As a teenager, Pastor Timothy Braddock of Emerald Coast Baptist Church in Destin began his preaching career.
The pastor, 27, is from Statesville, N.C., and received Christ as his Savior at the young age of 5.
“My first public message was at a local church in North Carolina when I was 16 years old,” Braddock told The Log. “Since then the Lord has given me the opportunity to preach in many venues, including youth meetings/rallies, juvenile detention centers, nursing homes, church-wide revival meetings, street ministries, homes for troubled teens, and waterfront missions. I am thankful for any and all opportunities He has given me to preach His Word.”
While attending Pensacola Christian College from 2003-2007 and studying in the area of youth ministries, Braddock said it was “here that God brought me my life long friend and wife, Sara.” The couple married in 2007.
In December 2011, Braddock felt led to Destin to pastor his first church. The sending church, Charity Baptist Church in Pensacola, has given the couple much support in their efforts leading to the first services on Sept. 23, 2012.
“The Lord guided my wife and I to Destin through life's circumstances,” he said. “After seeking godly counsel from at least a dozen pastors and evangelists, and spending many hours in prayer, we knew the Lord was guiding us to establish the Emerald Coast Baptist Church in Destin.”
The new church is based on an old-fashioned principle — preach, proclaim, and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“There is no greater fact in life for a person to believe in than the Gospel — the creator of the universe clothed himself in human flesh, was born of a virgin, died on an old rugged cross, and rose again on the third day so that sinners like you and me could receive the gift of eternal life,” Braddock said. “His purpose was to help people, and, although we at Emerald Coast Baptist Church are not perfect, by His grace we strive to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of people.”
Braddock said it is common practice for a new church plant to withhold opening membership for a short period of time, giving people an opportunity to get to know them. After counsel with other pastors, ECBC felt it best to wait six months, and will officially open for membership March 24.
“We invite any and all who seek a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ to join us as we engage in gospel preaching, old fashioned singing, Bible teaching, Christian serving, and spiritual growing,” Braddock said.
Both drawbacks and blessings can come with being a pastor at such a young age.
“I realize God has given me a duty and a calling,” Braddock said. “It could best be summarized by the words of the apostle Paul to the young preacher Timothy. "... These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
Although the hardest aspect of being a pastor is watching people reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Braddock said watching positive results from hearing the gospel is most rewarding.
“With Him, the impossible suddenly becomes possible, messes become miracles, and what was once in ruins becomes restored again by His power and grace.”
All are welcome to attend services at Emerald Coast Baptist Church, currently held at the Buck Destin Park facility on Legion Drive. Sunday school at ECBC begins at 9:30 a.m. with worship at 10:30 a.m. Sunday evening worship begins at 5:30 p.m. and the Wednesday Master’s Club, a Bible club designed for children ages 3 through sixth grade, meets at 7 p.m.