Adellum Baptist Church welcomes Rev. Ben Stewart as next pastor

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

Rev. Ben Stewart has a goal to grow the younger audience at Adellum Baptist Church and wants to serve as a listener who helps others in his role as the church’s next pastor.

Rev. Stewart was born and raised in Picauyne, Mississippi, and a resident of Lucedale, Mississippi, before he relocated to Andalusia on Friday, Nov. 24. His roots in ministry began at the age of 15 in his high school history class.

“I had finished all my work and asked my teacher if I could read my Bible for a little bit. He gave me the go ahead, and I was reading the book of Romans. While reading the verses, I saw where it said, ‘God has called you for a specific purpose.’ Later that year, I went on a mission trip with my church to the country of Senegal in Africa,” Stewart said.

While in Senegal, he stated that one of his team members gave him an illustration of sheep and goats.

“Those goats would go and mess up everything. I remember shelling some peanuts, and this goat comes up to stick his head in the bowl of peanuts. He starts eating them right out of our hand and makes a mess out of everything. The sheep was sitting on the road with his head down because he knew the path he was supposed to follow. He was not causing any problems for anybody else and followed the shepherd. I told God I didn’t want to be a goat but want to do what you have called me to do. From then, I talked to my home pastor who gave me some books to read.”

His first job was serving as a youth minister at New Life Baptist Church in Nicholson, Mississippi, in 2015. He then served as a youth guide and was promoted to associate pastor at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Lucedale.

Rev. Stewart currently attends New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is 28 years old. He will complete his bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry in the spring of 2024.

“One of my favorite things to do in ministry is teaching, which I have always had a passion for. I’m comfortable doing it, and people enjoy listening to me. It gives you the opportunity to teach somebody something, especially with the younger generations. You’re helping build them up because they will be the next set of people to run the church someday. The sad thing is that there are not a lot of younger people in the church anymore, and I hope to change that here with Adellum. I love being someone people want to talk to whether that’s through counseling or a friend to hang out with,” he said.

His first sermon at Adellum will be Sunday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. with a focus on Christmas season. His first sermon is titled “The Light That Brings Hope Within the Darkness.”

“This references Jesus being the light of the world. I want to start us off at the Christmas season and get us in the right mindset. A lot of people are all about family, friends, celebrations, and get-togethers. Those are all wonderful things, but we don’t need to neglect the fact that there is a Savior who has come to this world to save all of our souls. We don’t need to forget that and need to know Jesus was a living person who came to save us.”

Rev. Stewart met with the congregation when he spoke two Sundays a few months ago. He was ordained in December 2022.

“For one, this is a wonderful opportunity to help build myself, my faith, and my ministry. God has uniquely called us each and every one of us to a specific purpose. From talking to them, there are very loving people in the church as well as Andalusia. I’m grateful to serve as the new pastor here and know I can grow from being here while helping people as well. This church is incredibly friendly and welcoming and have gone out of their way to make sure I am taken care of,” he said.

With adults comprising most of the church’s congregation, one of his goals is to attract the younger generation more.

“Being young, I would like to see more young people attending Adellum. I know there is always a separation between the older and younger when it comes to church dynamics, but I don’t want that separation. I want them to all fit together as one big family, which is what I hope to accomplish here. I am trying to focus on the present and what I can do around the Christmas season,” Stewart said.

He is the son of Randy and Sonja Stewart with two older brothers: Stephen and Doug.

“We went through quite a few résumés and really liked his. He was immediately interested after we gave him a call. Our committee was very impressed with his character and forthright answers to our questions. Everybody came away with a love for Ben, and we voted to select him as our pastor. As a senior-driven congregation, I believe he brings new life to the church and will hopefully bring in the younger generation. He was sincere about everything we discussed, and we were impressed,” said Adellum Baptist Church Pastor Search Committee Chairman Keith Parrish.