Hester has already retired once — from Powdersville First Baptist Church.
Like most retired pastors, Hester began to work as a “supply” preacher — one who would fill in whenever a church found itself “between pastors.”
The first church to call Hester as its supply pastor was Nine Forks Baptist Church in Dacusville. Hester almost immediately rell in love with the church and its congregation.
“There is such a sweet spirit in this church,” Hester said. “There is so much love and fellowship among the members, you can honestly feel God working.”
Hester eventually told the church’s “pastor search” committee that he was interested in taking the job full time. There was little left to say after that.
Now Hester is ready to celebrate his 60th year as a pastor.
“You know, whenever I would reach a milestone in the past, I would joke and say, ‘Well, I stared when I was 7,’ or some kind of nonsense like that,” Hester said. “But now I’ve been preaching for 60 years. No matter how young I was when I started, I’m old now. But the Lord has blessed me, and allowed me to continue to serve Him through Nine Forks Baptist Church.”
To mark this special occasion, Hester has invited Dr. Don Wilton, pastor of Spartanburg First Baptist Church, to speak at Nine Forks Sunday night.
“These people hear me every Sunday,” Hester joked. “They are ready to hear somebody new.”
Wilton is the senior pastor of Spartanburg First Baptist, which has a membership of more than 7,000.
Wilton is also the host and president of “The Encouraging Word” television ministry.
Wilton has served as a faculty member of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, has served on numerous boards and continues to teach on university and seminary campuses. He is highly sought out after as a Bible expositor.
Wilton’s ministry has taken him around the world in crusade and revival evangelism, conference speaking and as a frequent speaker for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Schools of Evangelism and at The Cove.
He is Dr. Billy Graham’s pastor as well as his close friend. He has been invited to preach alongside Dr. Charles Stanley and Dr. David Jeremiah as part of their ministries, and was elected the annual preacher of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Wilton holds six academic degrees. He is the author of many books, including “Starting for the Finish,” “Totally Secure,” When God Prayed,” “See You at the Finish Line,” and “A Hope and A Future: Overcoming Discouragement.”
Wilton and his wife Karyn have two married sons, Rob and Greg, who are preachers, and two grandsons with two more grandchildren on the way. Their daughter, Shelley, is in college.
“Nothing would honor me more than somebody coming to know the love of Jesus Christ through listening to his special messenger this Sunday,” Hester said.
Nine Forks Baptist Church is located on S.C. 186 in Dacusville. For more information, call 836-8484 or email email@example.com.