By: Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer
September 27, 2013
Dr. Gary H. Threatt is a man on a mission, and he knows what it takes to do his best for the community and his congregation, while keeping a strong focus of doing what is right for the greater good and the glory of God.
He is the new pastor at Grove Park Baptist Church in Clinton, having been called by that congregation to serve them and God just over a month ago.
How Threatt ended up in Clinton in mid-August of this year could be considered divine providence.
Threatt said a man he worked with over 30 years ago knew about Grove Park’s search for a minister, and while in Virginia as a member of a search group that matches ministers with potential churches, he mentioned to Threatt that he might be a good fit for the Clinton church, a belief that, by all accounts, has turned out to be spot on.
During the search process, Threatt eventually made a visit to Clinton and Grove Park, wanting to see his potential church home. He was about to leave the sanctuary following the service when the church members started talking about a visiting minister coming to preach a pre-call sermon. The next thing he knew his picture was being flashed up on a screen in the front of the church.
He later came to hear that one of the parishioners exclaimed “That’s my cousin!” It didn’t take long for Threatt to find that cousin, Jamie Little. They hadn’t seen each other in a long time and Threatt didn’t even know at the time that he was a member at Grove Park.
Threatt eventually conducted the pre-call sermon and the rest, now, is history.
Before coming to Grove Park Baptist, Threatt’s last job was as a foreign missionary in Ethiopia. For almost 10 years, he stayed in Ethiopia and then decided to return stateside in 2012. It was that year when he decided to start looking for his next church to pastor. Both he and his wife, Becky, have a passionate history of missionary work.
“Being a missionary is putting yourself in uncomfortable situations so others can be comfortable,” Threatt said. “Keeping Jesus in the forefront of the efforts of the church,” he said, “is critical. Staying involved and engaged in the community is a particularly important component of the church’s mission.”
The future of Grove Park is clear to Threatt, and he wants to continue in the strong outreach that the church has participated in for the past few years. Some of those efforts will be seen on Oct. 6 at the church’s “Grove Park Day” which is considered the church’s homecoming.
“I have been very impressed with the community here,” said Threatt. Threatt and his wife Becky are planning to run in the Downtown Dash in Clinton in Octobr, just one way of becoming a part of this community.
Grove Park is very active in the surrounding community and has many fundraisers, including a blood drive coming up next week. The multigenerational church of 600 has an excellent music program and also has Wednesday night mission ministries with a supper. The church has programs involving the youth, including a grade-based choir that the children enjoy participating in. Books are also available for checkout in their congregation through their church’s media center.
“We want to continue reaching out and engaging the community,” said Threatt. This fits in with their motto of “Living the Life: Worship, Growth, and Serving.” The church community at Grove Park has been invested in the community since the 1950s, and has stayed strong throughout the years.
Threatt is from Marshville and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has been married for 30 years to Becky, who works in the SimLab at Wingate University as the director of the Nursing Department. He has three children, two sons and a daughter.
For more information about Grove Park Baptist Church please contact the church at 910-592-3937 or www.groveparkbaptist.com