While no stranger to the office of a pastor, he is new to Liberty County.
On Aug. 1, Michael Carden became the pastor of Fleming Baptist Church. A native of Columbus, Ga., Carden served as the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Ludowici, before assuming leadership at Fleming Baptist.
“I have been in the ministry for 15 years and have served as a pastor for 15 years,” Carden said. “My first church was Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Ponce De Leon, Fla.”
Carden said he is excited about his new pastorship, adding that the people at Fleming Baptist Church are very loving and caring.
“They truly, truly care for one another,” he said. “This is truly the first church I have been a part of that when people come to the altar, members come and join them and pray with them. The members have a heart for God and people and are dedicated to God. They are not shy about trying something new if it is of God. They understand that the message does not change, but sometimes we have a different method.
“Since coming on board in August, 20 new members have joined the church,” Carden said. “Attendance is increasing, and we now have 60-70 in our Sunday school class. I give all the credit and glory to God, because without Him, I can do nothing.
“I am a people person, and I care about where people are going to spend eternity,” the pastor said. “When I come into contact with people, if God gives me an opportunity, I want them to get to know Jesus. I meet them on a physical need and then on a spiritual need.
“Jesus met the needs of the people. My vision for Fleming Baptist is to be a church that is dedicated and committed to serving the Lord, as opposed to being a church where there is no unity,” Carden said. “We are going to become closer and more unified as a church so we will be able to be a tool in the hand of God to reach out to the community. We have a lot of different subdivisions in the area, and we must get out and meet the needs of the people and introduce them to Jesus.”
The church is heavily involved in mission outreach and evangelism.
“As part of our evangelistic outreach, every third Friday at 6:30 p.m., we open our gym for skating. This is an evangelism tool we use to reach out to the community,” the pastor said. “We have a light supper, and skates are available for children or they can bring their own.
“We have various ministries to include the WOM (women’s ministry), brotherhood, Bible study, music and youth,” Carden said. “Our women’s ministry is involved in the Samaritans purse ministry, and they prepared 125 boxes for distribution. We also have the angel tree ministries, wherein members take a name from the Christmas tree and buy a gift for a child in need.
“The brotherhood ministry looks for ways to be involved in the community,” the pastor explained. “We helped build a ramp, and our brotherhood, along with men from Friendship Baptist in Midway and Daniel Baptist in Richmond, are going to repair a roof for a family.”
Members of Fleming Baptist will present a Christmas cantata, “Emmanuel — God with Us,” during today’s 11 a.m. service.
For more information, go to flemingbaptistchurch.org or call 884-5759.