Willard Thomas stepped down Sunday as pastor of Harmony Street Baptist Church after what he described as nearly 27 years of "preaching, practicing and promoting old-time religion."
Thomas’ son-in-law, Randy Roys, who currently preaches at the church, will take over as the main pastor.
"I’m not looking to change anything. I’m looking forward to continuing the ministry he’s had," Roys said. "I feel that I have been called to take this step."
Though he seeks to continue in Thomas’ direction of "old-fashioned style worship," he said "we are not carbon copies of each other."
Roys said he plans to expand the church technologically and has been visiting other churches and schools for ideas. He also wants to minister to prisoners.
"You’ve got to be able to have that outreach," he said. "The only way you can serve God is by serving your fellow man."
Thomas said he will stay active in the church and continue to travel to preach at revivals and camp meetings around the country.
Thomas’ wife, Willene Thomas, called it "refiring" instead of retiring."It’s worked out perfect for us. I’m 75 and ready to retire. (Roys) was well trained and ready to take the church over," Willard Thomas said.
He added that he thinks what makes Harmony Street Baptist Church unique is enthusiasm, and he called his time as pastor a "good, full ministry."
"We try to keep everything positive, and music is a big part of our ministry," he said.
Thomas enjoys writing in his spare time and is a published author. He said he often uses alliteration, or a pattern of similar sounds, to write poetry and other inspirational writings.
Roys is currently the principal of Jubilee Christian Academy, a school started by the church in 1998.
Thomas said he would like to spend more time working in the yard, and Willene Thomas said she looks forward to spending time with her grandchildren.