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Pitts reflects on ministry journey to Selma

Jonathan Pitts “JP” dedicated his life to becoming a pastor at 17, and following that path has led him across the country.

He has been the youth pastor at the First Baptist Church of Selma for nearly six years.

Originally from Ohatchee, Pitts said he gave his life to Christ when he was 13.

“I grew up in a broken home,” he said. “My dad left when I was pretty young, and I felt an emptiness at that point. When I was 13, I had some friends who shared Christ with me, and the youth pastor at that time led me to Christ, and from there I just started growing in my walk with Him.

“When I was 17 was when I really started to feel the call to ministry,” Pitts said. “I didn’t really know what to do with that though. I just felt like I was being called to that.”

Pitts sought advice from his pastor who confirmed that this was indeed his calling.

“From there your plans change, and the direction of your life changes too,” he said. “I started looking at Bible colleges and ended up going to Liberty University in Virginia.”

Pitts obtained a degree in youth ministry and biblical studies.

“God used that time to equip me and prepare me, and Liberty was a great place for me,” he said.

From there, he did an internship in Anniston at an intercity church.

Pitts said he learned more from the challenges of pastoring an intercity church.

His wife’s parents then offered a place for them to stay so that he could continue his education in seminary school in Philadelphia.

While in seminary school, Pitts worked part time at a church in Pennsylvania. From there he was introduced to a church in Delaware where the Pitts family spent nine years at before traveling back south to Selma.

“We wanted to be closer to family,” he said.

Pitts said being in Selma has allowed his ministry to be stronger and to help lead students to Christ.

“We live in a broken world, and I feel like God has placed us here to be a light,” he said. “Part of what we do ministry wise is to help students meet Jesus, know Jesus, serve Jesus and follow Jesus.”

Pitts also is the area coordinator for Sonlife where he helps coach and mentor other ministry leaders in the state.

He said that Sonlife allows himself to look at the way Jesus taught his disciples in the Bible.

“A lot of times we read the life of Christ and we look at the message of Jesus, but we neglect to look at his methods at how Jesus did what he did. Jesus was focused on equipping his disciples and investing in them and then he sends them out. That is what we are striving for because ultimately it is about Jesus.”