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Sunday Sit-Down



By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

This is a series of reports the Messenger will be doing each Sunday about local pastors in our area. To see the full interview, check out the video at the end of this article. The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition.

Vance Drum has been pastor of Sunset Christian Church in Grapeland since 1999. He is also heavily involved with prison ministries throughout Texas. 

When did you first feel a calling to be a preacher?

“For some reason, it was in my mind early. I became a Christian when I was 15 and I said, I don’t know what I am going to do when I grow up – but I am not going to be a preacher. I’m not going to be a pastor. I said that for 15 years, but then God got me in a place where I changed my mind. I was in Indiana in 1980 and unemployment was high. I had a wife and two boys at that time. I needed work. I didn’t apply for the job, but this church called me and asked if I would be willing to preach for them on Sundays. I had already graduated from the seminary. But I didn’t go to seminary to be a pastor, I just went to study the bible. It was a small country church with six members. And that was it.”

What does this community mean to you?

“Grapeland and Houston County are good, country people – I call them the salt of the earth. There are lots of good people here. In every community there are good people, people who love God, help their neighbors. There are also people who need the Lord. People who don’t know their right hand from their left – spiritually speaking. But that’s an opportunity for ministry. We reach out to them as we can and encourage them in God’s way – which is a good way and a better way for their lives.”

What is the hardest part of being a preacher?

“It’s easier to be a chaplain in prison than a pastor in the free world. People in prison know they have a lot of needs and they are very open to help. So when I would put up a sign up sheet for a new class at the prison chapel – the whole sign up sheet would be filled with 30 or 40 names before my sermon was over. Outside of prison, people are busy and distracted. For many people, God is not a priority at all. Putting God first can be a challenge, really for all of us.”

What do you like most about being a pastor? 

“I like seeing people’s lives change for the better. Seeing them grow in God’s grace. Seeing them become servants of God and good people. Helpers of other people. That’s a big blessing. In the prisons, it’s a blessing to see a big change in someone. In the church here, it’s a big blessing to work with people and give them the pastoral care they need. I enjoy teaching and preaching.”

What do you think God wants from each of us?

“God is looking for worshippers – before he wants leaders. The main thing God is interested in is someone who is willing to humble himself and look up to the One who is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sustainer. God wants us to have a relationship with Him and to come along with Him in a better life than what we had. Before we are with Christ, we are servants of the underworld. And that’s not a good place to be.”

Sunset Christian Church meets each Sunday at 11 a.m. at 1813 FM 227 East in Grapeland. Call the church at 936-687-4422. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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