Mike Massey is only 20 years old and pretty much has an idea of what he wants to do with his life.
He wants to be a preacher.
Not that he isn’t already.
It’s the title his fellow classmates gave him as they walked the halls of Lake Wales High School, “Preacher Man.”
An intern at the Golfview Church of God, Massey says he has been preaching since he was 16 years old, when he became, “saved, sanctified and baptized in the Holy Ghost.”
“And then God called me,” he said.
Yet, his mother and father, Cristy and Chris Massey, say that he was preaching at 7 years old in the front yard, setting up a makeshift pulpit and using a Coke bottle for a microphone.
Preacher Man smiles.
Preacher Man says his mentor is his church’s pastor, Denny Cothern.
“I grew up in the church and then I got out of the church when I was like, 11 to 14. Then I got back to church. I had seen what was going on in my school, because you see different things taking place.”
Those things, he noted, were things like shootings in the community, students dealing with bullying and one student, whose father had a tumor and needed comfort.
Another student had brought the girl to the Highlander Prayer group, and the students in the group prayed for the girl’s father before he went into surgery.
Another time, a girl in his neighborhood had been “body slammed.”
“They thought she wasn’t going to be able to walk because she was just laying there, cold,” he said. “Her cousin was part of our youth group. I told all the kids to get together and start praying. Then when she got to the hospital, we went with her and she had told the police, ‘all I remember is that I went down and I heard the preacher and I heard all these people praying,’ and the cops were like, ‘there was no preacher there.’ And my mom was like, ‘yeah, my son was there.’”
Word got around, as he prayed on the spot for students who requested it.
Pretty soon he was being asked to speak at various religious gatherings outside of school, such as the Martin Luther King Day Gospelfest.
Even in the aftermath of shootings that took place at the Lake Wales Women’s Club and elsewhere in the community, he said that, “You have to look at all these things and see what God is already doing through those different situations that are taking place.”
He says that there are a lot of positive things going on in Lake Wales, some of which are churches building new youth centers and conducting widespread community outreach in feedings on the weekends.
Massey was called upon to teach at the monthly Care Center bread distribution.
The idea was that those who wished could come and pick up bread items, and hear a lesson brought by Massey, which was always closed with prayer for those who sought it.
His witness to others is something he is mindful of, noting that after he started preaching, “More kids were looking up to me than looking down on me, because they knew that if God was for me, that if I was in obedience to God, they could see that their lives would change as well,” he said.
Massey was an officer in the Future Farmers of America chapter at the high school and also participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Preacher Man is the son of Chris and Cristy Massey, and he has one brother, Dominique, and a sister, Celeste.
This summer, he is working in the community and is registered to attend Southeastern University in the fall.
It is a long way from the front yard with a makeshift pulpit and Coke bottle microphone.
But he hopes to bring that message back one day and continue the work he has started.
For more information about Massey or Golfview Church of God, email Massey at email@example.com.