By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
WALKER, La. (LBM) – Merelin McCon retired from Judson Baptist Church in 2010 but returned “home” in 2016 to teach a Bible study and disciple others at the church he pastored for 33 years.
“It’s been awesome, and I have thankful I was able to return here,” McCon told the Baptist Message. “I didn’t even want to come to Judson to pastor here years ago. But I’m thankful I said, ‘Yes’ to that opportunity, and it’s been so special coming back and helping others grow in their walks with Christ.”
McCon (who actively pastored 55 years) was named a Louisiana Baptist Convention Exemplary Bi-vocational Pastor of the Year for his dedication to ministry.
A native of Colyell, McCon was 13 years old when he surrendered his heart to Christ during a service at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Baton Rouge. Four years later, McCon submitted to the call to preach the Gospel.
He began his education to prepare for ministry at Louisiana College (now Louisiana Christian University), in 1957, and during his senior year began a pastorate with the Twin Bridges Baptist Church in Alexandria, two days after he married his wife, Edith.
Later he served as pastor with Magnolia Baptist Church, Holden (1963-1967), Line Creek Baptist Church, Kentwood (1967-1977), Judson Baptist Church (1977-2010), and Northside Baptist, Denham (2011-2016).
While at Judson, McCon saw worship grow from 100 to 350, helped plant Live Oak Baptist Church, Watson, and Christ’s Community Church, Denham Springs, and baptized more than 600 people.
He also led the church in 2005 to minister to those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. For two weeks after the storm the church fed hundreds daily and for four months, they housed 100 people in their classrooms. The congregation built strong relationships with the evacuees, and some received Christ and followed through with baptism.
“It was awesome to say the least,” he said. “I had one of them one day tell me he had just moved out of Hell and moved into Heaven when he came to Judson. It was a real joy to see these people come to Christ, many of them had no church but finally found one here.”
Although McCon thought his ministry was completed when he retired, God had other plans. The leadership asked if he would return in 2016 and he rejoined the spiritual family he had spent many years nurturing as pastor.
“God promoted me from being a pastor to being a Sunday school teacher,” he said. “One of the most comforting thoughts of becoming an old man with a reduced ministry is the fact that hundreds hear the Gospel every week through men who surrendered to ministry under our ministry.”
Eastern Louisiana Baptist Association Missions Strategist Richard Blue called McCon one of the most respected individuals in the area and a friend to pastors in the area, having trained countless men who later became pastors and leaders in their churches.
“He has a heart for God, people and missions,” he said. “No doubt, Merelin McCon has been and remains an influencer in the lives of people in Livingston Parish. He has been faithful to his Lord, the Lord’s Church and to the work of the Kingdom of God.”