New pastor tries to Root out evil

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

During the day, he works as an exterminator, but the rest of his time is devoted to pastoring at Calvary Baptist Church in Ironton.

The church had been without a pastor for 10 months when they asked Brian Root, of Proctorville, to become their new pastor.

“I’ve got pretty hard shoes to fill,” said Brian Root, new pastor. “I’m happy I’m a pastor and I’m happy that I’m a preacher. I get excited about that.”

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He doesn’t stand behind the pulpit and preach, he said. He has to use a wireless microphone so he can move around — the old-fashioned way.

A resident of Lawrence County all his life, Root became a Christian when he was 10 years old in Proctorville.

“I’d strayed away and went back out into the world, through a lot of troubles and being a prodigal son, I guess, as the Bible says — but God took me back,” Root said. “When I was 19 years old, I rededicated my life to the Lord and promised Him I’d never leave Him and by the grace of God, I haven’t.”

He joined Pine Grove Freewill Baptist Church in Proctorville in 1985, became an ordained deacon and later was ordained a minister.

Root credits his wife of 22 years, Tana, for having a lot to do with him going back into the church. They have raised their daughter, Brittany, also in the church.

“I’d seen her life and how she lived and I remembered — that’s what I wanted,” he said. “She knows what it’s like to be a minister’s wife but not a pastor’s wife, so this is all new to both of us.”

Tana Root plays the piano at Pine Grove and has been going to that church all her life, he said. She is a cancer survivor and is cancer-free today.

On April 16, 2000, Root answered a call to preach at Pine Grove.

“When I would read the word, it would jump out of the page at me,” Root said. “It became real for the first time. I was getting a true understanding of it.”

He sought advice from one of the “saints” of his church who has since passed on.

“Just run from the calling and if it’s God, he’ll stop you,” was the advice he received.

He took that advice and he ran from the calling for two years, he said. “I kept praying and one night my pastor, Brian Phillips, was preaching and I knew that God was calling me to preach.”

When he answered the call, he said it felt like being converted all over again because he had a burden and knew that God had stopped him and told him to preach his word.

Since then, Root has preached in churches throughout Lawrence County.

“I actually felt like that if I didn’t answer the call he would take me to Heaven because I wouldn’t be doing him any good,” he said. “After seven years, I’ve still got a lot to learn.”

They licensed him at Pine Grove and made him assistant pastor in 2004. Then in June he accepted the position as pastor at Calvary Baptist.

“I think it’s as good as you make it, and these are the most loving people I’ve ever met in my life — like Pine Grove,” Root said. “It was a perfect fit for me to have my first church here.”

One of his goals as the new pastor is to get youth in the community involved in the church and he wants anyone looking for a church to join them at Calvary Baptist.

“I’m going to pray about some programs, different things to do,” Root said. “This being my first church, pastoring for the first time, it’s a little scary but I’m anxious to really get started.”