PASSING THE MANTLE: PLEASANT HILL BAPTIST WELCOMES NEW PASTOR
By Wesley Martin
This upcoming Sunday, October 7, Pastor-Elect Elmore Locke III will be formally installed as the senior pastor of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church (3438 Market Street) at 3 p.m. Locke, 33, says he has been involved in ministry since the age of seven.
“I heard the voice of God at the age of six,” added Locke who attended the All Saints Holiness Church where his father served as the senior pastor.
Locke began attending Pleasant Hill 11 years ago as the acting piano and organ player.
“I didn’t want to see the church have a great split,” Locke said explaining one of the reasons why he is filling the position. “But the main reason I wanted to do this was to continue adding souls to the body of Christ.”
Locke said during his tenure at Pleasant Hill, he learned a lot from his predecessor, L. D. Wesley Sr., who served the church for over 52 years.
Born in Monroe County, Ala. in 1931, Wesley Sr. became the pastor of Pleasant Hill in 1959.
Lonnie D. Wesley III, pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church (901 N. “A” Street), says his father was a true visionary with honest principles.
“I would describe him as a pastor as being stern, loving, giving and fun,” Wesley III said. “Daddy, he was into community involvement before community involvement was coined – before it was cool.”
One example of the impact Wesley Sr. had in the community was the all-girls softball team he initiated during the 1970s.
“For many of them he was a father-figure,” Wesley III said. “He was an advisor to their parents and he used softball to get many of their parents saved and into the church.”
“Dad took the ministry seriously,” Wesley III continued. “He didn’t play with preaching – it wasn’t a gig to dad,” Wesley III said. “He knew that he had been called to preach and he did his best to do that.”
Wesley III said he learned many things that he applies in life from his father. When it comes to ministry, one important matter is above all: don’t play with the gospel.
“Church is not a game, church is not a toy,” Wesley III said. “We have one life to live and we should do our best to live it for the Lord. I took that right off of the top from my father.”