Were you raised in the Church? No. I became a believer in 1977. I had no church background at all. My mom died when I was 14 and my sister took me in. She’s 10 years older. My dad was in prison most all my life.
Where did he do time?
In Atlanta, at the federal penitentiary. We went every week to see him. All I knew was despair and when I met Christ, that was joy. I went from darkness to light. I came to Christ while attending a revival service at Calvary Baptist here in Columbus. I realized I could not get to heaven on my own.
Do you remember who was preaching? Wayne Bristow, the evangelist. Don Wilhite was the pastor, and remains there now. I was 17, almost 18. From there, I attended Columbus College and graduated, and then Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I graduated in 1989. From there I got my doctorate at Covington Seminary in Rossville, Ga. Now I’m working on my second Doctor of Ministry, from Luther Rice Seminary.
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Where was your previous church? In Anderson, S.C., at Fellowship Baptist. I was there 17 years. We never had a desire to be in Columbus but we felt like the Lord was leading us here. I started July 19. … I haven’t lived here since 1986.
What excites you about this new call? “People matter to God.” That is our mantra. People matter to God — both those people inside and outside of this local church. And the good folks at Waldrop have been kind, loving, willing to listen and follow. God is giving me a love for these wonderful folks. We hope to make an impact on midtown Columbus. One way we will do this is through events like our Fall Festival. This year it will be on Oct. 31. We will give away lots of candy to the kids.
What are your strengths? I don’t have many; most people don’t — they’re just not at peace with it. I will say that I genuinely like people. I like to spend time with them and become their friend. I communicate well. I see the big picture; my plane’s at about 30,000 feet. In the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey says to find out what you’re good at and do that.
Who’s in your family?
My wife is Melinda. She is my greatest advantage. She was saved at Gentian Baptist and God called her to be a pastor’s wife. We have four children: Michael II, 20; Lauren, 17; Stephen, 16; and Kendall, 12.You’re still commuting? Yes, I’m here Saturday through Wednesday nights. I’m usually home by 1 o’clock Thursday mornings. In Anderson , I also own a lawn care business and a dish satellite business. So I have to work those days when I’m home.
So your businesses are for sale? Yes, everything’s for sale, including the house.