Pastor Joseph Michael Morgan is a native of Shamrock, Fla., but grew up in Liberty County — and now, he is pastoring in his home area.
A 1963 graduate of Bradwell Institute, Morgan, a Navy veteran and retired federal employee of Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield, became full-time pastor at Friendship Baptist in January after serving as interim pastor beginning in October 2011.
A seasoned proclaimer of the gospel, Morgan has been in the ministry for 40 years, and worked as a bi-vocational pastor for many years. Morgan received a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in psychology from Georgia Southern in 1973. He also received a master of theology in 1981 from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans.
He pastored the Metarie (La.) Evangelical Church while in seminary and Hope Baptist Church as a student at Brewton-Parker College. Additionally, he has served as pastor of Neptune Baptist Church in Florida, Walthourville Baptist Church and Oak Grove Baptist Church in Glennville.
Morgan also is chaplain for the Tattnall County Sheriff Office, and enjoys playing golf when he has the time.
“I used to fly a lot as a private pilot and do a lot of oil painting,” he said. “Occasionally and rarely, I play golf.”
Morgan said his vision for the church is to be a light on the hill and salt to a community.
“Salt is a preservative, and it can save,” he explained. “We want to be salt and light and want to see church members grow in Christ.
“We must be faithful in preaching the whole gospel. I love the word of God and have an ability to preach the word with effectiveness. God has given me a compassionate and loving heart and has shown me how to be humble. Humility is a wonderful character trait.”
“The church is open to all who want to come — the homosexual, drug dealer, drug addict, and wife beater,” he added. “It is a hospital for the sick, and people need to see that we care. The Holy Spirit will draw people.”
Morgan said the church today is as relevant as it was in the first century.
“We all need to be concerned and on our knees,” he said. “Popularity is not important; I only want to be used by God to make a difference.”
Morgan said a pastor has to do three things: preach the whole gospel, care for the flock, and lead the church.
“Those three things lead to being involved in the community,” he said. “A pastor also needs a lot of patience and love.”
Friendship Baptist is active in mission, Morgan said. The church does mission work as part of the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“We do individual missions as a church, providing food and clothing to those in need in the community,” he said. “As part of the cooperative, we can do a greater work in the kingdom. Some of the things we are involved with are the Samaritan purse and shoebox ministry. Mission is paramount in what we do.”
Morgan and his wife Janice live in Screven County and have two daughters and two sons, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.