“The essence behind the reason people dwell in the house of the Lord is because they find goodness and mercy there,” said Pastor Charles Shearer of the Pentecostals of Saraland in Saraland, Alabama. “Psalm 23:6 says, ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’”
Pastor Shearer and his wife, Judy, have a daughter, son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. The Shearers oversee a thriving, growing church with a lifestyle of prayer, praise, worship and connecting.
Principles of Growth & Revival
Pastor Shearer believes the key to a growing church is to be guest-friendly. He also promotes team ministry as an important key to growth. “Having teams within departments presents opportunities for everyone to be involved in some way,” he said. “I believe in mentoring leaders to work in and with the harvest, ministering from the rear of the flock.”
According to Pastor Shearer, the children’s ministry at Pentecostals of Saraland is key to their outreach efforts. “Whether it is Vacation Bible School in the summer, Kidz Klub during mid-week service, or children’s church on Sunday, we focus on times when family members will be interested and drawn. Connect Pointe is still an evolving ministry for us. We have been working to keep the connection with guests and new members through fellowship events, phone calls, e-mails, etc. to make them feel a part.” Pastor Shearer noted that everyone is a team player and has an integral role in what is happening at the church.
Organization & Management
Pentecostals of Saraland is a church with a variety of additional ministries, including College & Career (18-30), Elders Care Ministry, Funeral Team, Hospitality Team, Ladies’ Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Global Missions, Music Ministry, Sound/Multi-Media, Ushers/Greeters and Youth Ministry.
Pastor Shearer said, “I meet with department and ministry leaders once each quarter for additional brainstorming sessions for new ideas. My department leaders e-mail communications as needed, and job descriptions are in place but tend to evolve as the needs of the church change. We also have a software database that helps with member information, scheduling and giving, etc.”
He explained, “Most of our planning consists of quarterly calendar meetings, and focused meetings are held for particular upcoming events or projects. I am highly in favor of committees for events, versus individuals.”
Pastor Shearer utilizes basic leadership training classes, and 70 percent of church members are involved in some form of ministry. Every department analyzes various outreach efforts in order to have a positive effect. “All of our departments are team-rotation based,” he said. “This prevents burn-out and gets everyone involved. When someone wants to join a department, they can easily be added to a team and inserted into the rotation schedule.”
The pastor said the guiding principles that give his ministry direction and purpose are the gifts of the Spirit, working in the five-fold ministry and experiencing the supernatural. And the topics he enjoys preaching about the most are prayer, praise and worship.
“Our current facility was originally built in the early ‘80s,” said Pastor Shearer. “An addition which now serves as the sanctuary was added in the early ‘90s. There are many classrooms and many additional rooms used for storage, meetings, offices, etc., and we have a full kitchen and large multi-purpose room.”
The church owns 22-plus acres nearby for any future growth plans. “We plan to build an entire new campus on our acreage with the goal of being debt-free,” he said.
The church has experienced many consistent baptisms. When Pastor Shearer arrived in 2001, the average attendance was 60. It has now grown to 250-plus in average attendance.
Pastor Shearer holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. He first felt his call to the ministry at a Texas camp meeting with Bro. O. R. Fauss preaching and began his ministry at age 22. He preached his first sermon at Apostolic Lighthouse Church in Dayton, Ohio in 1980. He explained, “I am a third generation Pentecostal. My grandfather, Harvey Shearer, was one of the original ministers in the United States to establish the Jesus’ name belief in the early 1900s. He baptized the first 300 preachers in Jesus’ name right before becoming the first chairman of the Louisiana camp over 100 years ago. My father, Huss Shearer, preached for over 40 years and pastored churches in Texas and Ohio where he was district superintendent.” Bro. Shearer served as youth pastor and principal of Lighthouse Christian School in Dayton, Ohio in 1978. He became assistant pastor there in 1986 and served as Ohio District Youth Secretary from 1986-1992. He served as director of After Easter Feast Conference from 1993-2000 and has served as a sectional presbyter in Alabama for 10 years.
Bro. Shearer became pastor of Pentecostals of Saraland in February of 2001. He explained, “The church’s history began with a group meeting in their homes for prayer and Bible study with Sis. Mamie Hicks. The church was then started in 1946 in Prichard, Alabama under Rev. D. J. Whitten who served as pastor until 1951. Rev. L. H. Benson then served as pastor until 1953, and Rev. Oscar Vouga served as pastor until he left to become Director of Foreign Missions in 1962. The following pastors included Rev. W. R. Pardue, Rev. C. E. Calk, Rev. Mark Calk and then myself in 2001 until the present time.” He remembers his first service at Pentecostals of Saraland. “It was a Sunday morning service. Three received the Holy Ghost, but there was no water in the baptismal, so we baptized them in the evening service. In our early years, we hung door hangers on every door in Saraland, handed out Hope books and changed the name of our church from First United Pentecostal Church to Pentecostals of Saraland.”
Bro. Shearer’s favorite leisure time activities are golfing and fishing, and he feels that living on the Gulf Coast has been a beautiful blessing to his family.