- Written by Kelly S. Martin/Special to The New Tri-State Defender
Full of vigor, dedication and passion, the Rev. Evan Collins has accepted the call to lead Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church and to take on all the associated challenges.
The 26-year-old Collins is the newly-elected pastor of the church at 334 William Fields Ave, (Cleveland Ave.) in North Memphis. Coming from a lineage of preachers, he answered the calling to serve God as an adolescent.
"My grandfather served as pastor of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church on Vance Ave. for 40 plus years," said Collins. "His oldest son, O.C. Collins Jr., who is my father, is pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, his middle son, James Byron Collins, is the current pastor of Progressive, and the youngest son, Timothy Collins, is pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas."
Rev. Collins said he is humbled to be called to serve at Eastern Star, noting its rich history.
"I grew up hearing about Pastor (William) Fields Sr. and (Pastor William Fields) Jr., (and) Pastor Joseph Hughes, and just knowing how they served this community and church with a great spirit and a servant heart for the Lord," said Collins.
Eastern Star is located in an area where there has been concern about neighborhood stability. With grocery store located across from the church and a school behind it, Collins is focused on routing the heavy foot traffic through the church's doors.
"We see people of all ages who walk past the church, but now we want to get them into the church," he said. "We want to put faith back into families."
His three- to-five-year general plan is to recapture youth and young adults, getting them excited about the Lord and what they can do for the Lord.
"We believe that faith is something you take with you in your daily walk and apply it," said Collins.