Dr. Mike Shaw retiring after 35 years as pastor

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—“I always tell people I’m God’s April Fool’s joke on Pelham,” First Baptist Church of Pelham pastor, Dr. Mike Shaw, said.

Shaw

Shaw

Shaw first preached at the First Baptist Church of Pelham as a “trial run” on April 1, 1979. At the time, it was a congregation of about 200 located on Church Street, behind City Hall.

Now, after nearly 35 years under Shaw’s leadership and care, the church is housed in a beautiful building on U.S. 31 and regularly draws between 800 and 1,000 worshipers every Sunday.

On Nov. 3, 2013, Shaw announced that he will retire as the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pelham on May 31.

“It’s kind of surreal, we knew at some point this was going to happen,” associate pastor at the First Baptist Church, Donnie Sisk, said. “[Shaw] has become an iconic part of Pelham.”

Throughout the month of May, the First Baptist Church has plans to celebrate Shaw and all he has done for the church and the community, including presentations from the many people whose lives Shaw has touched and a retirement reception in which the Pelham Mayor Gary Waters will present Shaw with the key to the city and declare May as “Mike Shaw Month.”

“It’s a lot of stuff, but after 35 years, we wanted to do it right,” Sisk said. “He has left a fingerprint across our city, state and country.”

Although Shaw said he will miss preaching, he looks forward to retirement. He and his wife have big plans, including a trip to New York City, an Alaskan cruise and a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. However, he said he is most excited about “being more involved” with his children and grandchildren.

“We’re excited [for him], it’s a great new chapter,” Sisk said. “But change is difficult.”

Shaw and his wife will still remain members of the First Baptist Church of Pelham and residents of the city.

“It was the work of the Lord to do this,” Shaw said. “We’ve blessed to be in Pelham and my 35-year tenure is more a tribute to the people than to me.”