By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- Finally, the Rev. Terry S. Bolds will be installed as senior pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church.
Still, it's not like he's a stranger to the thriving church on the city's East Side.
He's been serving in that capacity since June 17, previously served as Rising Star's youth pastor for nine years, and was involved in ministry for three years before that. He's been a member of the church for 15 years.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and other events kept the installation on hold. Now it's set for 6 p.m. Sunday and will feature the Rev. Joey Johnson, senior pastor of the 4,000-member The House of the Lord Church in Akron.
The Rev. Mr. Bolds replaces the Rev. Gary Frost, who left to take a position with the Southern Baptist Convention.
As to the installation, "For me, it was different because I'm not new to this church, so to have a formal ceremony just to say, 'Hey, the new guy's in town,' doesn't really fit," Mr. Bolds said. "I was raised up in the church, and was kind of mentored by Pastor Frost for all those 15 years."
His work: One thing that is different is that for most of that time, Mr. Bolds worked out of the limelight at the church. He's a computer enthusiast and a partner in Ambassador Technologies, a company that links the similar talents of himself and three other church members. Ambassador, among other things, created the church's Web site at www.risingstarbc.com.
Now, Mr. Bolds admits, he's out in front as senior pastor, although he plans no major changes.
"We're really continuing the original vision. It's not my intent to make it something brand new but continue that which God already began," he added.
The pastor's call began at New Bethel Baptist Church under the direction of its former pastor, the Rev. Lonnie Simon. He began teaching and traveling with the male chorus. Mr. Bolds met Mr. Frost at a Moody Bible Institute's extension course. Rising Star had a youth emphasis that attracted him.
Now as Rising Star's leader, Mr. Bolds said the emphasis has been to focus on the church body to make sure it is strong and unified.
"The vision is continually shared so that we go out and make a difference as one," Mr. Bolds said. "Biblically-oriented lives are what we are pushing right now, so you don't become dependent on a person. You live your life based on the biblical principles of God."
Rising Star offers a youth ministry, a jail and prison ministry and retreats for singles and couples. Mr. Bolds plans to expand to increase the computer skills of youths. The pastor says the great staff makes his job easier.
Focus of church: But Rising Star is a more of a teaching church than anything else, he says.
"Our intent is to take what we learn in the Bible and put it into practice beyond the walls, not just gathering knowledge but learning and applying," said Mr. Bolds.
"I often tell our congregation that the only thing you can embrace fully is the original autograph of God's word, the original recording of God's word. Everything else is subject to question. God's word was true in the past, is true now, and will be true in the future. It's always reliable to base your life upon."
Rising Star teaches people how to study. Participants will use a Bible, a Bible concordance and reference works on the original languages used to write the Bible, to work through passages.
"You're interacting with the text and learning how to use those tools," said Mr. Bolds.
That, he added, teaches participants to become fishers of men.
Rising Star has about 217 member families, but Bolds said numbers aren't his emphasis.
"My philosophy is one in 100, one in 1 million, it matters not," Bolds said. "If we have one person, we're preaching just as powerfully and effectively to one as we would to 100, 1,000, 1 million. It matters not. The Gospel is the power, according to the Bible, not the man."
As for the man, Pastor Bolds credits the community.
"I'd like to personally thank all the people in the community that have ever spent time with me," Mr. Bolds said. "I believe that I'm the result of multiple people's love, care, compassion and training. A lot of people just don't say 'thank you' anymore. For me, that's a big thing to say thank you to anyone who has touched my life in any way. I certainly appreciate it."
XOn Sundays, school is at 9:30 a.m. and worship is at 10:45 a.m. On Wednesdays, Bible study is from noon to 1 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.