Today, Good Hope Baptist Church is honoring Pastor E.J. Tomlinson and his dedication to the ministry for over 32 years. Coming into the ministry at the tender age of 25, Tomlinson says he was a young boy who has grown with this ministry. His long time wife of 28 years, Stephanie, and their dear son, Cornelius, have stood by Pastor Tomlinson as he has watched the face of his congregation transform over the years. Tomlinson has been noted as the 3rd longest person to pastor over a single congregation in Newton County.
When asked to give one word that has defined his journey, Pastor Tomlinson says, “looking back, several words come to mind, but if I had to give one word it would have to be ‘servitude’… as preachers we are called to serve. We come to the house of God to worship and leave to serve and I have enjoyed serving all of these years; it’s been a rewarding experience.”
Established in 1912, Good Hope has been in the community for over 100 years. With a mixture of young and old – many members in the congregation have been in ministry since the very beginning – Good Hope is a congregation that embraces old and new traditions.
One of the new traditions that Pastor Tomlinson has reinvented is the tradition of inviting ones’ pastor over for dinner. Tomlinson states that he wanted to do something different with this tradition, so once a year, Pastor Tomlinson changes up the rules and instead of visiting other members at their dinner tables, the Tomlinson family invites the congregation over to his house for dinner instead.
“I have seen this ministry transition from a small family church to a church of the community,” he says. With different ministries like the children’s, dance, and music and audio ministry, Good Hope continues to strive to be a beacon of hope to the Spring Hill community.
Pastor Tomlinson describes himself as a down to earth person who wishes to relate to all his members in an approachable, personal manner. When asked about a particular scriptures that has guided him during his time as Pastor, Tomlinson quotes Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all the heart; lean not to your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path.” He states that this scripture has been a guiding principle throughout his journey and that he has learned when one follows the spirit, one will always end up on the right path.