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Living an authentic life

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Meet another member of the many-sided faith community in South Florida. This week we're talking with the Rev. Marcus Davidson, spiritual leader of New Mount Olive Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, which will celebrate its 93rd anniversary this coming Friday.

More on Rev. Davidson

Title: Pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, since November 2009.

Other community posts: Budget Committee member, National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Incorporated; trustee, Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens; member, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical enginering technology, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Normal, Ala.; master's degree in biblical studies, Heritage Bible College, Huntsville, Ala.; master's degree in divinity, Birmingham, Ala.; doctorate in ministry, Caribbean Graduate School of Theology, Kingston, Jamaica.

Personal: 36. birthdate. Born in Tuscumbia, Ala.

Family: Married to Yvokia, a housewife. Children: One daughter.

Q: Is it unnerving to step into the pulpit of a large, influential church like Mount Olive?

A: Not so much unnerving as an exciting challenge. A lot of people suggested that I needed to fill Dr. Carter's shoes -- an international preacher. I decided to fill my own shoes and build on his legacy.

Q: What are the hallmarks of your pastorate?

A: I have a passion for preaching and a love for administration. I think the church is a powerful tool to redirect the focus of a community. A pastor has to be involved in the running of a church. And he has to be the preacher and teacher to affect the thinking of a congregation to be the persons who touch other people's lives.

Q: You're using a lot of social media?

A: Yes. A lot of people in churches steer away from that, but I like it that people read Bibles from cellphones or take notes on Blackberries. The church that doesn't move in that direction will be left behind.

Q: What's your favorite vacation spot?

A: Anywhere in the Caribbean. I like the water and the weather and the cuisine. It takes me away from everything.

Q: Favorite film(s)?

A: One of my all-time favorites is the movie "Seven," For the way those sins can be detrimental to a person's life, yet they couldn't break away from it.

Q: Favorite music? Favorite performer(s)?

A: I like smooth jazz, it's real relaxing. And for the paper, I should say I like gospel music (smile).

Q: Your most memorable spiritual experience?

A: The moment I realized the call to ministry. At home in Alabama, when I was probably 15-16, I couldn't sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I could see myself preaching. It happened every night for weeks. Ironically, the moment I acknowledged it at church, I was able to sleep.

Q: Your worst moment in the pulpit?

A: In April 2005, my patella tendon tore in both knees and I collapsed in the pulpit. A medical team took me out on a stretcher and to a hospital. For eight weeks I couldn't bend my knees or get up on my own. My parents had to move in with me. That was one of the greatest challenges to my faith. But through that moment, my faith grew.

Q: Something most people don't know about you?

A: I'm very shy. Most people don't know that because they see me in the pulpit. I think I'm a silent introvert. My best time is when my wife and daughter are in bed, 11 or 12, and I'm reading or watching news.

Q: What do you wish people understood about you?

A: That my love for people is genuine. I think people have a hard time believing that others can have their best interests at heart. So many people hurt people and do things wrong. It's hard for them to believe in authenticity of a person.

Q: Is there one thing you can't stand?

A: The racial tension that is so prevalent in society. At my daughter's school, I volunteered at the cafeteria. I saw kindergarten students and first-graders, all types of nationalities. No one group was sitting together. All of them mixed, talking and hugging. If our world could become like these children, it would be a great world. And in 5-10 years, that opportunity to teach them will be gone.

Q: What's the most important thing you've ever learned?

A: How to communicate my heart to people. I've learned to talk to people so they know there is no façade, no ulterior motive. And I think I'm learning that every day.

Q: When you feel down, how do you revive spiritually?

A: Through prayer and reading scripture. There have been times since I've been here that the engine has been on idle. That's where I've restarted it.

Q: Motto, or favorite scripture verse?

A: Psalm 27:1: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear ? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Q: What would you like most to be remembered for?

A: Being a person who loved his family, loved humanity, and most of all loved God.

Do you know someone we should profile? Tell James D. Davis, Religion Editor, Sun Sentinel, at 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL. You may also e-mail him at JDDavis@Tribune.com or call at 954-356-4730.


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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