By Holly Jo Linzay, Regional Reporter
MANGHAM – Pastor Doyle L. Adams knew at age 19 God’s call on his life was irrevocable.
“My belief is that God called me, and He called me for a lifetime,” said Adams, who at age 79, does not have any plans to retire from the pulpit.
For the last 60 years, Adams, the pastor of Lone Cherry Baptist Church in Mangham, has established a history of faithful preaching and caring pastoring, and recently was honored for his long-time service in both, with a special plaque from the Louisiana Baptist Pastoral Leadership team and special recognition by the Richland Baptist Association.
Bill Robertson, Louisiana Baptists pastoral leadership director, said he has known Adams for more than 40 years.
“Bro. Doyle Adams is a wonderful, faithful servant of the Lord, and he has quite a legacy. Churches have prospered under his leadership, and he is still going strong,” Robertson said, adding Adams has sacrificed and sown into some smaller churches that had been without a pastor.
With more than six decades of min istry under his [Bible] belt, Adams has experienced his share of successes and challenges on a number of levels. But, he said, regardless he was doing what God called him to do.
He grew up in the country, and accepted Christ as his Savior during a summer youth revival at Mangham Baptist Church. After graduating high school, he worked for two years in San Diego, California for a company that built supersonic jets.
“While out there, that’s when God really began talking to me and calling me,” Adams recalled.
Ironically, at that same time, Adams was laid off from his job and returned home.
“I got to my house, and was laying down on the bed, with my feet hanging off one side, and my head hanging off the other side, and I said, ‘Lord, if you want me to preach, I’ll preach,’” Adams said about the definitive moment.
That very night, he was asked to preach at an upcoming youth event.
“I wasn’t raised in church, and didn’t hardly know how to spell the word Bible. But on April 27, 1958, I preached from Proverbs 3:5-6. I had three weeks to prepare, and I preached from a three page, single-space typed written message. I was then like I am now, nervous as nervous can be, until I get started preaching. Then the Holy Spirit takes over,” Adams said, adding that after that first sermon he started preaching regularly in various churches.
He enrolled in Louisiana College in Pineville, and earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible studies. It was at LC where Adams met his future bride, Sue, who was majoring in math.
Adams was a sophomore and was riding in a friend’s car back to LC, when they spotted two girls walking on campus wearing freshmen beanie caps.
“As a sophomore, we could tell the freshmen what to do when wearing the beanies. We told them to hop in the car. Sue was the most beautiful girl on the face of the earth,” Adams said, getting choked up with the memory.
The two started dating, and were married in 1961. While attending LC, Adams preached in area churches and worked several part-time jobs. He taught sports to middle-school students at the YMCA and worked weekends on construction jobs and digging ditches.
To help pay his tuition, Adams also served LC students family-style meals in the cafeteria.
The night before his wedding to Sue, Adams got a surprise bachelor party send off from all the male students in Tudor Hall, his dorm.
“I was in the phone booth on the third floor, dressed in my pajamas, talking to Sue on the phone. All the men came and dragged me from the phone booth, and the phone was left dangling in Sue’s ear,” Adams laughingly recalled.
He said the guys carried him to a car, and his feet never touched the ground, not until they got to Fort Buhlow.
“They threw me in the lake, and then everyone ran. I got out of the water, dripping with mud, and jumped onto the hood of a car, holding on to the windshield wipers,” Adams said, adding the friend driving the car stopped so he could get in.
Upon arriving back at LC, the group of guys tried catching him again.
“I somehow got away, but there I was in wet pajamas hopping on top of cars to escape, and when I landed on top of one of the cars, it buckled in,” Adams said, recalling some of the antics of his classmates.
After their wedding ceremony and a short honeymoon in Mississippi, Adams preached a revival at Antioch Baptist Church in Rayville. He was called to pastor the church, and accepted the position as his first pastorate with a salary of $25 a week.
“I learned a lot with my first church. I learned that I knew very little, and that I wasn’t the boss. God was the boss,” he said.
After nearly three years at Antioch, Adams became the pastor at North Central Baptist Church in Delhi. He served as pastor at Magnolia Baptist Church in Franklin Parish, then later at Fort Necessity Baptist Church.
Ministering to hundreds of folks through the years, and dealing with their pain and joy, can be overwhelming at times, Adams said. Squabbles arise in a church, and the pastor often shoulders the burdens of many. He said that at one point he was so discouraged in his ministry, he shouted at the Father.
“I was outside by a Hackberry tree, and I looked up and yelled, ‘God, you can have this job; I won’t never preach again,” Adams said, adding three days later, he was asked by a pulpit search committee to come preach at another church.
He would go on to serve as the pastor at Lone Cherry Baptist Church for nearly 17 years and then later 18 years at Coax Baptist Church in Baskin. After five years at FBC Gilbert, Adams spent a year preaching in various churches in about four parishes. He became the interim pastor at Lone Cherry Baptist Church, and after a year, accepted the role as full-time pastor, again, where he continues to serve today.
“It is by God’s grace and the strength of my wife Sue, that I can say how I have been in ministry so long. God has been patient, good and His mercy extends from everlasting to everlasting,” notes Adams.
The couple have raised three daughters and one son. They have eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. At the start of his ministry, Adams asked the Lord for a legacy of faith.
“Way back yonder, I asked God to touch the world through my family, and He is moving in that direction,” Adams said.
His son is a chaplain in the Navy, one of his granddaughters is about to enter seminary to pursue a role in children’s ministry and he has a son-in-law who is a preacher. In addition, he has a grandson who has created a Ninja warrior experience outreach to teens.
“I think of the pastors I’ve known who have quit the ministry. But I’m here by the grace of God, and I can’t quit. God has called me, and He has not released me,” Adams said.