Pastor Dr. Dennis Patterson has been a pastor for just a few months, but he is not new to the ministry.
The new leader of Jones Creek Baptist Church in Ludowici also is a published author. He has served as pastor of Jones Creek since Mother’s Day. A former college and independent semi-pro baseball player, Patterson has been in the ministry for 17 years and served as a pastor for 12 years.
“This is the fifth church I have served as pastor,” Patterson said. “We are excited to be here, and the people have welcomed us.
“Jones Creek Baptist Church is one of the most historical churches in Georgia. It was established in 1810 and is a very stable church. We have some wonderful ministries at the church.”
Programs include a catered evening meal and AWANA youth program on Wednesdays. Sunday school is at 10 a.m., and worship service is at 11 a.m.
Prior to coming to Jones Creek, Patterson served as pastor in Meansville, at China Grove Baptist Church in Moultrie, Molena Baptist Church in Molena, and New Prospect Baptist Church in Meridian, Miss. He also was a hospital chaplain at Emory University in Atlanta.
“When I left my last church, I spent a year not pastoring. I went to the northern panhandle of West Virginia to help plant a church,” he said. “During that time, I spoke at various churches, and was also on a book tour promoting my new book.”
Patterson’s book is a novel entitled “Mississippi Wind,” which was released in March 2011.
Patterson was raised in Meridian and is familiar with the East Mississippi town in which the novel is based.
He said the novel is a story of love and determination, and it demonstrates how all things work for the glory of God.
“The novel aims to show that God works through incredible circumstances to bring about his purpose in our lives,” he said.
Patterson also has done mission work in Honduras.
“When I was the pastor in Moultrie, we built a church in Honduras,” he said. “I went with three other men. We did a lot of preaching and witnessing.
“We believe in supporting mission around the world. We participate in the cooperative program of the Southern Baptist Convention. One of the most impressive things I have seen is the support of the cooperative program.”
Patterson attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and has a doctorate in ministry from Andersonville Theological Seminary. He and his wife Tracy Patterson have three children: Andrew, Amanda and Hannah. Tracy, who home-schools their children, sings in the church choir and teaches Sunday school.
Patterson talked about the support he’s received from family.
“My mother (Gladys Barefield) has been very strong in my life. She has influenced my life and supports me. I don’t think I could have made it without her. Even after having a stroke, she encourages me,” Patterson said.
“My wife is also very supportive. Whenever I say we are going somewhere to pastor or do mission work, she doesn’t complain. She always tells me that if I feel like God is leading me, let’s do it.”
Patterson’s book is available at Amazon.com and on Facebook.