|Pastor Jamie McAbee (right) welcomes James Fred Doggette to preach in March.|
When Jamie McAbee, pastor of Lighthouse Worship Center (Assemblies of God) in Beaumont, Texas, needs a preacher to fill in on a Sunday morning, he doesn't hesitate to call upon one of his favorite substitutes: area resident James Fred Doggette.
Doggette is 101 years old.
"He's still putting out the Word of God," says McAbee, 35. "He's sharp as a tack."
Indeed, when Doggette delivered a sermon one Sunday in March, he stood behind the pulpit for half an hour, consulted no outline, and spoke with great passion and energy. Doggette attributes his longevity to God's grace.
"I was a hundred before I thought much about age," says Doggette, who still drives a car. "Christ and church are still my life."
Doggette has been an Assemblies of God minister since 1951, a year after he accepted Jesus as his Savior at a revival in Beaumont. In a 45-year span, he pastored eight churches in his native Mississippi and four more in Texas, serving as an interim for many of them. He has preached in five pulpits in the past year.
Doggette is the seventh of 15 children, but only a 92-year-old sister survives besides him. He has outlived two wives, and has five children, ages 67 to 79.
General Superintendent George O. Wood commends Doggette's service as an AG minister.
"He is a remarkable example of someone who is faithfully ministering for the Lord even beyond his 100th year," Wood says.
Congregants watching Doggette preach often believe they are seeing and hearing a much younger man.
"If you stay young on the inside it changes up what you see in the mirror," Doggette says.
Author: John W. Kennedy, Pentecostal Evangel