Mo Leverett

Mo Leverett

-- Modern Folk Artist - a gruff, soulful voice mixed with thoughtful and moving lyrics all against a backdrop of simple acoustic guitars and ambient textures -- reminiscent of Pierce Pettis, Bruce Cockburn or the modern Delta Blues of Keb Mo. Listeners might also hear Mo Leverett as a more acoustic and instrumentally scaled back version of the current, "retro" St. Paul and the Broken Bones --

When seeking to understand the essence of a man, there are starting points to consider: the place and family where he is born, the schools he attended, the cities he has lived. Yet Mo Leverett is best understood in the out-of-the-ordinary, unpredictable life choices he has made and the Christian idealism that inspired them.

He moved into America’s worst housing project community – the Desire neighborhood of New Orleans – and raised his family there to establish a Christian ministry, church and school. He now lives in North Jacksonville and continues involvement in various ministry initiatives there and beyond, nationally and internationally.

From all appearances, he is a cut-from-the-cloth Southern Christian, (bearded) family man.  Yet, he rejected predictable paths, for the dangerous streets the Desire Projects of New Orleans — a notoriously impoverished and crime-infested neighborhood of the Upper 9th Ward. That choice, combined with his unusual, even odd compilation of gifts, has led to noteworthy accomplishments, the establishment of many ministries and the recording of music that is as unique and compelling as the man himself.

The artist/missionary in him makes him a visionary through and through. The hope of the gospel – through which he sees the world, as it is and as it could be, seems the source of all his inspired work. He is a poet-prophet, a role he wears with quiet force. He is an entrepreneur without the profit — pouring all of his proceeds into his life’s work in urban ministry.

Mo hails from Macon, GA — the humble beginnings of other acclaimed and more famous artists such as The Allman Brothers, Little Richard and Otis Redding. Perhaps it’s the red clay that produces the rasp of southern soulfulness. Throw in the 18 years Mo spent in New Orleans, LA — a place that captured his heart and characterized his call — and you begin to get a sense of the man. Fans of his lyrical, poetic, gutsy, folksy-bluesy recordings find in Mo a depth and honesty unique in contemporary Christian music.

Mercer University, in the heart of Macon, is where Mo finally graduated from college and came to terms with his Southern roots in the English and Christianity departments. He was reared Southern Baptist, turned Presbyterian, resulting in a man of both theological rigor and evangelical fervor. He now lives in Jacksonville where he is launching an incarnational urban ministry in the northwest quadrant of the city.

He trained for urban ministry at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, which afforded Mo the opportunity to meet John Perkins, a pioneer in the modern urban ministry movement in America. After hearing John speak, the contours of Mo’s vocational call began to take strategic shape. Desire Street Ministries is the ministry he is most known for and associated with — an organization he founded at the ripe age of 25 in 1990 and which eventually housed numerous spiritual and community development programs, employing over 60 staff, until the tragedy and devastation of Hurricane Katrina wreaked it’s havoc.

Now, that organization can only be understood in it’s various splintered parts. Some of the young men and women who were reached and developed in that ministry now lead various new works in the city of New Orleans and beyond. Other former staff and interns have started similar ministries around the country in places of great need. Desire Street Ministries, the organization, has absorbed a different strategy and focus, now headed by former Heisman Trophy winner, Danny Wuerffel who moved the organization to Decatur, GA.

Mo has since launched Rebirth Community Ministries, which seeks to advance urban ministry initiatives stateside and world-wide, by resourcing the church for it’s ongoing purpose among the poor and by developing next-generation urban ministry leaders.

Mo is married to Lori. Together they have 8 children. He is a transparent and broken man — a quality reflected in both his music and ministry.

 

Rebirth Community Ministries

8416 Concord Blvd. W. Jacksonville, Florida 32208