Dr. Donnie Shumate
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Wilkesboro, N.C. has always and will forever have a special place in my heart. My first memories are of home, family, and church. These memories are very important and very precious to me. There were many people who impacted my life and most of them were the very folks that I went to church with every week. Most of these dear people never knew how much their influence impacted my life. Among all these were three great men of God that touched my life, Fellman Cheek, Cecil Hooper, and Phil Chapman.
Pastor Cheek was at Pleasant Grove for only a few short years, but thank God for him being my pastor! It was during his pastorate that I was saved as a ten year old boy. Pastor Cheek preached a message about hell. I realized for the first time that I was headed for that place. I went home under heavy conviction, scared that I would die in my sin. I attended the next service still under the guilt of sin and still scared about the thought of dying unprepared to meet God. The very next Sunday, Pastor Cheek preached again and at invitation time I felt the need to make a step toward the altar. After making that first step I made my way to the altar and it was there Jesus saved my soul. HE makes the difference!
Pastor Hooper was a wonderful preacher whom I loved and respected. He preached with power and was very wise in God’s Word.
Pastor Phil Chapman came to Pleasant Grove when I was about 14 years old. He has been a great help to me over the years. Pastor Chapman married my wife Darlene and I on June 8, 1980.
When I was around thirty we moved to the Brushy Mountain Community and joined Bethany Baptist Church. After a few years of teaching Sunday School, and driving the church van, and singing in the choir, I felt there was something missing in my life. I was also a Scout leader, a volunteer fireman, and member of the Ruritan Club. I worked a very demanding job. Yet it seemed that there was something else lacking. We were faithful to God's house and to the activities of the church. We would take part in all the functions of the church, yet I still felt a void in my life. Once while praying I asked God what it was that I was missing, and in a still small voice, HE said “ Preach….I want you to Preach!" I thought, anything but that LORD! I can’t preach! I don’t know how to preach. My wife didn’t marry a preacher. I am unlearned of the things of the Bible. All I could hear was, “Preach, I want you to Preach”. After several months of running scared I could not get away from the burning desire to preach. It was in January 1997 when I announced my call to the ministry. God opened many doors for me during the first two years. In 1998 I enrolled in Bible College. In 1999 I was called to my first church to Pastor; Oak Forest Baptist Church in Roaring River will always be very special to my heart. In 2002 God began to burden me about leaving Oak Forest Baptist. After 6 months of prayer God led me to resign as pastor there. It was a very hard decision but I know it was the LORD’s will to do so. I resigned two weeks before Brother Kenneth Wiles resigned as Pastor of Bethel Baptist.
Over 20 years have transpired since I came to Bethel Baptist Church. God has truly blessed the ministry, not because of a man, but because of the message of the Gospel. God deserves all the honor, praise and glory. God calls his men to be faithful servants and to follow him. If the words "faithful servant" could be the summation of my life and ministry, I will be more than satified.
Darlene and I have two adult children, Darren Shumate and Dana Felts. We also have two grandchildren Carys and Gabriel Felts.
Bro. Justin Blevins
I was born into a Baptist preacher’s family. My grandfather Ted Combs had faithfully preached and pastored for many years by the time I was born. Every time the doors were opened at Oak Ridge Baptist Church my family would be there. We even went to church when we were on vacation. Having good Christian parents, and a grandfather as pastor only accomplished one thing in my life; it made me a Baptist. But at the age of 9 on April 23, 1995 I became a Saved Baptist. Joel Blevins was preaching revival meeting that night and I, realizing I was lost and would die and go to hell, trusted Christ as savoir with a short repeated prayer “Lord please save me!” THANKS BE TO GOD! HE did just that. The fear of death was gone.
Saved at the age of 9, I soon became quite backslid in my teenage years. Remaining faithful to church was as deep as my Christian life was. My family moved from Oak Ridge Baptist Church to Bethel in 2000. I was deeply convicted of sin but chose to live the way I wanted. God has a way of getting our attention. My sophomore year in high school just 2 weeks before our basketball season would begin I had an accident. I got severely cut on the elbow and after doctors realized I had cut the main nerve running to my hand, I was told the I probably would never play basketball in high school again. After surgery and months of therapy I would play again but God had taken away the joy that I had in this sport. Using that as a speaking point God began to deal with me about preaching his word at the age of 16. Still backslid I began to read the word of God more, hoping the voice would be sufficed. Only to get full assurance of this call thru the word of God. My future plans were to attend NCSU. As a senior in high school I was accepted and would begin in the fall of 2004. During the last few months of preparation the voice of God became much more clear. God began to be very direct to me and after my first night in a dormitory room at NCSU, right then and there I surrendered to the Lord that I would preach. Returning home the following day I told my parents what God would have me do. After the following service on Wednesday August 4, 2004 I told my Pastor Donnie Shumate and the church what God had called me unto.
After dating for almost 3 ½ years I was married to Elisabeth Knight of Lenoir, NC on May 31, 2008.
God used me in local churches for youth Sundays and revival meetings. I thought that God would have me pastor, but I began to work with our Kings Kids Program on Sunday evenings. Teaching our teenage class, God broke my heart for the young people of Bethel Baptist Church. After months of prayer and seeking God’s will, the Pastor asked me about becoming the first Youth Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church. On August 22, 2010 I was ordained and officially became the Youth Pastor. To God be the Glory, great things he hath done!