Jermaine grew up attending the Gospel Service in the Langley Air Force Base Chapel services. His home church nurtured his deep commitment to the Gospel by encouraging him to participate in church drama productions (performances of James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones), youth and mass choir, and church school. They afforded Jermaine the opportunity to work out his calling by leading worship, teaching Bible study, directing the youth choir, and even preaching the youth day service. By the age of 16, Jermaine knew that he was called to the ministry.
After earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Virginia, Jermaine answered his call to ministry at the Macedonia Baptist Church in Newport News, VA under the leadership of Pastor Alfred A. Terrell (now deceased). Influenced by the inspiring ministry of Pastor Terrell, Jermaine sought to engage in holistic ministry with an eye towards the spiritual transformation of individuals and the social transformation of communities. To that end, while an associate at Macedonia, Jermaine helped implement Family Night Bible study where kids in the surrounding neighborhood could have dinner and stay for age-specific Bible training, led the tutorial ministry, and organized the first annual Community Day celebration.
Discerning the need to bolster his ministry with theological education, Jermaine entered the Samuel DeWitt Procter School of Theology at Virginia Union (STVU), earning his Masters of Divinity in 2006. The Macedonia Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. John A. Wilson, affirmed Jermaine’s ecclesial call by ordaining him in December of the same year. Shortly thereafter, Jermaine became a chaplain intern at Riverside Medical Center in Newport News, VA. Under the supervision of Rev. Dr. H. Douglas Watson, Jermaine earned one unit of clinical pastoral education (CPE) while learning to minister to grieving souls in a multi-faith environment.
After his chaplain internship, Jermaine married the former Janelle Davis and moved to Manassas, VA to serve as a chaplain resident at the Washington Hospital Center in the nation’s capital. Jermaine’s work as a chaplain intensified his passion for religious ethics as he frequently advocated for patients’ and families’ rights against a sometimes impersonal hospital system, developed programs to assist religious communities in ministering to constituents living with cancer, set up training scenarios for chaplain interns utilizing the hospital simulation center, and comforted grieving families and ill patients. This sometimes grueling work confirmed for Jermaine the conviction that the toughest, most meaningful ministry occurs outside of the walls of the church.
While residing in Northern Virginia, Jermaine also served as an Associate Minister to Rev. Dr. Kenny Smith at the First Baptist Church Vienna. In this position, Jermaine organized the Youth Prayer Breakfast, facilitated a workshop at the VA Baptist Convention Youth Retreat, and helped organize the Young Adult Ministry. Simultaneously, he transitioned from the Washington Hospital Center, having earned three additional units of clinical pastoral education (CPE), to become the staff chaplain of Evercare Hospice and Palliative Care in Chantilly, VA. About a year later, Jermaine was accepted to Emory University (Atlanta) to work on a PhD in religious studies.
After spending a year in Atlanta adjusting to life as a doctoral student, Jermaine joined the staff of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, home church of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Under the leadership of Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, PhD, Jermaine served as the Associate Minister of Christian Education. His ministerial successes included guiding the Young Adult Ministry through a tremendous surge in membership and active church participation, planning several church events including Summer Bible Encounter 2010 and Back to School Block Party 2010, directing the church school ministry, and developing a curriculum for scholarly engaged Christian education.
Rev. Jermaine M. McDonald has consistently developed holistic ministry designed to engage the church, the classroom, and the community in spiritual and social transformation. He believes firmly, to paraphrase his favorite chef G. Garvin, that sucessful ministry must “season all sides” of the person.