Bread of Life pastor has roots in Middle Georgia

Sun News correspondentApril 30, 2014 

The Rev. Bill Stuckey talks about Bread of Life Worship Center’s food pantry ministry.

MICHAEL W. PANNELL — Special to The Sun News

BYRON -- Bread of Life Worship Center’s beginnings go back to when it was the Fort Valley Church of God.

Rev. Bill Stuckey, Bread of Life’s pastor for the past three years, said the church moved in 1999 to its current location just off Ga. 247 Connector between Interstate 75 and Ga. 49.

“Ken DeLoach was pastor when they made the move and changed the name,” Stuckey said. “It’s always been a Church of God, Cleveland, Tenn., church.”

Stuckey said when he became pastor at Bread of Life, it was result of a merger between Bread of Life and Houston Road Church of God where he pastored in Warner Robins.

The merger opened the door for the South Houston Road facility to be taken over by A New Beginning Church of God/Iglesias de Dios Un Nuevo Comienzo.

“That all took a three-way vote,” Stuckey said. “Each congregation had to vote 100 percent -- one to move, one to take the old property and the other to accept the merger. It all went through 100 percent.”

Though Stuckey’s involvement brought something new to each church, Stuckey is hardly a newcomer to Middle Georgia.

“My daddy moved us here from Florida when I was in the first grade,” he said. “I went to Thomas Elementary. He was a preacher and a builder, and he started First Assembly of God in Warner Robins in 1952 and built houses in the Miller Hills subdivision along Briarcliff Road and Sunset and all in there. I was in the first graduating class of Northside High School.”

Stuckey said going to college to become a minister took him back to Florida, but getting married in his first year brought him back to Middle Georgia to earn a living. His career eventually led to selling insurance and landed him a lucrative job overseeing a district based in Dublin.

Then one night things changed.

He said the Lord woke him up and told him he could sell insurance the rest of his life and go to heaven, or he could do what God was telling him to do: go into ministry.

“The next morning I told my wife, Brenda,” Stuckey said. “That morning, a pastor from Baxley called me and said God woke him up and told him to offer me the job of youth pastor. I took it and we had good success. We had 157 teens, and Brenda ran children’s church. We had kids crusades and camps. That was in the mid-1970s, and I’ve been in ministry ever since.”

Stuckey’s pastoral ministry included a move to North Pole, Alaska, where he began a mission church that flourished. He said he got tired of the cold and came back to Georgia.

“You have to know what you’re called to do,” he said. “I know my call has been to smaller churches to help them grow. I could have taken larger churches, but that’s not what I was called to do.”

Recounting stories of past churches led Stuckey to remember his father and the avenues of ministry God used him to open.

“When my daddy, Earl, came to Warner Robins he brought Glenn Grantham with him,” Stuckey said. “He was youth pastor and later pastored in Georgia but came back to pastor First Assembly for many years. Then there was Chuck Morris, who came to Warner Robins as an airman. We walked into my daddy’s church when he was 19 and got invited to lunch. He later became a minister and pastored Faith Assembly here. Our family was in on the beginning of Faith Assembly.”

Stuckey, 68, said he expects to continue at Bread of Life for three years if his health allows. He’s undergone heart bypass surgery and is on kidney dialysis. But it doesn’t stop him from pastoring or working a job with the Houston County School System.

Or climbing on a mower and cutting grass on the 10 acres Bread of Life sits on.

“It relaxes me,” he said. “I enjoy it. It gives me time to think and pray.”

Bread of Life operates a range of ministries for all ages and has what Stuckey calls a blended style of worship. He said the church has a choir but could use a piano player.

Stuckey said he is especially pleased with the church’s support of missions, dedication to youth ministry and its food pantry that gives food each second Wednesday 4-6 p.m. or whenever anyone with a need comes to a service.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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