New pastor has heart for youthPublished 10:41pm Thursday, March 7, 2013
Pastor Robert Meredith is used to leading a youth group larger than his entire congregation is now. But that’s not stopping him from trying to grow what he’s been given.
Meredith is the new pastor of Suffolk Church of God on Kilby Avenue, just south of the historic downtown. He started the first week of January after moving from Pulaski County, where as the youth minister he had helped grow the youth group from about eight kids to 60 or 70 who attended regularly.
“God really blessed us,” he said of his position there. “We kind of took that youth ministry to a new level, and it’s still thriving today.”
After a few years there, however, Meredith and his wife, Kasi, began to feel called for him to move to a senior pastor position. They found the Suffolk Church of God, nestled into a residential neighborhood with a regular attendance of about 60 on Sunday mornings.
“One of the adjustments has been the youth group is smaller,” Meredith said. “But I want to be faithful in what God has given us. It’s a very friendly church, and we want to be a church that has hope and love for the city and the neighborhood.”
To that end, the church will hold a youth day on April 7. A special speaker, a youth pastor from Summerville, Ga., will be featured.
Meredith has such a heart for youth because he was a young person himself, age 13, when he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. Since that time, he felt a desire to do something for the Lord.
“I was never sure until I felt like God called me,” he said.
That calling happened while he studied at Lee University in Tennessee, where he received a Bachelor of Science in pastoral ministry and a Bachelor of Arts in history in 2004. Soon after he accepted the call, “everything in my life began to speed up,” he said.
About a month later, he had his first opportunity to preach. Two weeks after that, he met Kasi. The couple now has two children, Lani, 3, and Robert, 7 months.
The church as a whole hopes to attract more children with its upcoming youth day and other events, he said.
“The church wants to reach out to young people and the children,” he said. “I feel like God has grand things planned ahead for us.”