Providence Baptist Church will install their new pastor, Minister Keith Vereen, on Saturday, November 7 at noon.
Vereen, originally from Fayetteville, grew up attending Parks Chapel Freewill Baptist Church, hearing the call to minister in his early teens.
“I probably started feeling the call around 13 or 14-years-old, but I actually ran away from it. I didn’t want to accept it,” he said. “I decided to accept it in 2011. God came to me, and basically it was a divine appointment from Him. He had allowed me to do my own thing through freewill, but now was the time and He was not going to accept no for an answer.”
Before accepting the call, Vereen served in the Army from 1986-1995 at Fort Bragg in the Airborne Division. Having to retire early due to an accident in 1992, he went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to earn a degree in social work. From there, he worked with the homeless at The Bethesda Center.
“I was hoping that would suffice with God, but that wasn’t enough for Him,” Vereen said. “When I heard God’s voice again, I said, ‘I need to go to school to learn what it means to serve God and learn more about the Word of God so I would know more about what I was sharing with God’s sheep.’”
Before Vereen declared ministry, he enrolled in Carolina Christian College in Winston-Salem, where he earned a Master of Arts of Religious Education with a concentration in Christian Education. He is currently working on his Doctorate of Divinity.
While working at The Bethesda Center, Vereen said it allowed him to share the Gospel.
“I was allowed to share the Word of God with my clients, but I actually left The Bethesda Center to attend law school at Wake Forest. That’s when I started hearing the calling from God that this was not the path for me,” he shared.
Though the position at Providence Baptist Church is his first appointment, Vereen is excited as he will be ministering to a congregation he has been part of for several years.
After he and his wife, Yolanda, transferred to the area, they stumbled upon the church, which was in their backyard.
“One Sunday I had my children (two sons, Jonathan and Jordan) at the park, and I saw people leaving the church. I heard a voice telling me that I needed to attend there,” he said, noting he began attending in 1998 and officially joined in 2000. “I was serving as the Administrative Board president. When the previous pastor resigned, I filled in as interim pastor and will be taking over in full effect on November 7.”
Vereen noted that he was not a shoo-in, as 27 people applied for the position.
He shared that he is looking forward to leading the church.
“I am just looking forward to continuing to do God’s Will and exactly what He tells me to do,” he said.
He added that he would like for the church to be more in tune with the needs of the community and to serve as a light where they are located.
“I would also like to continue to make disciples and teach people about the Word of God,” he remarked.
Vereen said he has seen the power of God firsthand through his own battles.
“One of my greatest challenges has been battling cancer and seeing the way God delivered me from that. I was also in an accident in 1992, which is why I retired early from the military. I spent 18 months in the hospital and have had 27 surgeries. When I was in the hospital, it gave me time with God one-on-one, which clarified what He wanted as well,” Vereen explained. “Having seen the power of God firsthand has helped me to remain humble. I can accomplish all things through Him.”
Providence Baptist Church is located at 319 Nelson St. For more information, call 336-996-6284 or visit www.providencebcknc.org/.