Michele Clark Jenkins and Stephanie Perry Moore,
General Editors of the SISTERS IN FAITH Holy Bible and
Founders of the SISTERS IN FAITH brand.
over 70 Christian fiction books and the wife of former Detroit Lion, Derrick Moore;
and Michele is a former HBO and Black Family Channel executive and is currently Senior Director of Public Policy Consulting Group for Griffe & Strong P.C. Together
they have launched the Sisters In Faith brand, which includes the
first Bible published specifically for African American women in over 5
If you have aspirations of becoming a successful author or entrepreneur, then you’ve got to hear the hard-earned insights, goals, dreams, and wisdom shared during an in-depth conversation with Michele and Stephanie, while the two were here on a press visit to Detroit. At the end of the interview, DetroitGospel.com producer, Renee’, declared, “We have had church!” We are sure that you too will be blessed by the experiences and encouraging words of these Godly women.
To Listen to full Interview, Click the “Podcast Link” at bottom of this article…
Excerpts from Interview
DetroitGospel.com: We’re thrilled to be chatting with Stephanie Perry Moore and Michele Clark Jenkins, Co-Executive Editors of the Sisters In Faith Holy Bible and co-founders of the Sisters In Faith brand and enterprise.
Good afternoon to you both, and welcome to snowy Detroit.
To begin, for those not familiar with Sisters In Faith, the two of you have joined your considerable forces to create products designed to encourage and empower African American women with God’s truth. The Sisters In Faith brand currently consists of four titles:
- Sisters in Faith Holy Bible, KJV
- Raise Him Up: A Single Mother’s Guide to Raising a Successful Black Man (written by Derrick Moore and Stephanie Perry Moore)
- She Speaks: Wisdom From the Women of the Bible to the Modern Black Woman
(for a deeper study of women in the Bible by Michele Clark Jenkins)
- God’s Wisdom for Sisters in Faith
(written by Michele Clark Jenkins)
Can you tell us about where the idea for the Sisters In Faith Bible came from and who was key in getting on board to get the project started and seeing the project through?
Michele: Stephanie and I have been working together on Bible projects
for at least 15 years, if not a little longer, and that’s how we met,
working on Bible projects. We had done a number of other Bible projects
related to the African American market place. Recently, probably 6 years
ago, we did one called Real: The Complete New Testament (Biblezines) ,
which was the complete New Testament for
the hip hop market. And so, after we completed that, we really wanted to
do something that was geared towards African American women, and so it
has been 5 or 6 years that we had to push that concept
through and get the powers that be to sign off on it. It was not an easy
process, as you can imagine. As Stephanie always reminds us; for a
general market…there’s a new Bible out every year… there are several
Bibles out, but for us, the last one that was out was maybe 5 years
ago, and then probably 10 years before that. So, it was time for us to
do something that spoke to African American women.
DetroitGospel.com: So, it took five to six years to complete the project?
once we started the process…Michele is alluding to the fact of as
soon as we finished the Real: The Complete New Testament (Biblezines)
project we were like, “Oh we’ve got
to do something for African American women,” and we pitched that idea to
the publishing company, and at that time they were not ready to move
forward on a product for the African American female demographic. They
always want to test the market, always want to make sure that once they
dive into something it’s going to be successful, and they just really
weren’t convinced at that time. And so, we stayed prayerful. The idea
was always dear to our hearts; it’s who we are. Michele loves to say we
have that great vertical relationship with our heavenly father, but the
horizontal relationship we have with each other is crucial. So, to
encourage more sisters to spread their arms and lift each other up, was
what we wanted to do. But, it was a God thing, because when Nelson was
ready and when we saw them again, I don’t know which one came first, the
chicken or the egg…When we talked to them 5 years later they were
then ready for the…”Alright send us that proposal.” We were like “Ah,
we did!” (laughing) But, we sent a new one. And then to your question, as
soon as God said it was time, the doors just opened. But from that
process, it’s still about a 2 year process because once you go
through submitting all the materials, then when you get a green light,
then you’ve got to submit and get people to write, edit everything,
submit that in, then they’ve got to put it in a beautiful format. So
it’s a full, probably, year and a half to two year process from when you
see the idea until it’s actually on the shelf.
DetroitGospel.com: How did you choose contributors to the Sisters in Faith Bible?
Michele: I love
that question because we always like to say that we didn’t choose them,
that God chose them. If you talk to any one of our 12 contributors,
they’ll tell you that this was, you know, a stop along the way for them;
that this was a breadcrumb; that it was a confirmation of things that God
was already doing in their life; that it was a part of their pilgrimage.
One of the favorite stories I have is Joanne Rosario Condrey, who you
know is a recording artist, she wrote a series of devotionals for us.
Joanne, of course, is a major recording artist and she had really privately
felt like God had called her to write devotionals. And so, she had
actually written one which is out on the market now, and she had actually
written one at the time, but had kind of quietly done it and had had
it edited but hadn’t really told anybody about it. So she kinda was
going through that, “God I know you called me to sing and so what is all
this other stuff about,” and then in the midst of that, I called her kind
of out of the clear blue sky and said would you write a devotional for
the Sisters in Faith Bible. And she…you know I heard the sigh on the
other side of the phone where she said, “You just don’t understand what a
confirmation,” and there’s a story like that from every single one of
So, Joanne Rosario Condrey, of course, was a contributer.
Vanessa Davis Griggs, who is a Christian fiction writer, foremost
Christian fiction writer, along with my partner Stephanie who has more than [correction] 70 books, mostly series in publication, and Kim Cash
Tate, those were our three Christian fiction writers who also wrote on
the Bible project. We have two doctors: Dr. Helen Delaney, who was one
of the first actual rocket scientists. She worked for NASA and was a
consultant to the U.S. Government on ballistic missiles. And then Dr.
Lakeba Williams, who has her Doctorate in Christian Counseling and who is
the wife of the chaplain at Auburn.
Stephanie shares that with her
because Stephanie’s husband is the chaplain at Georgia Tech. Keren
Heath, who’s a worship leader out of Texas. First Lady Jamell Meeks, who is
the First Lady of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago. So, we have a list of
women who are all over the country and who have come from a variety of
areas. Jennifer Keitt, who is the host of “Today’s Black Woman” on the
radio. She was an awesome contributor. Karen Waddles, who is a first
lady from Chicago and who is with Moody and so she contributed, she
actually wrote the introductions to the books of the Old Testament and
Dr. Helen Delaney wrote the introductions to the books in the New
Testament. And then we had a young woman, Tiffani-Mishelle Johnson, who
wrote the poetry. We have a couple of poetry entries in there and she
Stephanie: Modern day Psalms.
Michele: Stephanie, who did I forget?
Brenda [Noel], our editor, came on board with us and wrote some too, and then
Michele and I wrote in some of the Bible. Fun process!
[Editor’s Note: Dawn Sherill is also a contributor]
DetroitGospel.com: What most surprised you during the process of completing the project?
Surprised us? Good question. You surprised us (laughs). As Michele
said, the fact that the women were extremely excited to be a part of
the project, and from when we got the word go, though there was always
something you go through, God always brought us through and made sure He
was in the center of it. So it was amazing that we actually had a
chance to be a part of creating something, though we didn’t touch any
part of the word. It’s the King James Version, completely in tact. We
were able to still add some great nuggets to the best book in the land.
This just was amazing to see people have the right heart, the same spirit,
and actually see folks be blessed by it now.
Michele: We totally forgot…When you said, ‘what were we surprised with,’ you know what we were surprised by?
We forget, you know, some of the most obvious things…you forget…When we
went up to Nelson we had gotten a “go” on the project and we had been in
the midst of it and we had really talked to their marketing
people. We had done a lot of convincing over these five years and then they
kinda changed over some people who were working there so we thought we
were going back up there to re-convince the marketing team. When we
got up there, they had every division out, who were meeting with us,
who were saying, “Well, what do you want to do next?” and “Yes, we want to do a
brand,” and Stephanie and I were kind of looking at each other like,”Wait!” (Laughing)
When God opens that door there’s a flood that comes down and that’s
what happened. And then the most amazing thing is, as we were driving back from Nashville to Atlanta, literally with our mouths open, there was
a huge rainbow. It really was we were looking at each other like,”Did
that just happen?”
Stephanie: And that’s why I think it’s
important to get our market to support the brand. Because as Michele was
talking about earlier, it takes so much for publishers to step into doing
products specifically for our target market, the African American
female target market, but they won’t do more unless they see the sales.
It’s just like any business, we’ve got to put the word out for folks to
support because we have so many stories that need to be told, and for me I
started writing because I was frustrated going into a Christian
bookstore and not seeing any material in which I could personally
identify with. It’s not much changed since and that was years ago. We
have an opportunity now to change it and a lot of other publishers are
watching to see if this will be successful, so then they can get right
there and do some of the same thing. So we need people to know that
we’re here for them, but we’ve got to show the market that we’re here to
Michele: And I think it’s important to tell you that
Sisters in Faith was created to be a voice of African American women in
the Christian market place because there’s a void there. You see every
other aspect of the Christian market place contributing and you don’t
see a lot written by us. So it’s not just that it’s our target market,
which obviously it is, because that’s our heart, but it’s also coming
from our hearts to anyone who wants to hear. So we have found an amazing
thing, as to how much other ethnicities have gravitated to what we’ve
written, like our Facebook page has just blown up, and a lot of times
we’ll hear women say, “I’m not African American, can I join in?” Yes, we want
you to hear our heart, we want you to like our page and to read our
daily inspirations on our Facebook page and hear the heart of African
American women. Because there are an awful lot of women who share our
demographics. We’re predominately working mothers. We’re married or we
want to be married. Or we’re in relationships and they are important to
us. Sisters in Faith really has five focuses; which is our relationship,
obviously first and foremost to God, our relationship to our families,
ourselves, our careers and to others. So we focus on those areas, and a
lot of women share our same demographic even though they may not be
African American, so that something that we say resounds with them. Well,
that’s great! So what we’re finding is that other ethnicities are
saying, “I really find my heart melded with these women even though they look different than me.”
DetroitGospel.com: The Sisters In Faith Bible is described as a “tool to help bring women’s Sunday morning experience into their every day lives.” What do you hope that African American women get from this Bible?
I really hoped that women would share it, that it wouldn’t just be that Bible that you take, and you go into just your quiet place with. I’m a firm believer that God’s word is meant to be chewed and
discussed and digested and talked about some more and wrestled through, and I’m hoping that’s what they use this for. That they come into women’s
groups, and they come into their women’s Bible studies, and they go to
their friend’s house, and they have a cup of coffee, and they read through
some of the devotionals or some of the articles that are in there, and
they talk about them together, because we really wanted to foster the
relationships between women with all of our product…that women would
understand that on this journey we weren’t meant to be alone. We were
meant to have friendships and relationships with other Godly women.
For me, I want women to be proud of it because they do take a lot and
it’s for them, and you don’t see that often. But mostly [I hope the Bible] can encourage and
empower them, just like the tag line says. If they can come away and feel
better because they sat down with the Bible, whether with a bunch of
people or by themselves, that this book they always know can not only
just have the word, but house other special pieces to get them through,
whatever it is they’re going through, so they can be better because they
spent time with it.
When asked what their typical work day might be like, both ladies agreed that having the flexibility to juggle work, family, career and other commitments was key. Stephanie shared that her days varied greatly from day to day, and with 70 books already published in fiction, she is currently writing the “Sassy Sharp” series coming out next year, that will bring the total to 75. On most days, she gets her kids and husband off to school and work and then starts writing. She might check in with Michelle mid-day to address things going on with the Sisters In Faith brand, then spend a few hours working to get her books turned into TV and films, get some prayer time in and by then the family is back home and they’re off to extra curricular events. Stephanie says, “God is good, and life is full.”
Michele shared that she finds herself in a place where she is making herself available to God. Her life is also very full; working for a law firm plus the Sisters In Faith brand is like
having two full-time jobs. She is also a wife and the mother of three girls, and with all she has going on, she can sometimes feel overwhelmed, but she is the first to say that there’s a lot of joy in her
life. Michele says she is, “doing more of what I feel like God leads me to, and I get joy out
of whatever He leads me to…joy from one adventure to another.”
When Stephanie was asked about the “Sassy Sharp” Series due out in Fall 2014, and about her writing process, she admitted to being a dreamer and that God has given her the gift to
see stories and create them. When getting started, she typically asks herself, “What is the story that God wants me to
tell?” Her next step is to present an outline and get it approved by the publishing house. Once a due date has been established, then she divides up her time accordingly to get it done. In the Sassy Sharp series Stephanie will be teaching young people about entrepreneurship as she unfolds the story of five sisters
whose father is running for mayor of the city of Charlotte. Stephanie feels called to help young people
understand how to make their passion their career. She wants young people to know that you, “can’t ever give up,” and uses her challenge of trying to turn her books into TV or film as an example of refusing to give up. She noted that it’s, “like being in a maze; the other
end is still there, you just have to keep moving.”
Michele, is the former director of business affairs for HBO, former president of United Image Entertainment, and former VP of Black Family Channel. She admits that that part of her life she, “kind of stumbled through.” She says, “I just walked into it and kept walking.” Her long career in entertainment helped to shape her Christian walk, however, and she shared that “I always did
something that no one before me had ever done.” When Michele started working for HBO, it was a
new company and she was the deal maker for them. When the first home video deals were
being done she told her boss, “I don’t know how to do this,” and her boss said, “Neither does anyone else.” She knows now that God was
grooming her in her gifting of problem solving. She truly believes that this is what God has prepared her for and says, “I believe that God is preparing me for a
kind of a ministry…to write to and talk to and minister to young women.” She is particularly drawn to the
20-somethings trying to get their lives started. “God keeps putting these
young women who are 20 year olds in my path and I’m taking them under my
wing and mentoring them.”
In keeping with Michele’s area of ministry, DetroitGospel.com asked her, “What advice would you give your 21 year old self?”
Michele: Just give it time. God’s time.
We only see through the glass darkly, and I believe that that’s a process. When we get to heaven, we’ll see all of it, but as we get older it tends
to become clearer… I won’t say as we get older…as we get closer to
Him, things tend to get clearer. Part of it is that this time is not
wasted and things do take time, God’s time, and He’s always doing
something. He’s never not doing something in us, even when we can’t see it. It may take you ’til ten years or twenty years later to look back and go, “Oh my goodness, I was in such a rush to do this or to do that, but if I
hadn’t let that percolate and marinate a little…” You know, God’s always
doing something that He’s preparing us to go someplace with, and we’ve
just got to want to go with Him. He’ll take us, if we want to go with
Stephanie: I’d say don’t be afraid of the hard work. I think
that if I go back and look at it, it was “want it now, fast, quick,” and
sometimes if I would have just pushed a little harder, maybe gone to
film school; so many other things that were a little tough… Where I want
young people to know that education is key nowadays, even more than back
then. I don’t want them to get in their own way. So, if I could say to 21
year old Stephanie, “the harder things they’re worth it.” My husband at that
time made it to the NFL from a single mom, which is why we have the book Raise Him Up. It was just interesting that he always said, “I might not
have been the most talented or the fastest, but I was the hardest worker
and I’ll win them all because I just showed up.” More and more I think so
many of us don’t ever want to show up, so I would say that.
Favorite Gospel Artists:
To find out a little more about Stephanie and Michele, we asked them a couple of fun questions. When asked about their favorite gospel artists, Michele said she is a big fan of Tamala Mann, Tasha Cobbs and CeCe Winans, a member of Detroit’s first family of gospel. Stephanie has two more native Detroiters on her playlist, Fred Hammond and J Moss.
When it comes to other writers, Michele enjoys reading Bible study materials like those of Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Randy Alcorn.
The Final Quest
by Rick Joyner is one of the few books that Michele has read several times, and she tries to read it every year or two. Stephanie enjoys historical fiction and particularly the books written by her mentor, Beverly Jenkins.
Favorite TV Shows:
As for favorite TV shows, because both Michelle and Stephanie exert so much mental energy on a daily basis, for Michelle, TV typically provides an opportunity to just turn her brain off. Although Michele says she often does logic problems and crossword puzzles while watching TV, “Scandal” is a very guilty escapist pleasure and she also enjoys watching, and wouldn’t mind taking on the persona, of “Judge Judy.” Because Stephanie is hard at work trying to turn her books into television or film, she regularly attends opening weekends for movies, and closely watches and studies the techniques, pacing, structure, and story development of such dramas as “Scandal,” “The Good Wife,” and “The Have and the Have Nots.” Her new favorite is a historical fiction drama on The CW Network, “Reign.”
DetroitGospel.com: Stephanie, we know your husband, Derrick Moore, played for the Lions from 1993-1994, so you have a Detroit connection. In closing, are there any words of encouragement you two would like to share with the city of Detroit and/or aspiring authors?
The encouragement is always found in the Word of God. I can say some
things, but I really would encourage people to find their encouragement
in God’s Word because nobody tells it better than He does. Nobody loves
you more than He does and the Bible is a love story to all of us. So,
find your favorite passages. Mine is Jeremiah 29:11. There are any
number of go-to Psalms…Psalm 91 is a great one if you find yourself
down. That’s what I do when I find that I’m dealing with some troubles.
No matter what anybody else thinks, whatever I’m dealing with
personally, when I get up in the morning and I’ve got stuff on my head,
the first thing I do is start praying and start reading and praying the Word. It’s amazing how peace and joy is restored almost
instantaneously, because it’s not God’s plan that any of us would have
those kinds of struggles. Not to say we won’t have struggles. He doesn’t
tell us we’re not going to have those. It’s how you deal with it and
how you face them, and whether you can face them and walk away with a
lot of peace and joy. So that’s the place where in the midst of your
struggles you’re going to find peace and joy.
appreciate that question. You mentioned that I used to live here with my
husband playing in the NFL back then for Detroit. So for me, Detroit is
a place of birth and rebirth. My husband was actually let go by the
Atlanta Falcons and he was picked up by Detroit and we got a new chance
at life and we were newlyweds. Our first daughter was born in Detroit.
So for me, I’ve always seen this as a newness place to start over and to
keep thinking and knowing that you can reach any goal that you have.
That’s what Detroit was for me and that’s what I know this city will be
and already is. You just have to walk in it, claim it, and keep on
running. Derrick backed up Barry Sanders, the great running back, who he
says is the only person he knows that can run east, west, north and
south all at the same time. So, for the city of Detroit I say, how
exciting, the motor city; that means it’s running. Sometimes the car
cuts off, and we’ve got to get a new car, and we’ve got to do whatever,
but you can always keep going. That’s what I know is for Detroit. You’re
going to keep going and you’re going to get even better and you’re
going to get to that place.
To all those writers and dreamers out there
who might not be writing, but whatever you have inside of you, don’t
stop. You might be the only who believes in you, but cheer yourself
through the drama and keep on going. You’ve got it inside and God is
with you. He’s given you the dream and even if you don’t reach what He
has… if I’m just ever just going to be this book writer and never the
television and film person, it’s OK because I’m following the path that He’s given for my life. As Michele talked about, we’ve got to find
joy in what He gives, but we’ve got to still go after what we think He
sees, but where ever you land, it’s going to be a great place. If I’m up in
heaven one day watching the film and TV [of my books] like C.S. Lewis was with his
stuff, that’s not going to be a bad deal either. So folks, don’t give up
on your dreams, and if you want to write, don’t just say it, do it. Write
that first page and before you know it you will have written a book.
We thank Stephanie and Michele for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk with us. We pray traveling mercies and continued success in all their endeavors.
For First Ladies Interested in Submitting Material to Sisters In Faith:
On the www.sistersinfaithbible.com website there is a call for 52 dynamic First Ladies to
submit material for the First Ladies Prayer Book which will be a gorgeous leather bound piece encompassing 52 first ladies from across
the country giving six devotionals a piece; five for the week day and one for
the weekend. This is a tremendous opportunity for any First Ladies who feel called to write and would like to get a start in the writing world without having to produce an entire book.
What’s On the Horizon for Sisters In Faith?
Michele and Stephanie are envisioning conferences that pamper women spiritually, emotionally, and physically, so be on the lookout for Sisters In Faith Conferences in the near future.
Finding Sisters In Faith Products and Inspirational Materials:
Sisters In Faith products can be found anywhere books are sold. Clicking on the links contained in this article will take you to Amazon.com where they can be purchased online. All four Sisters In Faith brand products can also be purchased as e-books. Daily Inspiration is also posted on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheSistersInFaith. If you like their page, Michele and Stephanie will send you a daily inspiration written by one of them. Audio devotionals, blogs, and articles can be found on their website at www.sistersinfaithbible.com. On www.biblegateway.com you can also sign up to receive another weekly set of devotionals by email.
To listen to the full interview, click the Podcast link below.