Pastor celebrates time in Pelham

Published 1:23 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You may know him as the kind, godly man you pass in the grocery store, as the pastor who helps your family navigate through some of life’s most exciting or somber times, or you may know him simply as one of Shelby County’s best high school football prognosticators from the Reporter’s football pick ‘em contest.

But chances are, if you’ve spent much time in Shelby County or in one of its finest cities, you know Pelham’s Pastor Mike Shaw.

Pastor Shaw joined Pelham First Baptist Church the day after Mother’s Day in 1979. He has prayed for and led the congregation since that day with a shepherd’s hand: never ordering the congregation to anything, but rather gently guiding them in the right direction.

Mattie Gaston, my wife’s maternal grandmother and a staunch Presbyterian for most of her 103 years, gave me some excellent advice years ago while I was courting her granddaughter: always pick a church for the congregation rather than the pastor, because the pastor can change quickly. The members of Pelham First Baptist Church have enjoyed both a congregation and a pastor that would tempt even a lifelong Presbyterian to join their ranks.

The church, under Pastor Shaw’s watch, has grown in its membership, its mission and its outreach.

The congregation has built churches, begun ministries, and witnessed to and prayed for one another as well as for others. And they have helped change lives.

Later this summer, Pastor Shaw and members of the congregation will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church. They and their community have much to celebrate indeed.