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POSTED: July 24, 2007 5:02 a.m.
Although he went into ministry late, he has a zeal and passion for working in the church and reaching out to others. A military retiree, he is embarking on yet another journey that requires him to “get on the road” again.
John Henderson Sr. and his family came to Liberty County in 1978 when he was assigned to Fort Stewart. A native of Brunswick, he grew up in Miami. He spent 22 years in the military and retired in 1988.
Henderson has been in the ministry for six years. He is currently the pastor of New Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ludowici and St. James AME in Screven.
Prior to being appointed as pastor of New Hope, he served as the interim pastor while (then) Pastor Solomon Roberts was on military assignment.  
“Both churches are small in membership, but the members are very energetic and willing to serve,” Henderson said.
The musician at St. James AME Church travels from Jacksonville, and the church mother travels from Waycross.  
“They are very dedicated and have various programs to build up the unity and fellowship of the church,” he said.
Henderson has a desire to see people become saved and grow spiritually.
“The members are growing. People want someone to reach out to them,” he said.  
“Being a pastor is not easy. It is like being a parent. All of your children’s needs are different. As a pastor, you have to find out how to treat that need.”
Henderson enjoys teaching and preaching the Word of God. He gives credit to Elder Henry Frasier and the Rev. Stephen Lee (two of his former pastors) and Dr. Earnest C. Williams as being his spiritual mentors.
“When I see the way they conduct themselves, I am inspired and try to model myself after them. Elder Frasier told me if I show love to the people, they will love you back,” he said.
Henderson also serves as vice president of the Saturday Night Special Ministry.  This newly formed ministry is composed of a group of ministers in the surrounding communities. They rotate from various churches on the second Saturday night of each month. During the services, these young ministers are given an opportunity to exercise their gifts.
Henderson has been married to Oraetta Henderson for 38 years. They are the parents of four children; two boys and two girls.
“The girls are 35 year old twins,” Henderson said.
Oraetta Henderson, a native of Atlanta, is known throughout the community for her musical abilities. She plays the piano at various churches and community events. Their son, John, will be preaching his initial sermon on July 22 at Bethel AME in Hinesville.  
“I enjoy fishing and bowling,” Henderson said.
He also sings and plays the guitar a little, and is involved with the prison ministry.
 

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