The pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, Ruel Martin, will retire this year.
The congregation will host a community party at the church on Aug. 10, from 1-3 p.m., to honor Martin’s service and dedication to the church over the past two years.
Lunch, cake and punch will be provided at the party.
“Everyone’s invited, church members and community members,” said Lynn Townley, a member of Liberty Baptist and one of the party organizers.
Martin, announced his resignation two months ago, but will stay on as head pastor until a new one is chosen.
“He won’t leave us until a new pastor is found. That’s the kind of man he is,” said church member Vickie Wofford.
At this time, a new pastor has not been selected to take over Martin’s position.
Martin, born and raised in Forsyth County, became a pastor in 1971, when he was 29-years-old and has pastored six churches throughout his lifetime.
He pastored Timber Ridge Baptist Church in Hall County for five years, Mayfield Baptist Church in Forsyth County for five years, Oak Grove Baptist Church in Forsyth for 13 years, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Forsyth for three years, Roanoke Baptist Church for seven years and finally came to be pastor at Liberty Baptist Church two years ago.
“I was called by God into the ministry,” said Martin. “I have loved every moment of it, because I have taken the steps that Christ would have taken if he was on earth. I just thank Him for my time here and do not regret a single moment of any of the time I’ve spent serving people.”
The last two years at Liberty Baptist have been particularly rewarding for Martin.
“This church is just alive. It’s filled with God’s people, young and old, and they are just wonderful,” he said.
While Martin is stepping down from his longtime pastoral ministry, he will remain an active leader at Liberty Baptist.
“He’s not going to pastor the church any longer, but he is still going to preach,” explained Townley. “He is one of the most humble and loving men I have ever met,” she added.
“He has compassion for everybody. He goes out of his way for people and far beyond the duties of being a pastor. He shows his love toward everybody and treats everybody the same,” said Wofford.
Even though Martin will remain active in ministry, he will miss the distinct role of pastoring a church.
“I will miss all of it. I will never quit serving God’s people, though. Never. There’s no discharge from His service,” said Martin.
Martin and his wife, Toni Martin, have been married for 46 years, have three children and five grandchildren. The pair has devoted their entire adult lives to Christian ministry and raising their family.
“It’s all we’ve ever known,” said Toni Martin.
Toni Martin believes her husband’s unyielding love and acceptance for all people has sustained their ministry.
“He loves everybody and anybody. That’s all he ever wanted to do. I hope he’s always remembered for the love he showed to everybody. He’s a man that his children can look up to and be proud that he’s their father and the churches can be proud that he’s served there,” she added.
Once Martin steps down from pastoring Liberty Baptist Church, not only will he continue to serve at the church, but he will also remain the chaplain of American Protein in Forsyth, a company he’s been a part of for 41 years, first as a truck mechanic, then as a shop foreman, until he finally became the chaplain.
“I’m just going to keep serving the Lord. I’ll never quit that,” said Martin.
Townley and Wofford want to remind the community that everyone is invited to attend the celebration at the church on Liberty Church Road.