Bishop was born on April 20, 1957 to Monroe and Elease McLaughlin. He attended the public schools of Jacksonville, Florida graduating from William M. Raines Senior High School. He attended the University of Tampa on an athletic scholarship, and later transferred on a basketball scholarship to the University of Tennessee majoring in psychology. He holds a Master’s and Doctorate Degree in Theology from North Florida Theological Seminary..
At age 26, Bishop McLaughlin made a personal profession of faith and submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In just a few months after his conversion he was called by God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bishop McLaughlin began preaching the gospel anywhere and everywhere there was someone who would listen. He was staffed at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church where he served the local body in any and every capacity imaginable. In 1987, age 29, Bishop McLaughlin pastored his first church in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Eleven months later, Bishop McLaughlin answered the call of God to pioneer a local church that would exemplify the biblical pattern of a non-traditional and Kingdom focused ministry.
In 1988, he founded The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship. Today The Potter’s House is home to over 5,000 members after only starting with about 40 members. Bishop McLaughlin and The Potter’s House ministry have been acknowledged and awarded by local, state and federal agencies for its outstanding and consistent work in education, community transformation and in the area of social services including, jails and prisons, nursing homes, hospital ministry and food and clothing to thousands of non members monthly.
After years of mentoring other pastors and demonstrating a father’s heart, Bishop McLaughlin was consecrated into the office of bishop on March 6, 1999. In preparation for the office of bishop, he submitted to the tutelage of the Joint College of Bishops and successfully completed the courses of study required for certification from the Joint College at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Bishop McLaughlin, through Covenant Fellowship International, provides covering for over 100 ministries and pastors around the globe. Churches have been birthed and reformed from the Caribbean, Africa and all over India.
Bishop McLaughlin is the founder and Chancellor of The Potter’s House Christian Academy. The Academy is a fully accredited institution of academia and currently has enrolled over 600 students from grades K-4 to 12th grade. The academy began in 1996 and had its first graduating senior class in 2005. During the accreditation process, The Potter’s House Christian Academy set a standard by becoming the first private school in the state of Florida to attain unanimous approval for accreditation without any recommendations for improvement on its first application. This honor speaks to the excellence in which Bishop McLaughlin and the school operates.
Bishop McLaughlin’s numerous accomplishments encompass both the secular and the spiritual realms. In 2001 he was the recipient of the ‘Entrepreneurial Excellence Award’ given by the Jim Moran’s Business Institute and Florida State University. This prestigious award was given to acknowledge the innovative and creative model of economic empowerment that’s known as The Potter’s House Multiplex. The Multiplex housed a multitude of church owned and operated businesses (The Potter’s House Café, Angel’s Hair Salon, The Potter’s House Bookstore, The Potter’s House Federal Credit Union, The Potter’s House Recording Studio, The Potter’s House Dance Studio, The Potter’s House Game Room, Graphic Design Studio, Law Offices, Greyhound Bus terminal, a travel agency, limo Service, financial services and Jim Tatum’s Men’s Clothing). Many other member owned stores were incubated and housed in The Potter’s House Multiplex. The Multiplex has been a draw and model of ministry for both church and secular groups worldwide. This 42,000 square feet structure was designed to spawn Christian businesses and foster economic synergy within the church and community.
In 2002, Bishop McLaughlin led The Potter’s House in the purchase of the first fully enclosed shopping mall in Jacksonville’s history. A 404,000 square foot facility sitting on 48 acres of property now valued at over 40 million dollars was purchased by The Potter’s House for 4 million dollars. Approximately 125,000 square feet of the mall, a former Sam’s Wholesale building is now home to the main auditorium and church facilities which include a 4,000 plus seat sanctuary, a 1,000 seat children’s church, a 250 seat wedding chapel, a 12,000 square foot nursery with two indoor playgrounds, a teen restaurant called the Rock Cafe, Java Rock Coffee Shop, a state of the art recording studio, beautiful administrative offices, a lecture hall, conference rooms and much more.
In January of 2007, another 177,000 square foot of the mall was opened to the public. The mall was anchored by two of the church owned and operated businesses. The Potter’s House Soulfood Bistro and Temple Builders Fitness Center. The Potter’s House Soul Food Bistro, which seats close to 300 and has become one of the most popular eateries in all of Jacksonville and the nation. The Bistro has received outstanding reviews from local food critics and has been featured in all local papers as the best soul food in town. In October of 2012, the renowned Bistro ranked number three on Urbanspoon’s list of “America’s 100 Most Popular Cheap Eats”. Restaurants from sixty-one metropolitan areas across 27 states were represented in the list. In 2014 it finished in a tie for first as the best Soulfood Restaurant in the nation at the Hoodie Awards hosted by Steve Harvey in Atlanta, Georgia. Also housed in the Kingdom Plaza is the state of the art 15,000 square foot fitness center called Temple Builders. Following the opening of these two businesses was the official Grand Opening of the mall. The remainder of the stores opened shortly after and included King Pins Bowling Center, which offers a 22-lane state of the art Cosmic Bowling alley with a family friendly game room and a pro bowl shop. Other shops within the mall include a jewelry store, medical service supply, urban clothing, bridal shop and tuxedo rental, a full daycare center, florist, Eden Spas and Salon, a health food store, cellular services, furniture store, Job Corp headquarters, a video production studio, barber shop, insurance company, women’s shoes, extension campus of Barry University, Drop back in public school program, the Beverly Institute, and much, much more.
Bishop McLaughlin’s anointed and skillful exegetical handling of the Scriptures, along with his personal and ‘down to earth’ approach to the Gospel has drawn followers locally, throughout the U.S. and abroad. Bishop McLaughlin travels the world sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Over 4000 recorded messages are available through The Potter’s House audio/video ministry of Bishop McLaughlin’s powerful preaching. The nation’s leading Christian Magazines have all featured his accomplishments and the ministry as cover stories. He’s graced the covers of Charisma Magazine (The Church that Changed a City), Ministries Today (Architects of Change), Leadership Journal (The Wizard of Odds), Church Executive Magazine, Onyx magazine and many others and has even been featured in the Wall Street Journal (Holy Cappuccino.)
Bishop McLaughlin serves and has served on various boards and committees:
- Co-chair for City of Jacksonville Mayor’s Office Strategic Initiative Team
- Co-chair of the Jacksonville Pastors and Christian Leaders Fellowship
- Vice-Chairman of Kingdom Fellowship Marketplace Ministries
- Board member of Bank of America, Community Development Division
- President of West Campus Logos Christian College
- Founder of The Potter’s House Bible College
- Founder and Chancellor of The Potter’s House Christian Academy
- Board member of ACT Television Station
- Chapel Speaker for Jacksonville Jaguars and numerous other NFL Teams
- Promise Keeper Platform Speaker
- Chairman of the Board of Impact House, a rehabilitation center for teen felons
- Chairman of the Board of Gateway Community Services, a drug rehab for adults
- Board Member of Prisoners of Christ Ministries
- Consultant and motivational speaker for various marketplace ministries
- Chairman of the Board of MADDADS
- Appointed Business Ambassador for the State of Florida
- And many more
Bishop McLaughlin’s duties are far reaching. He lists his greatest of all accomplishments as being happily married to Narlene Jackson, his college sweetheart since 1978. (Do the math). His wife assists him in the ministry as the church and mall administrator. They minister together at conferences and workshops and serve as a model couple to pastors and ministry leaders around the world. They have two adult children, Angel Narlene and Stephen Vaughn both working full time in the ministry of the Potters House International Ministries.