Burdette Baptist pastor took an early call

Published 9:19 am Saturday, August 3, 2013


BURDETTE—The Rev. Collis “Buck” Bryant III says the fact that he’s a pastor is God’s fault.

Collis “Buck” Bryant III is the pastor at Burdette Baptist Church. -- MERLE MONAHAN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Collis “Buck” Bryant III is the pastor at Burdette Baptist Church. — MERLE MONAHAN | TIDEWATER NEWS

“He told me when I was a teenager that I was to preach His Word and here I am,” the 47-year-old said with a smile.

Bryant has been bi-vocational pastor of Burdette Baptist Church for just under a year. He came to the small country church from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Franklin, where he was the bi-vocational pastor.

Prior to that, he served as the full-time pastor at Fellowship Baptist in Elizabeth City, N.C.

Born and raised in the Suffolk-Franklin area, he says he and his family, wife Lisia and three daughters, Rachael, Rebecca and Charity, are “right at home” in the Burdette area. His two sons, Caleb and Joshua, are grown and live elsewhere.

“The people are wonderful, God-loving people,” Bryant went on. “They also love their church, which, by the way, will be 105 years old in October.”

Bryant added the brick church is the second structure on this site. The first, a frame building, was struck by lightning and burned in 1974.

According to the church history, lightning struck the steeple and destroyed most of the building. Members tore down what was left of the burned structure, and by 1975 the present church was completed.

When Pastor Buck, as he is called, assumed his duties at Burdette, the church had been without a pastor for a few months, he said.

“Attendance was down to around 20 to 25 on any given Sunday. There was no choir.

“But, I am happy to say that now there are from 60 to 70 in the congregation each Sunday and 90-plus on special occasions, like when we have a children’s program or at Christmas.”

A typical Sunday service, he says, starts with Bible study at 10 a.m. and the worship service at 11 a.m.

He adds that they also have a pianist and Bryant, who is himself an accomplished musician, sings a solo during the service.

His plans for the church are to start more programs for youth and to continue to build membership in the church, “like the ones I grew up in,” he said.

The young pastor said he remembers when he was about five, watching Pat Robinson on television before church.

“He talked about sinning and said if you did something wrong, it was a sin and if you prayed to God for forgiveness, He’d forgive you.

“Well, I remember praying with Pat several times,” Bryant said, grinning.

“My family all went to church,” he added. “In fact, I went to kindergarten at First Baptist Church in Suffolk, then we moved to Franklin and attended Calvary Baptist.

“I accepted Christ at Calvary, but when the day came for me to be baptized, I was sick, so I was later baptized at Liberty Baptist in Suffolk, by my pastor from Calvary.”

Bryant says he was at a Christian youth camp when he realized God had called him to preach.

While a senior in high school, Bryant was accepted at a Bible College in the fall of 1983 and went on to finish his training at Atlantic Bible College in Chester.

He said he is where he wants to be. He is humbled that God has called him to preach and thankful that God sent him to Burdette.

“It is a wonderful experience,” Bryant said.