Ch 1: Welcome To Mt. Zion

In the small town of Willowville, nestled between rolling hills and a peaceful countryside, stood Mt. Zion Baptist Church. For years, the church had been a pillar of the community, providing spiritual guidance and support to its members. However, the tranquility of the church was shattered when rumors began circulating about their newly proposed pastor, Pastor Israel Steele.

Pastor Steele was a charismatic and handsome man with a reputation, especially among women. He has preached on TBN and he is a featured speaker on many of the national Christian crusades and conferences. His captivating sermons and magnetic personality had won him the hearts of many. After the previous pastor's untimely demise, the church members saw in Pastor Steele a potential successor who could lead them forward.

While most of the congregation eagerly anticipated his arrival, there was one person who felt a deep sense of unease—Mother Beatrice Harper. With a lifetime of experience and wisdom, she had seen the potential pitfalls of having a single pastor. Her concern stemmed from her belief that a single pastor could become entangled in personal relationships that could disrupt the harmony of the church.

The Barbecue

In a traditional Black church, the role of a church mother comes with a lot of respect and responsibility. To most people, they are just the ladies who sit opposite of the deacons during service. To the youth, they are the ladies who wore all white on Communion Sundays and kept peppermint in their purses as treats for the kids. But according to the bible they have to be around 70 years old and married. They can't drink whiskey or live a lifestyle contradictory to the supreme standards of the scripture. Mt. Zion followed Titus 2:3-5 to the tee. Mother Harper, checked off all these qualities with flying colors and nobody messed with her in that church. In a nutshell, she ran the church.

Even the deacons were afraid to argue with her. She knew dirt on everybody and nobody could score any dirt on her no matter how much they searched. 

One year the church had a barbecue during Juneteenth weekend to celebrate both Father's Day and Juneteenth. The men had a barbecue cook-off and the winner would get tickets to the Superbowl. All the men came out with their pits and trailers. There were men entering the competition who hadn't been to church since they were junior deacons. They were willing to do anything to get those Superbowl tickets.

Deacon Albert Pennywell won the barbecue contest. He paraded his trophy and superbowl tickets around in all the mens' faces. Mother Harper wasn't buying it. "I don't believe for a second that Albert made that barbecue. I know him and his ugly daddy. All them Pennywells got ugly ways. They used to live on my street and they were always scheming!" Everyone was shocked by Mother Harper's accusations. "Beatrice. Now you stay out my way! You just mad cause you couldn't taste nobody's barbecue through them fake teeth in yo mouth! " The people laughed. 

All the laughter stopped when Mother Harper pulled out a video on her phone of Albert buying his chicken from a barbecue restaurant in a nearby town. "He didn't even make that barbecue. He bought it!" All the members were shocked. The Superbowl tickets were taken from Albert and given to Mr. Earl Simmons. The leaders asked Albert to apologize and leave but he wouldn't. "I ain't going nowhere without my tickets!" Mother Harper told him the only ticket he would get is a "one way ticket to hell. You cheater!" Deacon Albert yelled, "Earl Simmons can't even walk. What he need Superbowl tickets for?"

Mother Harper took her umbrella and hit Albert over the head. "You ain't nothing but a cheat!"

Nothing got pass her. She saw it all, knew it all, and always had the last say. People have been asked to leave the church behind Mother Harper. This new Pastor has no idea who he is up against. She is the Judge, the Jury, and the Witness in everything. She has never been wrong and she has some kind of neuratic power over the members' minds to make them see everything her way.

The Election

One Wednesday night, as the congregation gathered, Mother Harper mustered the courage to address the church with her concerns. Standing before the assembly, she spoke with conviction, her voice carrying the weight of her years.

"Brothers and sisters, I stand before you today with a heavy heart," Mother Harper began. "While Pastor Steele may seem like a good choice on the surface, we must consider the consequences of having a single pastor. I have heard reports from his previous congregation, conflicts between him and women that tore families apart and caused chaos within the church." Her comments were followed by disturbing moans from the members.

Deacon Willie Harris stood up and replied to Mother Harper, "Now, Mother Harper, with all due respect. There ain't nothing wrong with a man taking a lady out to dinner." The members replied with chants of "Amen".

Mother Harper replied, "12 different womens. He went out with 12 different lady folk in two months. That's what Mother Ursula at Pilgrim's Rest told me. He went out with TWELVE of 'em!" 

Whispers and murmurs rippled through the pews, eyes darting between Mother Harper and the charismatic figure of Pastor Steele.

Deacon Willie responded, "Well maybe he needed one for each tribe of Israel!" All the members started laughing. "Oh I guess you're Eddie Murphy now? Your jokes are about as terrible as your Sunday morning prayers cause my great grandbaby Niesha's prayers make more sense than yours!" Somebody in the audience responded, "Nieasha sho'll can pray!" Many of the members clapped and agreed.

Rev. Steele rose from his seat, his eyes meeting Mother Harper's with a mixture of confidence and self defense.

"Mother Harper, I understand your concerns, but let me assure you that those reports are nothing more than baseless rumors," Pastor Steele responded, his voice firm yet calm. "I have dedicated my life to serving the Lord and guiding His flock. My focus has always been on the well-being of the congregation, and I have never allowed personal matters to interfere with my ministry."

Undeterred, Mother Harper fixed her gaze upon him and asked the question that had been weighing on her mind. "Pastor Steele, if you're committed to the church and its members, why have you never married? It's a cause for concern, as a pastor's personal life should reflect the values we hold according to the Word of God." The members chanted with a thunderous sound of "Amen".

Pastor Steele paused for a moment, his eyes searching for the right words. "Mother Harper, I believe that God has a plan for each of us. He hasn't yet shown me my soul mate, but that doesn't diminish my dedication to the church and my calling. My focus has been on deepening my knowledge and serving the Lord to the best of my abilities."

Mother Harper's skepticism remained, but she respected the pastor's response. As a man of great intelligence, with a Ph.D. in Theology and involvement in various state boards, Pastor Steele had the credentials to lead the church forward. Still, she couldn't shake her concerns entirely.

With the church community divided, a decision had to be made. The members wrestled with the reports and their hopes for the future of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. In the end, they chose to give Pastor Steele a chance, believing in his abilities and hoping that the rumors were unfounded. "Reverend, there is something you need to know about Mt. Zion. It's the womens who gets stuff done around here. Without the womens, this church would not have survived this long. So, if you want this ministry to continue to flourish then I suggest you do right by our womens. Spread the gospel with your mouth and not with your zipper!" Half of the members clapped and the other half murmured with concern. She reminded him not only does God watch but she'd be watching too.

After the members voted him in they all came up to the alter to welcome him to their church family. Mother Harper stood right beside him as they introduced themselves.

Meet The Members

In her sexy voice, Sis. Pauline Howard said, "Hi, Pastor Steele. Welcome to Mt. Zion..." but she was interrupted by Mother Harper. "That's enough Pauline. Close your shirt. The only girls the Pastor needs to see are your grandbabies. He don't need to see the girls behind that blouse. Keep it moving!" Pauline rolled her eyes and kept moving as the next person stepped up.

Charles Simmons was excited to share his concerns with the new Pastor. "Now we usually get out of church around 11:30. Our previous pastor, rest his soul... he understood the game comes on at noon. He made sure service was over in time for us to catch the Sunday games. Are you gonna honor the same understanding, Pastor Steele?" The Pastor shook Charlie's hand and told him he would do his best. Mother Harper interjected, "Charlie, if you don't get out the reverend's face with this foolery. You bet more money on football than you put in the offering plate. I know because I counts the money. We'll be concerned with the game when you start giving to God the way you give to them bookies. Keep it moving!"

Eleanor Harris came up. "Sis Harper." Then, Mother Harper looked at her with intimidation in her eyes, "Eleanor." The two ladies had not been on good speaking terms since Eleanor's son, Jermaine, allegedly cheated on Mother Harper's daughter, LeKisha. It was the hottest church gossip in ages that turned the two families against each other. Eleanor was over the choir. "Welcome to Mt. Zion, Reverend Steele. I look forward to hearing you preach the gospel from on high!" The Pastor gave her a smile and a hug when Mother Harper separated the two. "That's enough," she said. "What kind of perfume are you wearing, Eleanor? Oh that's that new scent, I think it's called Infidelity!"

As the two ladies exchanged heated words and eyed each other down, the Pastor turned his attention to the next person in line. A beautiful young woman in her mid-30's walked up to the altar. She was slender and had long pretty hair. Her essence had already been noticed by several of the men in the church. "What are you doing here," asked Pastor Steele. "When I heard you were going to be Pastor here I decided to move my membership," the woman replied.

With a fake cough, Mother Harper interrupted them. "I don't believe we've met. I am Mother Harper. I am the Senior Mother of the church and I am also the President of the Trustees. And you are?" The lady stretched her hand out to shake Mother Harper's hand, "I am Mina. Lamina Wesley. It's good to meet you Mother." The Pastor's confidence weakened a little by Mina's presence and Mother Harper quickly noticed a change in his demeanor. 

As Mina walked away, she glanced back at Pastor Steele and Mother Harper saw it all. She thought to herself, "Well, well, well. The good book says God gives us discernment and my spirit don't lie. I tell you, My Spirit don't lie!"

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Comments About This Book

If you are enjoying, Single Pastor, leave a comment telling us why.