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First Baptist Hartselle calls Clayton Speed as new pastor

Clif Knight

Hartselle Enquirer

 

A West Point graduate who turned his back on a successful commercial printing career to preach the gospel is the new pastor at First Baptist Church in Hartselle.

Reverend Clayton Speed accepted the church’s call after preaching a trial sermon July 12 and assumed pastoral duties August 16.

He comes to Hartselle from First Baptist Church in Trussville where he served as minister of administration and young adults and associate pastor for seven years.

“I was a stranger to Hartselle and was happy in Trussville,” Speed said. “I didn’t have a resume in the pot; I heard about the vacancy from pastor friends before I was contacted by the pastor search committee.

“We had a pleasant meeting. Afterwards, my wife Mary and I prayed a lot and slipped into town for an unannounced visit one weekend.”

“Our first impression was a positive one,” he pointed out. “Hartselle has a foundation grounded in rich family values and an outstanding school system.  First Baptist Church has great fellowship, a sweet spirit of oneness and an unlimited potential to serve the Lord.”

“God’s tug on my heart was for me to be the pastor here,” he added.

“My vision is that we will be a church that reaches out to people, makes a difference in their lives, makes disciples for Christ and makes the most of our potential to be the church God wants us to be,” he stated.

Speed, 40, accepted a call to full-time Christian service at age 33 after becoming a part-owner and officer in a printing business.

“It was a leap in faith by my wife and I,” he said. “I was doing well in business and we had three of our four children at the time.”

Before pursuing a business career, Speed graduated from John T. Morgan Academy in Selma and received a bachelor of science degree from West Point Military Academy in New York.  Subsequently, he served an active duty tour in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant in the infantry.

He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University and is currently pursuing a doctorate of ministry.

The Speeds are parents of four children, Clayton Jr., 19, a sophomore at The University of Alabama; Isabelle, 18, a senior at Hartselle High School; Joshua,15, a freshman at Hartselle High School; and Gabbrielle, nine, a fourth grader at F.E. Burleson Elementary School.

The family is residing in the church parsonage.

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