Fellowship welcomes new pastor

Josh Gerwitz, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church senior pastor, right, has a conversation with member Gary Simon before Sunday’s service.

Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Lenoir City welcomed new senior pastor, Josh Gerwitz, in November.

He moved with his family from West Virginia to embark on a new adventure with the church. Gerwitz was a youth pastor the last four years.

Gerwitz started looking for new opportunities before the coronavirus hit.

“We just felt like the Lord was leading us to be the senior pastor of a church,” he said. “We just started praying and searching and looking at what God had us to do, and this church had put an ad online, so I just sent my resume to them back in February/March. Through COVID, everything just took a really, really long time, but then they got in contact with us, we started praying about it and one thing led to another. They asked us to come down.”

His father is a pastor, so church life is all he’s “ever known really.” He began in ministry at 20 years old and never imagined being a senior pastor just eight years later.

“Which was kind of one of the things that we didn’t really imagine happening this soon,” Gerwitz said. “Even when I sent my resume and stuff to the church, I didn’t figure anything would come of it, but the Lord had different plans. He’s worked it all out.”

Gerwitz said his ministry style is somewhat of a throwback.

“Although I’m young, I still like old-fashioned church,” he said. “That’s kind of the church this is. They’re pretty old-fashioned. They kind of do things how people did years ago, and I like that. I’m pretty old-fashioned, but I guess you could say with a modern twist on it or something like that.”

Gary Simon, church member, said the church is blessed to have found Gerwitz.

“The search committee went out and diligently looking for what we felt like the Lord’s will was to give us direction on what to do, and it just seemed like we were hitting dead end after dead end,” Simon said. “But always if we just do it according to God’s timetable, let him be the boss, then we can just get out of the way. The Lord can work miracles. We’re blessed.”

Church ushers Bob White and Arnold Hickman said Gerwitz quickly found his place within the church.

Gerwitz acts wise beyond his age in leadership abilities, Hickman said.

“Of course, it’s a big change for us, him being new and everything,” White said. “He’s a young guy. He’s 28. But he’s doing really well. There’s been eight people saved since he’s been here. That’s fantastic. It is amazing. I think people are really beginning to warm up to him and love him and support him. I think he’s going to do great here.”

The young pastor intends to get to the know the church and its people before getting too ambitious. He eventually hopes to increase membership.

Coronavirus forced the transition to be a lengthy process, taking almost nine months to get settled in at the church. However, once he got there, operating under COVID-19 restrictions has been easy because church leadership had been handling it so well, Gerwitz said.

He’s happy to finally be settled in Lenoir City.

“We absolutely love being here,” Gerwitz said. “It’s a nice change of pace. The town we moved from was a small, little town in West Virginia, only about 3,000 people. The county that we had was only 27,000. … I grew up outside of Chicago, so I’m used to the bigger city, just more happening. That’s been nice, and the people here have been above and beyond gracious to us, blessed us, given our kids all sorts of Christmas presents. It’s just been awesome to see what God has done for our family and for the church.”