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Church thanks pastor for 50 years of service

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POSTED: November 16, 2009 10:17 a.m.
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Ollie and the Rev. B.T. Smith.

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “Give me my flowers while I am living so I can enjoy them.” That’s what the members of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Fleming did for their pastor Nov. 7.
Parishioners, family and friends gathered in the Long County High School cafeteria to honor Pastor B.T. Smith of Ludowici. Smith, one of the oldest pastors in the area,
has been a pastor for more than 50 years. He has been a pastor at St. Paul for 22 years and also serves as pastor of First African Baptist on Sapelo Island. Smith said he started pastoring two months after preaching his first sermon.
Smith and his wife Ollie walked into the cafeteria as the Rev. Arthee Davis sang “It’s Your Time.” The audience stood and applauded. One of Smith’s spiritual sons in the ministry, the Rev. Willie Delmar, served as master of ceremony.
“Nobody can line a hymn like Pastor Smith,” Delmar said. Speaker Phyllis Hendry told the audience that Smith is the first one at the church and the last one to leave. “We call him the energizer bunny. He opens his pulpit to young ministers so they can have the opportunity to preach the word,” she said.
The program included singing, praise dancing, preaching and food. Dr. Charlie Anderson, Smith’s first spiritual son, delivered a message about blessings from Ezekiel 34:26.
Anderson said the purpose of a blessing is to help pastors bless others. “Churches pray for the pastor to be blessed so they will be better able to bless others. Through the pastor, we learn how to be blessed. God has exalted the pastor so he can bring the good news of salvation,” he said. “We stop to show our appreciation because a little praise can go a long way. Pastor Smith, we hope God will continue to shower you with blessings.”
“This week during our state convention in Rome, Ga., Pastor Smith will be recognized for his many years of service,” Anderson said.
The attendees from First African of Sapelo and St. Paul stood once more to applaud Smith. Although Smith leads St. Paul and First African, his home church is St. James Missionary Baptist in Ludowici.
Dr. James L. Evans, pastor of St. James, said Smith used to be his pastor when he was a young man growing up at St. Luke in Hinesville. “Now, as the pastor of St. James, I am his pastor. I was drawn to Christ under his ministry,” he said.
As he thanked his supporters, Smith told the attendees that if they need him, he will be there for them. “Let’s keep praying for one another,” he said. “If you miss me from singing down here and you can’t find me nowhere, I won’t be in hell,” Smith said.
 
Anderson is the author of “Lack of Knowledge” and “Dare to Soar.”
 

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