Pastor John Fitzgerald Payne, Sr., a native of Houma, Louisiana, is the son of the late Reverend Richard Payne, the late Bessie Payne and Mrs. Ruth Payne. He is the husband of the lovely Barbara Haston Payne and the proud father of two sons, Gabriel (Gabe) Baker and John (Jay) Payne, Jr. Pastor Payne answered the call of God on his life and preached his initial sermon in March 1985. Later that year on August 4, 1985, he was licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ordained in October of 1988, his ministry as a Pastor began at the Beautiful Zion Baptist Church of Houma, Louisiana in December 1988 and lasted until May 1992. In June 1992, Pastor and Sister Payne followed the direction of God and accepted the call to the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Under his leadership, the Lord has blessed the membership to increase to approximately 1100 plus members, and it’s still growing. On the first Sunday in October 2004, Pastor Payne enlarged Friendship’s territory by establishing a second location in Moss Point, Mississippi.
Pastor Payne is a dynamic preacher/teacher who has shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Since becoming the Pastor of Friendship, he has established numerous ministries to Exalt the Savior, Equip the Saints and Evangelize the Sinner! His leadership style allows each member to discover and utilized their God-given gifts and abilities to expand God’s Kingdom. He is indeed a humble servant with a passion for people. Because of his commitment and dedication for the Cause of Christ, in 2012, Pastor Payne was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. College of Ministers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
From October 2012 to April 2013, Major John F. Payne served a second tour of duty in Afghanistan as a Chaplain in the United States Air Force where he ministered to soldiers and their families until they returned home safely. Pastor Payne holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (1989) from Nicholls State University, a Master’s of Divinity (1997) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry (2004) from Trinity Bible College.