Elkin First Baptist hires new pastor

Jessica PickensStaff Writer

September 30, 2012

While living in South Florida, Rick Bennett was given a hat that said “Rumple Furniture.”

At the time he had no idea what Rumple Furniture was or anything about Elkin.

“Now I’m living in Elkin and moved into a house owned by the head of Rumple Furniture,” said Elkin First Baptist’s new pastor.

Originally from Pinehurst, N.C., Bennett and his family are moving to Elkin after living in Atlanta, G.A. for eight and a half years. Bennett served Cooperative Baptist Fellowship traveling, speaking and helping with curriculums. Prior to living in Atlanta, Bennett was an associate pastor in Orangeburg, S.C.

“A friend approached me and said they found a position that would fit me in Elkin,” Bennett said. “I finally submitted my resume and was hired on July 2, and my first day is Monday, Oct. 1.”

Bennett’s wife Rebecca and eight and 11 year old sons also moved to Elkin, though the area is not an unfamiliar area for his wife. His sons are attending Elkin City Schools.

“My wife’s grandparents are from Wilkes and my mother’s family came from Surry County,” he said.

Bennett’s career as a pastor started when he was 14.

“I got close with my pastor and he started taking me on hospital visits,” he said. “I did that for a couple of summers.”

When Bennett was 16, he got his first opportunity to preach.

“I was scared out of my mind,” he said. “It was a five minute sermon, and I kept my hands in my pockets the whole time, because I was self-conscious about how much I talked with my hands.”

Not only did Bennett’s pastor help get him into the pulpit but also made him the first person in his family to go to college.

“He helped me get into college at Campbell University and then I went on to Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, V.A. and later went back for grad school to get my doctorate,” Bennett said.

Though pastoring Elkin First Baptist is Bennett’s first time as the head pastor, everything he has done up to this point has prepared him.

“Everything I’ve done until now has prepared me. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes and I’ve learned from it,” Bennett said. “I think of my part as pastor as the role of a shepherd and a lot of pastors lose sights of that. I’m there to walk through the best and worst intersections of life.”

After traveling so much with his prior job, Bennett sees Elkin as a place he would like to settle and retire.

“I love the close knit and slow pace of the area. I love the idea that my family can be together and enjoy each other after traveling so much and not having to commute now,” he said. “This is the place I would love to retire.”

Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 ext. 18 or jpickens@heartlandpublications.com