You’ve been here for 25 years. At the beginning, did you think it’d be that long? No, I did not. My wife and I came to the Lord in 1971 when this church was Evangel Temple. It’s been a unique journey.
What were you doing in 1971? I was in the auto parts business. After about four years, we felt like we were being called to ministry. In 1975, we left for school. We never dreamed of coming back to Columbus. We came back to Evangel Temple and moved with them (to Veterans Parkway). In 1980, I pioneered a church in Lincolnton, near Augusta. Then we came back in 1984.
Who was pastor here before you came back? He’d moved. His name was Don Carroll. Where’d you go to school? Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. With a church here since 1942 (named Beallwood Assembly of God), did you ever think about relocating? We’ve always been open to it, but we’ve stayed. I think somebody has to stay in the city and we’ve tried to minister to our neighbors. We just did a Thanksgiving outreach for 100 families. We’ve been doing that 10 years, and we have an Angel Tree project for Christmas. We do as much as we can. We support 36 foreign missionaries and six or seven local ministries. What stands out for you in these 25 years? We’ve renovated and changed but what stands out is relationships with the people. I had kids in the church who are now married and dedicating their own kids.
Do you think you’ll go anywhere else? I’m 67 so I doubt I’ll move again. I try to evaluate every year: “Lord, do you want me to stay?” Who’s in your family?
My wife is Jean. We have two boys: Lee and Patrick. Lee is in ministry and Patrick works for TSYS. Lee does comedy revivals. Who’s a mentor? My pastor from when I was saved — the Rev. James Hennesy. He’s now out in Dallas. His son has a big church. He does visitation and he still preaches. What do you do on your down time? I like hunting, fishing and golf. How has your preaching changed in these 25 years? It’s more supportive of people. That’s what they need. People no longer have simple problems. With different lifestyles, divorce and fragmented families, you have to minister to a diverse segment. We all need encouragement and a word to keep focused on the Lord. McBride’s first Sunday as pastor was Dec. 30, 1984.