Boyd’s enthusiasm has helped church grow
Speaking with Pastor Demethrius T. Boyd of the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church is to understand exactly what unbridled enthusiasm is. He beamed as he stretched his arms out, “We are building …
Boyd’s enthusiasm has helped church grow
Speaking with Pastor Demethrius T. Boyd of the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church is to understand exactly what unbridled enthusiasm is. He beamed as he stretched his arms out, “We are building God’s kingdom!”
His enthusiasm is infectious and his message one of powerful hope. Why should one expect anything else? Under his guidance, St. Paul Church has become an advocate for change in the Mineola community and a place of worship which takes the concept of missionary work to heart.
When considering the work of the church and the community involvement of Pastor Boyd, it is easy to make the mistake of assuming that Boyd is a life-long Mineola resident. It seems so, as his calm manner and steadying influence is sought out whenever the community faces a challenge.
Boyd is from Jacksonville in Cherokee County. The road which brought him here was a whole lot farther than the 57 miles which separate the two towns. In order to understand how that road was travelled it is necessary to understand a bit of the formative influences in Boyd’s life.
Boyd and his siblings travelled the world as his father spent a career in the United States Air Force. The family lived overseas – in Germany, Turkey and the Philippines – for significant spans of time. Stateside assignments included time spent in Montana, the Carolinas, Louisiana and Texas (San Antonio).
Those youthful experiences living in other cultures and being a part of the large military family certainly influenced Boyd. He leaned back in his chair and laughed, “I still remember well, as a boy, running after the sugar cane truck in the Philippines. We would pick up any cane which fell off the truck; it was delicious.”
He also was struck by the immense beauty of the natural world. He recalled, “The scenery in Montana is just overwhelmingly beautiful. I took Kathy (his wife of 33 years) there years later just to see it.”
Growing up in David and Shirley’s household also meant something else for Demethrius and his three siblings: church. Boyd acknowledged, “It didn’t matter where we were, there was always that constant in our life, the church.”
His father’s last duty station was at Barksdale Air Force Base, just east of Shreveport. The duty station brought the family back near home. Boyd’s grandparents has 17 children in the Jacksonville area.
Opting not to follow in his father’s military footsteps, Demethrius graduated from Lufkin High School and began working at Baxter Pharmaceuticals.
He met with great success in his early career at Baxter and thereafter at Kelly Springfield in Tyler.
“I was living the life,” he admitted., “I was a young professional, making good money, living large.” But, the church was always there. “It was ingrained in me,” he noted.
At some point, however, he just realized something was missing. He took stock of his life, “I needed to become a better person.” Not long after, he met Kathy.
That road from Jacksonville took many turns. One of the most challenging was the loss of their first son, as a new-born. “It took me down a dark path,” Boyd explained. He shared the struggle it was to come out of that darkness.
He began to recover, and now with two young sons, Trey and Kendal, Boyd took full charge of his life. “I wanted to raise my sons right,” he said.
What followed was described as an evolution. He turned back to the church and opened up a relationship with God. Boyd recalled, “The more I turned to God, the more I listened to Him, the more He revealed to me.”
Boyd became involved in the Jacksonville community and was mentored by his father-in-law, Marshall Swann, a deacon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Troup. “I would go to visit him just to learn and absorb his Godly wisdom.”
A bricklayer by trade, Swann was a man who lived his convictions. He also saw something in Boyd. He told his daughter before she married Boyd, “God has some plans for that boy.”
Eventually, in 2000, six years before his retirement from Kelly Springfield, Boyd answered the calling. He freely admits that many things happened with no explanation which had led him to that moment.
He served briefly as youth pastor at Sunshine Missionary Baptist Church, and soon after became pastor at the Union Chapel Church in New Summerfield.
The three years at Union Chapel were vindication that he had accepted the correct calling. In that time the congregation had grown from 12 to 150 active members.
“I was home, and had no desire to be anyplace else,” Boyd recalled.
However, a mentor of his had placed his name in the hat for the open position at St. Paul’s.
Boyd commented, “I went like Jonah, fighting it the whole way.” Out of respect for his mentor, he went to interview in Mineola.
It was at a Sunday service, an introductory visit as a guest to St. Paul, at which the relationship between Boyd and St. Paul’s was struck.
Boyd described standing to preach and being completely overcome by the moment. “I stood in front of the congregation and wept…. I couldn’t speak, it just was made known to me that this was where I was meant to be.”
It was just one inexplicable step in the hiring process after another. But in late 2006, Demethrius Boyd became the pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
He did have one stipulation upon his hiring – St. Paul’s would be a multi-cultural church.
Despite some initial hurdles, St. Paul’s has become just that. It all fits well into Boyd’s concept of a missionary church.
“We are here to build God’s kingdom on earth, and the population of this church should look like the population of heaven,” he described.
Boyd’s vision is heavily influenced by the concept of mission. He stresses that focusing on serving others will in turn result in the church and its congregation being served through the gifts of grace. It is too easy, he noted, to contain the concept of church within the church building and not act on those values in the greater community.
“But, “ he added, “we are all called to be missionaries.”
“The foundations of this concept are contained in the truth of God’s word,” he explained, “and belief in God’s word and acceptance God’s will renders limitless power of love.”
Boyd’s description of his faith is, above all else, forward-looking. However, he does not discard history, but uses history as a hint of the possibilities in the future. Reflecting on Black History Month, Boyd remarked, “Our nation has a diverse cultural history which is all tied together. We have been fortunate to have overcome many aspects of our history without allowing it to define us. This will allow us to be even greater in the future.”
The pastor used Mineola as an example of how history is acknowledged and not used to limit further development, but rather to promote advancement. He described Mineola as having a community which refuses to allow any negativity to triumph, but rather uses mutual support to grow and nurture.
The community often leverages Boyd’s unique perspective and limitless energy in a variety of ways. That service may be on any number of boards and/or commissions or partnering with the Ministerial Alliance, or contributing to social causes. As Boyd describes it, he has plenty of people in Mineola to champion with.
In typically eloquent fashion, Boyd ended the interview with a word of thanks. “I am encouraged, grateful and humbled by all the love and support that has been given this ministry. But even more encouraged by what the city and people of Mineola have stood for in the face of adversity. Just stay strong in the Lord.”