A Bryan County commissioner has taken on another job after being called to preach at a rural church.
Jay Perry, commissioner for District No. 3, assumed pastor duties Sunday at Bennington First Baptist Church.
During his first sermon as pastor of this small-town church, he spoke with passion and enthusiasm, citing scripture, while also showing hospitality that is expected from country folks. As people entered the church while Perry was preaching, he paused and said, “Y’all come on in.”
He spoke about a common problem among people and how there is hope.
“Now, I know we don’t have any worriers here this morning,” Perry preached. “None of y’all worry about stuff do you? OK, well, I’m the only one. Well, I’m gonna preach this to myself. My psychological profile, you didn’t know I had one did you, says that I’m task oriented. I zero in on stuff.
“We all get discouraged. That’s something we all have in common. We all have times of weakness. We have times when we’re confused or we begin to doubt about the things that are going on in our life. And I just want to encourage you that the next time that you just think that you can’t go on, think about what Jesus went through. Next time that you think you can’t go on, think again. ‘Cause I’ll guarantee you that you can. The Bible says consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself.”
Perry was converted, baptized, then later licensed and ordained to the gospel ministry at the age of 18. He graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Criswell Bible College in Dallas, Texas.
He moved back to Bennington after college and has been in pastoral ministry for the last 28 years. Perry was elected commissioner in 2010, and again in 2014. He plans to run again in 2018. He began serving as pastor of the Bennington First Baptist Church June 4.
“I started out at Bennington and now, I moved back as the shepherd,” Perry said. “I actually became a believer at the age of 16 and I accepted Christ and was baptized at Bennington … I was licensed and ordained here at the age of 18.”
Perry is looking forward to seeing the church grow.
“I’m really excited to come back and to be the pastor about 36 years later,” he said. “It’s been quite a spell, but I’m really excited to be here. I’m really excited to lead the church and see it grow. It’s been a long time coming. I was just a child then. Now, I’m the old gray haired man, the old bald-headed man. But it’s sure good to be back. We’re excited about what God’s going to do here in the church and we’re looking to grow and reach out.”
Perry’s family has a long history in Bennington.
Perry Street in Bennington was named after his grandfather who was county commissioner in the same district for 10 years.
“We raised money for the 911 signs by making and selling chicken tamales at school in FFA,” Perry said.
The Bennington First Baptist Church has been an important part of his family.
“This church means a lot to my family,” Perry said. “I first came for VBS as a child. My brother, Tony, and my brother, David Eugene, were saved and baptized in this church. My little sister, Cheryl, was saved and baptized in this church. My daddy was saved and baptized into this church. My mom was a member of this church. I have had lots of extended family members make decisions in this church as well. My wife will also tell you that this church is where we first met at a summer revival.”
Perry said during his sermon that Jesus came to minister. That is the role Perry sees for the church.
“The whole job of this church is to reach people … I learned a long time ago that it is not my hold on God that saves me,” Perry said. “It’s His hold on me.”
Sunday school starts at 10 a.m. and the service begins at 11. The evening service is at 6. There is a prayer service at 7 p.m. Tuesday and the Wednesday service is at 6 p.m.
People are invited to attend.
“I would just like to see this church become a blessing and a help to the whole community,” Perry said.
Contact Matt Swearengin at 634-2160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.