Second Baptist Cedartown calls Carter as pastor

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Justin and Sara Carter pose with their children, 4-year-old Jac and newborn Maggie. Justin will begin as senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Cedartown on July 22. CARTER FAMILY/Special

CEDARTOWNSecond Baptist Church in Cedartown has called Justin Carter as senior pastor. He is slated to officially begin at the church on Sunday,  July 22. 

Carter arrives to the congregation having previously served nearby at Bellview Baptist Church in Rockmart. A graduate of the University of West Georgia, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in History degree. Carter utilized that degree toward certification as a secondary education teacher at Cedartown High School and Cedartown Middle School. Currently, he’s pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. 

“We are excited about the new ministry opportunity God has placed on our hearts,” says Carter, who led his previous church in such outreach endeavors as a community missions house. “Second Baptist Church is a wonderful group of Christ-followers who care deeply about the community. We believe great days are ahead, and we can’t wait to see where God leads.”

Ordained into the ministry in August 2012 while youth pastor at Bellview, Carter has also served as youth pastor at Piedmont Avenue Baptist Church in Rockmart and was interim student minister at First Baptist Cedartown. He and his wife, Sara, have two children: Jac, 4, and a daughter, Magnolia Dean (“Maggie”). 

Building upon a move among generations

Carter’s focus at Second Baptist will begin with taking advantage of some of the congregations’s strengths. 

“They’re a healthy church with a long history of missions involvement and work within the state convention,” he says. “We’re going to emphasize personal disciple-making and evangelism, training others to take ownership of their faith and sharing it with the community.”

Like others in the state convention, Carter, 28, sees a dearth in young leaders being prepared for leadership. That urging takes a personal view for him, as many of the younger people he’ll see at Second Baptist attended the Cedartown schools where he previously taught. 

“God’s been working with me on that, to help those kids see their mission. I want to reach that generation and build them up through relationships and other opportunities, possibly internships. We can do better in raising up those called into the ministry to greater leadership. I want to find ways to invest in those coming up behind us.

“Second Baptist is already a good multi-generational church. We’re just wanting to expand those efforts. Already, they’ve made several changes to reach younger people such as changing up the worship service.”

For the first few weeks, says Carter, Second Baptist members may hear their pastor share a quote by famed missionary William Carey: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

The point is to continually be aware of God’s leadership and “develop an emphasis on totally committing ourselves to God’s plan,” he adds. 

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