Paula's Life Story
PAULA WHITE, pastor, teacher, author, international evangelist, inspirational figure, popular TV personality…woman of God. Known for her profound and dynamic Bible teaching, she is the host of the nationally syndicated program Paula Today. Transcending socioeconomic and denominational barriers, her powerful message of hope resonates among people from every walk of life.
With a faith undaunted by the task at hand, this mother, humanitarian and beloved mentor is also the Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, a non-traditional church with a multi-cultural mission whose membership ranges in the thousands. A gifted exhorter and motivator, the core of Paula’s message is “delivering spiritual truths that transforms lives”.
Born into a storybook life to an upper-middle class family in Tupelo, Mississippi, Paula's world shattered when, at the age of five, her father senselessly and suddenly died. The tragedy threw her family into dire straits, and her childhood became marred by poverty and feelings of abandonment, confusion, and betrayal. She experienced periods of abuse from the hands of strangers. As a teenage girl, Paula experienced deep feelings of shame and rejection. She coped by becoming an overachiever in school, winning the approval of her teachers, trying at every juncture to gain the approval of everyone around her. But nothing seemed to work. Around age 9, Paula’s mother remarried and the family moved to Maryland.
Once again, Paula’s world would change - this time for the better. At age 18, Paula was introduced to the Gospel, and became a Christian. The crushing weight of shame and rejection she’d carried as long as she could remember were gone. Paula held the Bible and said, “God, I don’t know you and I don’t even know myself. But I know the answers are in this book.” From there, her life began to transform radically as she studied the Bible and became involved in a local church. Then, she had a vision that she was to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Paula was moved by the plight of those who Jesus called “the least of these” and deeply yearned to touch those most in need. In the late 80s, she began ministering in the inner cities of Washington, D.C. By the early ’90s, she was in post-riot Los Angeles, sharing Jesus with children whose neighborhoods had been hardest hit by violence. In 1991, God called Paula to help co-found Without Walls International Church in Tampa, Florida - a ministry that went on to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In 2001, she founded Paula White Media Ministry to reach the world with the message God had given her: a message that would “transform lives, heal hearts, and win souls.” Paula White Ministries had become definite in form and started to grow.
A Heart for Outreach
Passionately devoted to outreach, the ministry began by supporting the local community, holding feedings and giveaways, and vigorously seeking innovative ways to reach those in need. Today, Paula White Ministries supports hundreds of local and international outreaches and spearheads global mission outreaches. Paula White Ministries provided food, clean water, clothing, toiletries and transportation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and supported ongoing rebuilding efforts. Just hours after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Paula White Ministries worked through the orphanage in Haiti to provide food, clean water, and clothing, later providing tents as the masses continued to arrive during the rainy season, looking for help and shelter. The ministry provides ongoing, substantial support to many orphanages globally and is also a robust supporter of Feed the Children and Churches Helping Churches. Paula White was on the board for Safe Horizons non-profit organization, advocating for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. She partnered with Harlem’s Northside Center for Child Development, supporting their efforts to provide social services to underprivileged children and families.
Presently, Paula White Ministries is at work with its partners: building orphanages, schools, churches, clean-water wells, and feeding stations around the world; providing desperately needed medical care and ministerial training internationally; and organizing crusades, focusing on the most deprived areas, such as Haiti, Africa, and India.
Paula White continues to be an inspiration to millions around the world. She was featured as one of the five most innovative and effective church leaders of today in the book Holy Mavericks, Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace (Lee & Sinitiere, New York University Press). Her voice resonates loudly for the voiceless as she brings a message of salvation to the privileged as well as the destitute. Reaching beyond cultural and socioeconomic barriers, she fervently shares God’s transformative Word to touch the person within. Her message is for those seeking to discover their purpose in life, and designed to launch them into a destiny they could never have imagined. It’s obvious that "she understands, she’s been there, and she knows how to get out.” Her television program, "Paula Today,” reaches a potential viewing audience of 2.3 billion people worldwide, and she has been listed as one of the Top 50 "Most Influential Christians in America,” by The Church Report (2006).
Accolades and Recognition
Paula White received the 2011 Impact Leadership Award during the 5th Annual International Financial and Leadership Summit in Houston, Texas; the 2009 Humanitarian Award by the Trumpet Award Foundation; the 2007 Behind the Bench "Mind, Body Spirit Award” from the NBA Wives Organization; and the 2006 "Trailblazer Award” by Jesse Jackson and Rainbow Coalition. In 2008, she performed the Invocation for the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, and was a presenter at Maya Angelou’s 80th birthday tribute in Atlanta, Georgia. Paula White has received endorsements from T.D. Jakes, Joel and Victoria Osteen, General Colin Powell, Donald Trump, Joyce Meyer, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Kim Kiyosaki, Ebony Magazine, and many others.
Today, as a much-in-demand speaker and proclaimer of the gospel, she continues to travel extensively to fulfill her mandated mission: transform lives, heal hearts, and win souls.