On OWN’s new drama Greenleaf, Keith David plays Bishop James Greenleaf, the man presiding over the fantastically successful Memphis mega-church called Greenleaf World Ministries.
Bishop James Greenleaf, Keith says in this introduction to his character, is the family patriarch. “My wife and I have been growing this ministry for 40 years, and all of my children are in ministry,” he says. “Being the first family, you know, we’re held to a higher standard, but we’re just human beings trying to do the Lord’s work. The bottom line: The pastor is just a man, given to all the frailties that human beings are given to.”
While the Greenleaf family dynamics are, in many ways, universal, Keith says there are a few particulars that make this group even more compelling. “We’re an affluent family. We’ve all grown up in the ministry, and life goes on around the ministry. The running of a church is a business. Besides the business of saving souls, there are bills to pay. And how we pay them—I think we get a chance to explore some of that.”
“The intrigue doesn’t stop,” Keith says. “Oh, the plot thickens. It gets us into some pretty rich soup.”