Hands-on pastor still gaining admirers after 3 decades
North Penn Baptist Church celebrated the Rev. Warren H. Marshall Jr.’s 30th anniversary on Sunday.
Warren, who is North Penn’s ninth senior pastor, was recognized for being a hands-on leader who likes being involved with everything from the church’s upkeep to its outreach efforts.
“I feel humbled and excited that I’ve been able to pastor one congregation for thirty years,” said Marshall. “It has to do with patience and a willingness to change, a willingness to remember who I am in terms of my relationship with God and using that as my focus for [undertaking] how I approach the congregation [that] God has blessed me to lead.”
Marshall says one of his most proudest accomplishments during his tenure was the growth in the young people who the church has been able to mentor. But members lauded him for his attention to detail inside and outside the church.
“If I had to use one word — dedicated,” said deacon Mike Lowry. “He’s a hands-on pastor. He doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He will be out here sweeping the streets [or] he’s up on the roof.”
The deacon added that such involvement was also what saved his life.
“Twenty-something years ago, I was addicted to drugs. [And] in my addiction, I talked to the pastor. He stepped out of his comfort zone and took me where I needed to go. He personally drove me there,” said Lowry.
“I love this man for that because I had been trying to get clean but nothing worked. I [tried] a 28-day program, came out and got high again. This program was a Bible-based program and through that I’ve been clean ever since, that was nine to 10 years ago,” he said.
Deanna I. Harris, a member for 48 years and president of the Leadership Council, said when her son died, Marshall was there for her.
“[He’s] like a brother to me. I lost my son seven years ago and he was there from the time I called him that morning. That was my oldest child,” she said. “It was just knowing that God is there, that’s the type of pastor he is.”
Outside North Penn, Marshall has been just as, if not equally as involved.
Deaconess Alice Morris, who also served as chair of the anniversary committee, notes Marshall regularly meets with the neighborhood committee people and political ward leaders, and opens the church’s center for their community meetings.
“It’s a blessing for him to be our shepherd, leading us in the right direction with our prayers and understanding of the Bible. He goes above and beyond the call,” said Morris. “He meets with [leaders] to try to better this community. He meets with the Stop and Surrender (recovery program) to see what their needs are. He opens up Bible study for them and has prayer service with them.”
Marshall said his interest in civic engagement lies in his desire to see people in the community treated fairly. He’s especially concerned about the youth and said a key piece of his mission as pastor is molding North Penn into a place that can help them.
“I would like to be here for a minimum of five years. There are some administrative things I want to put in place so that whoever comes and succeeds me will be transitioning into a place where the proper systems are in place and people know what they are supposed to do and are able to do them, always undergirded by prayer and scripture,” he said.
“This area is rich in little people. [And] urban development is on its way to our area right now,” Marshall said about the community near the church at 2419 N 27th St. “The developers have already started coming in and buying up vacant land such that there is going to be a great deal of things happening just in this geographical area.
“[But] the quality of education our kids are getting leaves a lot to be desired. It’s a matter of motivating and educating the families of children, to motivate them to get involved with their kids. If we can do that, I would be extremely satisfied,” he added.