless and moved by the Spirit of God, Rev. Barber founded Restoration Ministries, Inc. to serve homeless families and children living on the street or in shelters in Philadelphia. A few years later he began doing volunteer work with Cornerstone Christian Academy, a private Christian elementary school founded by Tony Campolo serving the urban poor. He was hired the following year as Facilities Director and went on to become the Director of Missions and Outreach.
In 1994 he was licensed to preach the gospel and became an associate minister of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Soon after he began serving as Minister of Evangelism.
Rev. & Sis. Barber were called by God to serve as faith missionaries with the Atlanta Youth Project, a partner of FCS Urban Ministries. He relocated with his family to the East Lake Community in 1997 and served as the founding Executive Director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school, to provide quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city (see www.atlantayouthacademy.com). In 1998 Rev. Barber created a non-profit organization to provide needed spiritual, recreational and educational services to children and families in the community. He was ordained in December of 1999 and the following spring planted the East Lake Community Fellowship church, now known as Community Fellowships. In 2000 Rev. Barber was hired as the Atlanta City Director for Mission Year, a national incarnational ministry to the urban poor (see www.missionyear.org).
Rev. Barber attended Temple University and the Center for Urban Theological Studies in Philadelphia and received his Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Immanuel Bible College and his M. Div. at Immanuel Seminary in Atlanta, GA.
Currently, Rev. Barber serves as Pastor of Community Fellowships Church, President for Mission Year, Founder of the Urban Missions Foundation, as a director on the Boards of Atlanta Youth Academies and The Paladin Schools and Vice Chairman of DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection), a national, short-term urban missions organization (see www.citymissions.org).
Irvin L. Bell was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. As a youth, he was a member of Greater Springfield Baptist Church. A product of the Atlanta Public School System, Irvin was elected to ‘Who’s Who in America’. After high school graduation Irvin enlisted in the United States Navy.
In 2000, Irvin became an active member of Antioch Baptist Church North, Lakewood Mission where he is affectionately known as Brother Bell. Shortly after joining the Lakewood Mission Bro. Bell was elected as Chairman of the Junior Deacon Board by Reverend Kenneth Alexander.
In 2001 Irvin also served as the Assistant to the Director of Luke’s Place Christian Recovery Center which falls under Antioch Urban Ministries, Inc.
On August 12, 2006 Irvin wed Sarah Hayes. Immediately after their marriage, the Bells relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana serving the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi in recovery efforts.
Irvin serves as a site coordinator for Gulf Coast Mission (GCM). GCM is a collaborative partnership between Mission Year, DOOR, and the PC(USA)'s Young Adult Volunteer Program. In this position he oversees 15 year long volunteers. He is also the Site Facilitator for Urban Missions Foundation which is currently focused on connecting minority groups from across the country to communities in the New Orleans area in an effort to rebuild low-income neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Katrina.