Meet the Pastor: Randy Reid

Published 5:35 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

By Chanel Bingham

Religion Columnist

Randy Reid always felt a calling toward the ministry. His father was a preacher, so it seemed like a natural transition.

“In fifth grade, I had to write an essay about what I wanted to be when I grew up. All of my friends wanted to be doctors, lawyers, firemen, policemen and plumbers, but I wanted to be a preacher of the word,” he explained. “It’s what I always wanted to do.”

As he entered his teen years, he began to question his future career choice.

“I thought it was a youthful, immature ambition of just wanting to be like my dad,” he said. “It wasn’t for lack of desire, though; it was a loss of expectation. I convinced myself that I wasn’t qualified enough, articulate enough or confident enough.”

Although his expectation had waivered, he continued to serve as a volunteer in the church under his father’s ministry. When he was 19, the Lord reignited the call on his life, and he began to look forward to the day when the Lord would launch him into ministry. He would soon find out it wouldn’t take long.

“A distant relative of mine was a lay preacher in his church. His pastor was going to be away, and he was in charge of getting speakers,” he shared. “He ran into me in town one day and asked me to come and preach. I told him I couldn’t do that because I wasn’t a preacher. So, he asked if I could testify. I said yes and gave a 30-minute testimony, and it ignited something in me.”

The word spread that Reid had spoken at the small church, and soon others began to call and invite him to testify. He preached at his dad’s church and finally fully surrendered to the call of ministry.

During this time, he continued to serve as a volunteer at the church his father pastored while going through the management program at Winn-Dixie and taking night classes at the local college.

At 24, he began to receive invitations to pastor churches in the Mobile area. But with each opportunity, the Lord wouldn’t allow Reid to accept the invitation.

“I wanted to accept these positions but, after prayer, the Holy Spirit just prompted my spirit that I couldn’t take them,” he said. “It’s kind of like Paul in the Book of Acts where the Lord closed the doors of Asia and wouldn’t let him go; the Lord wouldn’t let me go and accept the position. I think the reason why is because he was preparing me to come to Clanton.”

Reid would go on to complete the management program at Winn-Dixie and was moved from Mobile to Jackson, Alabama.

While in Jackson, he pursued his ordination credentials and was guest preaching and running revivals while managing the Winn-Dixie store. He was then transferred to the Greenville store and began volunteering at a local church in the area.

He continued to run revivals and fill in for preachers. It was during this time that the Lord opened the doors for Reid to come to Clanton.

“Our district officers in Montgomery called to tell me there was a little church in Clanton that had lost their pastor and needed pulpit ministry,” he explained. “They asked if I would be willing to come, and I did.

“My first time ever preaching was in February of 1994. I wasn’t trying out for the position of pastor; I was just filling the pulpit. They were already in talks with a pastor who they brought on to serve the church. He was there for one year.”

One year to the day, Reid received a second call from the district officers who asked if he would be willing to go back to Clanton. He agreed and began to develop a relationship with the people of the church while they pursued a new pastor.

The officers reached out to him and asked if he would be interested in serving as the full-time pastor of the church. After much prayer and discussion, he agreed and left his management job at Winn-Dixie to serve as the pastor at Clanton First Assembly of God.

Since August of 1995, Reid has been serving the community of Clanton.

“It’s a great community,” he said joyfully. “Both of my kids were born and raised here, and this has become home to us. We love the community and the people.”

The mission of Clanton First Assembly of God is to cultivate a well-rounded disciplinary life in the hearts of Christians.

“There are five elements to what we try to do in the form of ministry,” he explained. “It includes worshipping the Lord, winning the lost, discipling the saints, fellowship with one another and sending out disciples. It’s a complete cycle.”

Reid also shares that the church is big on local evangelism.

“I believe one of the purposes of the church is to reach the community with the love of Jesus,” he said. “We are not called by God to take up a spot on Highway 31 just to meet together and have church. It’s not meant to be a social gathering.

“We are called to go out into mission field, win the lost and be an example to our community. Church is meant to be a training ground. We have an annual spring outreach. We go out on a Saturday in April and hand out 1,500 water bottles, wash cars and hand out books of hope, all while our kids are walking a cross through town.”

Clanton First Assembly of God also has a children’s outreach in the park, a door-to-door ministry, doughnuts to businesses and teachers and a back-to-school outreach with snow cones.

When the topic changes to denominations, Reid shares that he is happy with the progress we have made as a community in breaking down denominational barriers.

“One of the things that really encourages me is the camaraderie across denominational lines. Not too many decades ago, the Baptists were afraid of the Pentecostals, and the Pentecostals were afraid of the Methodists. If you didn’t carry my label, you were considered less ‘Christian.’” There are some differences that we are never going to resolve among us, but we understand that if you call Jesus Lord, I can call you brother. We are saved by the blood of Jesus.”

While he finds encouragement in denominational progress, he expresses concern over the high numbers of young people who fall away from church after they graduate.

“We tend to focus more on programs that appeal to youth rather than focus on the need of their heart. The church primarily is not going to be able to compete with that which the world offers youth. We don’t have the money or resources,” he stated. “When we appeal to surface interest of young people, the world will always be able to to that better. They will eventually become uninterested in a youth ministry that is trying to be cool, hip and contemporary. I’m all for bubbles and smoke and strobe lights because it’s fun.

“I enjoy that, but fun will only take you for a temporary period of time. When the lights are turned off and the bubbles have all popped and the strobe lights have stopped spinning, then what are you left with? I believe what it takes to get young people is what it’s going to take to keep young people.

“If you attract them with bells and whistles, then you have to keep that going to keep them coming back. But if you attract them with a fulfilment of what they really need, that will satisfy them. The church needs to focus on what it’s called to do. We need to minister to the inward need of the young people.”

Reid leaves us with a reminder that we should focus our hearts and minds on those things which are eternal.

“People need to realize that their time on earth is short,” he said. “One hundred years from now, what we cherish most won’t amount to a hill of beans. It won’t matter how many trophies we have in the the trophy case. It’s those things that we do for Christ that will continue on after we’re gone. We are in this place in the time to make the maximum, positive impact on the people around us. We need to redeem the time and recognize what a great gift we have been given.”

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20