Justin Holcomb is a splendid preacher. Look at the Atco Facebook comments, and you will see that his preaching is greatly appreciated by those who hear him each Sunday. COURTESY/Justin Holcomb
CARTERSVILLE – Georgia has some of the finest pastors and preachers in all of Southern Baptist life. Atco Baptist Church in Cartersville has been a visible and strategic church in the Peach State for more than a century. When the church called Justin Holcomb as its new pastor last year, the congregation very likely insured that the future would be as bright as the promises of God. Holcomb is a native Georgian and grew up in Cohutta.
Holcomb explained, “I had the best upbringing anyone could imagine. My twin brother, Chad, has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. We were roommates in college at Kennesaw State University.”
He admitted, “My childhood dream was to play college baseball and then attempt to make it into the Minor Leagues and see what happened after that. However, God called me into the ministry at the end of my senior year in high school. After considering all that Jesus had done for me, I realized that my proper response to Him was a life fully surrendered to Jesus and His purpose for me.”
“I came to realize that my purpose in this world is to live out a ministry that outlives my life. I owe much to my late grandfather and my uncle, Dr. David Flood, who both served faithfully as bi-vocational pastors in Georgia. My uncle mentored me and helped me navigate my call into ministry during the early stages of my call.”
The Atco pastor is effectively equipping himself to fulfill God’s call upon his life. He has received his Master of Divinity at Luther Rice Seminary and has plans to begin his doctorate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary within the next year.
Holcomb has stated that his wife, Sydnee, is his hero, because of her care for him and their son, Maddax, and the sacrifices she makes for the sake of the gospel and his call into the ministry. He stated, “Sydnee constantly shows great love for our family and our service to the Lord; and she does it with complete joy and an incredible attitude. She is the best wife and mother I’ve ever seen, and she inspires me on many levels.”
The Cohutta native continued, “Sydnee’s professional role is that of a hairstylist and make-up artist in Acworth. This career path gives her the opportunity to serve women through relational acts of service as well as mentor young women who are new to this field. She is also passionate about leading these women into the beautiful life that God has planned for them through the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and help them be successful at work and at home.
“Sydnee is also fully devoted to our church. She enjoys leading the guest services team at Atco, serving in children’s ministry, serving with the technical team, and discipling young couples with me.”
Holcomb added, “I will have to admit that she once surprised me by taking me skydiving for my birthday. I was not quite sure what she was trying to accomplish with that surprise, but I must admit it gave me an adrenaline rush and turned out to be a unique and exciting experience.”
When Holcomb is not jumping out of airplanes, he added, “During my off time, you will probably catch me bass fishing or in the saltwater somewhere. When not around the water I’ll be working out, cheering on the Braves and Falcons, or just chilling with the family.”
Justin Holcomb is a young pastor, but he is conservative in his theology and mature in his philosophy of ecclesiology. He stated, “When a student of the Bible simply reads God’s Word through a proper contextual lens with the help and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, that student will more than likely arrive at a conservative theological foundation. Proper exegesis can be time consuming and difficult, but it always points me to the theological view I hold.”
“The book of Acts is my favorite book,” Holcomb said. “I subtitle it The Acts of Jesus Through The Apostles. This book reveals the works of Jesus after His resurrection and ascension through the power of His Holy Spirit and the faithfulness of the Apostles. It invites today’s church to pick up where Jesus and the early church left off. Its closing is fascinating, because Luke leaves it as an open-ended story reminding us that the church’s work and the church’s story is not finished yet. Today’s church has the responsibility of picking up the torch passed down by the early church. It is encouraging and motivating to think that Jesus can work His ‘acts’ through ordinary people like me, just as He did then.”
Holcomb continued, “My greatest joy in ministry is witnessing the resurrection power of Jesus when He raises spiritually dead people, declining churches, and broken communities to new life. Getting to do this alongside of a loving, committed, and supportive family adds an even greater joy to my ministry.
“The greatest challenge for every pastor, in my opinion, is leading people. Some have said, “If it were not for people, we could do a lot of good in ministry.” I say it this way, “People are people, and they act like people.” Samuel R. Chand says, “Leadership is bleedership. If you ain’t bleeding, you ain’t leading.” On the same note, leading people is a great challenge but also a great joy. If you’re not up for a good challenge, don’t go into the ministry!”
The Atco pastor wants to see God’s people return to their churches in the weeks ahead, exclaiming, “God created human beings in His own image; and the fact that we were all created in God’s image means that we all have a natural desire for relationships. Even the most introverted person desires healthy relationships.
“Online worship is important and needed, but nothing can ever replace the vitality of the in-person gatherings of God’s people. I believe church should focus most of their resources, time and strategies in recapturing the relational aspect of the church.
“At Atco, we are intentionally seeking new ways to create healthy relationships. We believe that there are two primary relationships essential to healthy living: the vertical and horizontal relationships. The vertical relationship is our connection with Jesus. The horizontal relationship is our connection with those in our circle of influence. Like the early church, our focus is fourfold: (1) in-person worship, (2) connection, (3) discipleship, and (4) serving. Healthy relationships can be established and maintained, but sometimes creative strategies must be employed to accomplish that goal.”
“We must get the saints back in the sanctuary and mobilize them to be servants and soul-winners.”