Paul Reviere wears many hats, just one of which is ‘pastor’

Paul Reviere
Paul Reviere

LINCOLNTON, Ga. — Former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “Some people are inherently likable. If you are not – work on it.” Paul Reviere is a man who is inherently likable and one of the most interesting individuals you could ever hope to meet.

Reviere has an admirable work ethic. He has served as the bivocational pastor of Tabor Baptist Church in Tignall for 48 years, but his ministry and service are not limited by his allegiance to that one church. In fact, he has been referred to as the chaplain of Lincoln County.

He has been known to do anyone’s funeral and almost anyone’s wedding. However, it is apparent that he has a sincere desire to give of himself, his abilities, his service, and his love to the people of Lincoln County, where he lives, and Wilkes County, where his church is located.

When Reviere was 13 years of age he began working in a local funeral home. One of his responsibilities was to drive to Augusta to pick up deceased individuals. He even admitted to eating snacks on occasion while participating in the process of embalming cadavers and being reprimanded by his supervisor for doing so.

His work at the funeral home eventually provided Reviere the background to serve as a deputy coroner, then as coroner of Lincoln County.

Riviere’s work experience as a teenager provided him enough money to enroll in Georgia Southern University, earn a degree in political science in 1973, and graduate debt-free.

During those early years, Reviere served as the pastor at Raytown Baptist Church in Taliaferro County and Clifford Grove Baptist Church in Wilkes County.

He became a paraprofessional teacher after completing his education at Georgia Southern University, but then decided to go to Augusta College (now Augusta University) to get his certification as a teacher. Once that objective was accomplished, he started teaching third graders and continued to do so in Lincolnton Elementary School for 39 years.

When longtime sheriff Bruce Beggs died in July 2017, Paul Reviere was elected as the sheriff for Lincoln County by taking 66% of the votes, all the while continuing to serve as the pastor of Tabor Baptist Church. One of the most remarkable things about his long tenure in one church is that he gets an annual call to be the church’s pastor.

An annual call is almost a thing of the past. However, some rural churches still call their pastors not for a prolonged or indefinite period, but for one year and that call is either renewed or rescinded each year.

Taking into account Reviere’s wit, wisdom, and occupational experiences, one might conclude that he is a combination of Jeff Foxworthy, Andy Griffith, and William A. Arthur, who was a Baptist preacher and a schoolteacher in the early 19th century.

When asked if he was related to Paul Revere, the silversmith, industrialist, and Revolutionary War hero who made that famous midnight ride on April 18, 1775, to alert the Colonial militia that the British were coming, Pastor Paul Reviere was able to quote the well-known poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He also acknowledged that there is a direct lineage to Paul Revere, but the “i” was inserted in the generation just before his grandfather, likely due to someone in the family stealing a mule and changing the spelling of his surname to avoid the possible consequences of his misdeed.

Few pastors in Georgia have had as long a pastorate in one church as Reviere. He explained, “One of the joys of being the pastor of a church for almost five decades is that I have had the opportunity to see three of our families grow into five generations.”

He insists that his preaching philosophy is, “Stand up and be seen, speak up and be heard, shut up and be appreciated.”

However, he indicated that he earnestly seeks the Lord’s will regarding the selection of the messages he preaches to his congregation. “Sometimes,” he said, “we will be in church, and a certain hymn touches my heart and I change my message on the spot because the Lord has inspired me to alter what I had planned to preach.”

Paul Reviere is an avid Elvis fan and on October 20 he will be having a “tribute artist” from Honea Path, S.C., come to Tabor Baptist Church to sing and lead in worship as a representative of the “King of Rock and Roll.” A tribute artist is a musical performer or group that doesn’t necessarily look like the celebrity but sounds like the original. He expects the attendance for that event to be at capacity and explained, “The music will be like the songs he sang in his gospel albums and his remarks will be appropriate for a worship service.”

Though he has been a coroner, teacher, embalmer, and pastor, Reviere is a selfless man and resists the idea of being the center of attention. His primary interest is in glorifying God in his life and ministry, and he has demonstrated his faithfulness to that ideal for decades.