Bethel honors McMillian for 44 years of service

Published 9:33 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If Inez Streeter had cast the only vote when Bethel Baptist Church was voting on a new preacher, the Rev. L.C. McMillian would not be celebrating 44 years of faithful service to his flock this weekend.

Streeter laughingly said that she just thought McMillian was far too young to pastor Bethel Baptist Church.

“I’m old-fashioned and I thought you had to have an old man in the pulpit,” Streeter said, laughing. “I didn’t think there was any way a young man could handle us old people.”

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Charlie Terry, who is a long and devoted friend of Streeter’s was convinced that young McMillian was the right one to lead Bethel church.

“I said, ‘Now, let’s try that boy off,’ and we voted him in,” Terry said.

McMillian was a Troy boy but he lived on the other side of town from Bethel Baptist Church and he, laughingly, said the young men from one side of town didn’t venture to the other side of town so he was not all that familiar to or with the Bethel congregation.

But once the church “tried that boy off,” there was no one happier and more pleased with the young pastor than Streeter.

“There’s not anything like Rev. McMillian,” she said. “He has made Bethel church. Right off we got a new steeple and we’ve been moving up ever since.”

Terry said that, when McMillian came to Bethel and the choir came out of the stand, they literally stepped out the back door onto the ground.

“I’ve been a member of Bethel Baptist Church for 92 years and nine months, and Rev. McMillian is the best pastor that we’ve ever had. He’s built this church up from the ground, building and all.”

And, McMillian’s not just the pastor for Bethel, he’s “everybody’s preacher,” said Addie Ruth Roberson. “People all over Troy look up to Rev. McMillian. He’s a role model for our young people. They want to be like him. He’s a role model for all of us, because he lives what he preaches.”

McMillian said God put him at Bethel and he has always known Bethel is where he is supposed to be.

“The longer I stay, the better it gets,” McMillian said with a smile. “I love the people here and I want to be a good pastor to them because, if you’re not a good pastor, you can’t be a good preacher. I want to be both.”

McMillian said that being a pastor is a big part of his ministry and that ministry extends beyond the reaches of Bethel Baptist Church.

“Once you are saved by Christ, you grow in grace and you are blessed and then you can be a blessing to others,” McMillian said. “You’ll want to reach out to others and, if people have problems, I want them to know that they can always come to me.”

Callie Starks, church secretary, said McMillian has provided wonderful leadership for Bethel’s membership and has led many to Christ.

“Rev. McMillian is a dynamic preacher and servant of God and we want to show our appreciation to him for his 44 years of leadership,” Starks said. “We love him and we appreciate him and hope he will be with us for many years to come.”

McMillian said he entertains no thoughts of retirement.

“When God calls you, He calls you for a lifetime,” he said. “The people of Bethel have been good and kind to me and I’m here as long as the Lord wants me to stay.”

McMillan’s church family will honor him this weekend for his 44 years of faithful leadership and dedicated service to Bethel Baptist Church, its people and the community.

The celebration services will begin with a fellowship dinner from 6 until 8 p.m. at Julia’s Restaurant in Troy. Those who plan to attend should call the church office at 566-0152 to make reservations.

The pastor appreciation weekend will continue with the 11 a.m. worship service on Sunday with the Rev. Nathaniel Griffin of Oak Grove Baptist Church as the guest minister. A fellowship dinner will be shared and, at 2:30 p.m., the Rev. Carl Hollis of County Line Baptist Church in Brundidge will deliver the anniversary sermon.

Everyone is invited to attend.

all appreciation services.