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Sunday Sitdown

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KEVIN SMITH

TABERNACLE OF PRAISE, KENNARD

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 online on our website, www.messenger-news.com The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition.

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

“My mother and father were in the ministry. My dad was a pastor my whole whole life, as long as I can remember. So I grew up in a pastor’s home.  I was one of those ‘P.K.’s’ – preacher’s kids. I knew very early on something was different for me. Later at 19 the Lord really dealt with me about that strongly. That’s when I made the change. I went from being a youth pastor util now, 37 years later. So that’s how it got started for me.”

What is the hardest part of being a preacher?

“Probably the difficult most difficult part is the weight, the weight of every decision – maybe the weight of every situation. What I mean by that, obviously, as a pastor, there are a lot of great moments in pastoring, but there also is where God leads you. I feel being led by the Spirit is super important, and not just to set a regimented structure, but being led by the Spirit of the Lord. Sometimes, the weight of those decisions in how that oftentimes may not be the right thing doesn’t sink right in the moment as it does further down. In being able to stand strong on that – in a loving way – but saying, ‘I know this is going to be much clearer down the road. I think it would be the weight of every decision and situation.”

What do you like most about being a pastor? 

“For me, it is being able to connect with with the people that God’s planted me with. To be able to watch them and being a contributor to their spiritual well-being. I love them and see their trust in me reciprocated and also me reciprocating back and trusting them. I think it leads to great fulfillment. Obviously, there are a lot of fringe benefits to that. But all in all, I think it would be that satisfaction of knowing that I get to connect and for lack of a better word – ‘partner’  – with people in on this beautiful journey. You know, for me, that’s the most fulfilling.”

What do you think God wants from each of us?

“That is a great question. I just did an online search for this, and there are 4,000 religions in the world today. It’s a lot, and each one of those have variations. I think if we could strip all that away, what God wants from me what God wants from you – all of us – I think is just complete trust. Total trust in Him and willingness to let Him lead us. I think we hear a lot about faith in religion and in churches and the Bible certainly speaks to that. It takes faith to believe it, although I think the highest dimension or level of faith is trust. That is a mouthful when you think about it, because this rolls off the lips pretty easily. But when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, that is a tough one. And I think that is what He wants – if we can just recognize that He is not going to lead us astray. He is going to guide us the right way. He is our Creator. He knows us better than we ourselves.”

Tabernacle of Praise meets each Sunday at 11 a.m. at 170 State Highway 7, Kennard. Call the church at (936) 655-2026. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at greg@messenger-news.com