Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Barker Celebrates 50 Years of Ministry

     Cornerstone Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Texas held a celebration on Oct. 15 to honor their pastor, Larry Barker’s 50-year anniversary in the ministry. Here is a summary of those 50 years of ministry:

     In 1973, a 14-year-old boy felt the call of God to preach. He went forward at church in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., and talked with his pastor, Bobby Bowman who told him that he didn’t know of many churches looking for a 14-year-old pastor and to keep praying about it. So, he did. Larry shared during the service that during one of the invitations in May 1973, he was gripping the pew so tightly that his best friend, Gary Bowman, told him that if he didn’t surrender, he would never get relief. After a while, he couldn’t stand it any longer and went forward again during the invitation. This time, Bro. Bobby said to him, “I was wondering what was taking you so long!”

     On June 13, 1973, Larry Barker was licensed to preach by Westwood Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He preached in churches, children’s church, nursing homes, etc. He also did a summer internship in Birmingham with Arthur Johnson before heading to Central Baptist College in the fall of 1976. While at CBC, he served as youth and music pastor at Berean Baptist Church in North Little Rock and Landmark Baptist Church in England, where he was ordained on Dec. 20, 1980, after he accepted his first pastorate at West Boulevard Baptist Church in Marion, Ill. at 21 years old. Bro. Larry’s wife, Shelby shared, “We drove up to Illinois in view of a call in our Trans Am and the deacon looked at us with raised eyebrows, but they called, and we went.”

     Larry later served as a pastor of Landmark Baptist Church in Oswego, Ill., Heritage Baptist Church in Nevada, Mo. as an interstate missionary, Fairview Baptist Church in Laurel, Miss and Ash Street Baptist Church in Muscogee, Okla. He also served as associate pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Swartz Creek, Mich. In 1992, he was elected to serve as an interstate missionary to plant Northside Baptist Church in Sandwich, Ill.

     Beginning in 1997, Larry and Shelby served as missionaries to Romania and were endorsed by the BMAA in 1999. In 2005, Larry was elected as Romanian church planter coordinator and also served as the director of Barnabas Touch. In 2007, he was selected by BMAA Missions Executive Director Grady Higgs to serve as director of operations for North America. He currently serves as vice president of church strategy and training for BMA Global.

     Shelby shared, “I have been honored to be with him for 45 of those 50 years. The Lord has blessed us with three children, two precious daughters-in-law and eight wonderful grandchildren, along with a host of precious friends along the way. Who knew where the Lord would lead and take us… but it’s all to His glory, praise and faithfulness!”

     The church surprised Larry with the celebration and even invited special guests that were revealed at a special time at the beginning of the service. After the service, the church continued the celebration with lunch to celebrate Bro. Larry and the other pastors of the church for Pastor Appreciation Month.