The Little family is pictured from left: Cody Little, Minerva P. Little, Dr. Uliasea Little Jr., Courtney Little Jr. and Courtney Little. (Courtesy photo)

If Jesus was able to rise above the meager circumstances of his life, then so can His followers. 

That was the message Dr. Uliasea Little delivered Sunday (Dec. 26) to his congregation at Christ Baptist Church in Whitehaven. 

“My message came from the second chapter of Luke, which talks about the birth of Jesus,” said Little. “The circumstances of Jesus’ birth were not ideal. The government was not favorable. His mother’s pregnancy was questionable at best, and the environment was adverse – a stable full of animals. 

“But Jesus did not use the condition of his birth as an excuse not to reach His destined potential. His death and resurrection have given us that same power.”

From his early years in the ministry, Little’s love for Memphis and his care of its people have taken him from the tutelage of nurturing pastors to a dynamic and vibrant ministry of encouragement and optimism – even a city rocked by an unprecedented wave of violence.

“The seventh chapter of Matthew tells us that we do have an answer for the violence and criminal activity that continue to sweep our city,” said Little. “But our solutions are not in the physical. 

“Our warfare is spiritual. Our answers are spiritual. Our victory rests on how we respond to the word of God. We can do nothing without God. We cannot fix problems independently of God.”

Little’s family lives out his message of power and hope “through God and only through God.”

His wife, Minerva P. Little, is director of Making a Difference Ministries, a nonprofit which addresses the needs of underserved families with children in Shelby County.

She also is the publisher of Spirit Magazine, a Memphis-based monthly publication highlighting the issues and personalities of the African-American church community.

Their son Courtney Little is the minister of music and frontman for his own multi-genre band. 

The couple’s other son, Cody Little, is director of media and sound at Christ Baptist. Cody also produces and plays drums for his brother’s band. Courtney Little produced and wrote every song on his first gospel CD at the age of 21.

“Memphis is a troubled city,” said Pastor Little. “There’s no doubting that. But challenges and adversities can be blessings in disguise. John 15 tells us we are made clean by the word of God. 

“As long as we are connected to Jesus, the True Vine, we can all reach our fullest potential – God’s divine will for our lives. We have believed that. We have lived that, and now, our children live by that same principle of our Christian faith.”

During the past year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, Making A Difference distributed 135,000 food boxes for families and 52,000 children’s food bags.

The outreach ministry also has furnished 39 houses over the past seven years, impacting 127 Shelby County School students.

Christ Baptist continues to grow in its effort to reach beyond the church walls to impact the lives of families.

On Nov. 17, Minerva Little’s birthday, “Christmas in November” celebrated its kickoff with 250 food bags for kids, with a $20 bill included in each bag.

Shelby County Commissioner Eddie Jones declared Nov. 17 as Minerva Poplar Little Day in Shelby County, complete with a resolution and fanfare.

General Sessions Court Judge Betty Moore also issued a resolution, declaring Nov. 17 Minerva Little Day.

Last June, Memphis City Council member JB Smiley Jr. honored Pastor Little with his own honorary street, Reverend Dr. Uliasea Little, Jr., on Mickey Drive, between East Raines Road and Lehr Drive. 

Little was associate pastor of Hickory Hill Baptist Church, when Pastor William Faulkner was there.

After that, he spent five years as pastor of Mt. Gilliam Baptist Church in Byhalia, Mississippi. 

He returned to Memphis and planted Christ Baptist Church in February 1993. By June that same year, the congregation had moved into its present location.

“It didn’t take long before God gave us our building,” said Pastor Little. “He has been faithful every step of the way.”