“As bishop it was my responsibility to find a new pastor. They asked me to consider taking the position. After fasting and praying together we felt good about it,” said Gilmer. He said the church went through a two and a half week process of selecting candidates, and at the end of that time, for one reason or another, Gilmer was the only candidate remaining on the list.
“We felt the Lord had something to do with that,” remarked Gilmer. “I’m wearing two hats right now, but on Aug. 31 I’ll put down one hat and be a pastor.”
“He’s very excited about coming back. He said he has a heart for preaching,” said Steven Henry, the church’s Bible School teacher.
Henry said that after a period of sadness, there is a distinct upswing in energy.
“There’s an aura of excitement in the church. We’re seeing a lot of growth in membership, especially from the youth,” said Henry.
A night of games and devotion will be held on Aug. 28 for the youth of the Rockingham Church of God of Prophecy, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The church’s new youth minister said activities will include informal acoustic songs and devotion for the first part, and fun and games in the second part. Kids can expect to play board games, card games and team games.
The new youth pastor, Nic Jackson, joined the church staff on July 31. The 24-year-old from Hamilton, Ala. taught 10th grade physical science before moving to Rockingham with his wife. He served as a youth pastor for two years, which he said went very well.
Jackson said he’d been praying for a youth pastor job, and three days into his last year of teaching he informed the principal that he felt the Lord wanted him to come to Rockingham. He’d briefly heard about Rockingham once when his mother was seeking a vacation Bible school for his niece.
Jackson said he did not meet all the listed qualifications, but applied regardless, and was surprised when the job was offered to him. He said the position is treating him well already, and that in the two weeks of vacation Bible school, seven youth have been saved.
The youth pastor’s vacation Bible school had a great turn out, according to Jackson. He held a Back-to-School Lock-In the night of Aug. 13, and said there were 81 people present.
“So far, so good. This is all really different,” remarked Jackson about his move to Richmond County.
Jackson said he does not see Rockingham as a small town, compared to the rural Alabama location he hailed from where any store was at least a 20 minute drive away.
According to Henry, Jackson offers the youth a plan of salvation, and places his emphasis on returning to the spiritual core.
The church’s fall softball league has started their season. The team is being coached by Marcus Norris, son of the late pastor.
Jackson said, “I’m really looking forward to more public involvement. I can’t wait to be involved in the community.”
Gilmer said he, too, is looking forward to becoming part of the community.
“I feel I’m not just a church pastor, but also a community pastor,” said Gilmer.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 997-3111 ext. 15.