Story by Allison Griffin of Montgomery Advertiser: WHITE HALL, ALABAMA — The rural church is packed on a sweltering Sunday afternoon with friends, family and members of the congregation, all of whom are here to see a young man officially answer his call from God.
Courtney Meadows has been preparing his whole life for this moment — he’s officially taking over as pastor of his own church. He’s 19 years old.
Those who’ve watched him grow up say his anointing came early. He started inquiring about God at age 3, said his mother, Tanya Meadows. He preached his first sermon at age 6; he became a licensed minister at age 9, and was ordained at 18.
Now, he has his own congregation.
“He’s always been an extraordinary child,” his mother said. “Just different. He really loved to go to church and worship God.”
A peaceful transition
It’s not just his tender age that makes this a significant event: He’s been groomed for this calling, and is taking over from the pastor who’s headed the First Missionary Baptist Church in White Hall for the past 41 years.
Usually, depending on the denomination, either a pastor is voted out or he dies before there’s a movement for a new pastor, Meadows said. Such transitions can be tumultuous, but at First Missionary, the process has been planned and peaceful.
“There’s no success without a successor,” he said.
He’s taking over from the Rev. L.L. Brown Sr., now in his 80s.
“He has been a blessing to me,” Brown said during Meadows’ installation service. “I’ve met a lot of preachers, but he stands out to me.
“I thank God for this young man.”
A number of pastors spoke at Meadows’ installation, offering praise for his growth as well as advice for his future as a senior pastor. The primary messenger was the Rev. Ezekiel Pettway Sr. of Maggie Street Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, who has been Meadows’ pastor for the past seven years.
“What a blessing it is to be used by God at such a young age,” Pettway said during the service.
“I always knew there was greatness in you.”
Pettway, who Meadows calls an “exceptional leader,” will continue to provide Meadows guidance, as will Brown and the board of deacons and trustees at the church.
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