Church News


Please join us for the ordination service of Clay Mason on Sunday, December 22, at 6:00PM.

For the last three years, Clay has served as our Interim Minister to College Students, and he also helps lead our Internationals and Senior Adult ministries. Clay has not only faithfully served in these areas, but feels called to the pastoral ministry. He has expressed his desire to have that call recognized and affirmed by his church through ordination.

Below you will find Clay’s testimony and call to ministry. Make plans to come out and support him on the December 22.

Pastor Gary's Signature


I was raised in a Christian home by two loving parents. I came to Christ at about age 8 and was baptized by Dr. C. Roy Angel at Central Baptist Church in Miami. I attended church, Sunday School, and Training Union as long as I lived at home, but I do not recall being overly spiritual, even as a young adult. Even while claiming to be a Christian, I rebelled and moved away from what I had been taught at both home and church.
Clay Mason

After high school, I started college but did not finish because it was difficult for me. I then joined the Navy to avoid the draft but continued my rebellious ways. Through it all, the Lord continued to watch over me. For example, I wanted to be a military pilot more than anything. Due to my lack of a college degree, only the Army would allow a transfer so I could attend flight school. The night before I was to transfer, the USS Pueblo, a Naval vessel, was captured by the North Koreans thus preventing my transfer. This was just before the United States got involved in the Vietnam Conflict.

After separating from the Navy, I returned home to finish my education and start working. My first job was with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. After working for several years I finally obtained my college degree.

The Lord continued protecting me while working in law enforcement. After a successful sting operation that should have resulted in my death, you would think that I would begin to take my faith more serious, but I did not. My first marriage ended in divorce leaving me alone, depressed, and suicidal. Yet the Lord continued to draw me to Him.

I started attending church again and I remember a turning point. We had a visiting artist, Andrew, singing for our youth one Sunday. The songs he sang pierced my heart and soul and I remember sobbing due to my brokenness. With the help and guidance of Dr. Robert McMillian and Mark Wilbanks, I rededicated my life to Christ. Since then, He gave me a second chance at marriage with a godly wife, three more fantastic children, and the opportunity to serve him.

Clay Mason and his wife, Tina Mason


In November 2008, I was employed by the Florida Supreme Court’s Marshall’s Office. I had received two promotions and an equal number of commendations in just over a year. So, it was quite a shock to me when one Wednesday afternoon my services were no longer needed. To say I was crushed would be a gross understatement. I had never been terminated from any job.

At that time, Clint Purvis had announced that he was transitioning from Minister to College Students to Minister to FSU Athletes starting January 2009. This move would leave a vacancy in our college ministry here at FBCTLH.

Just a couple weeks after my termination, Dr. Doug Dortch called and asked if I would be interested in the Interim Minister to College Student’s position while a search was made for a permanent replacement for Clint.

After much prayer, I willingly accepted the invitation to serve in January 2009 until Zach Allen came on board in January 2010. In November 2016, Josh Hall reached out to me and asked if I would consider filling in for 6 months to a year. I’m now into my third year as an interim and have added Internationals and Senior Adults to my ministry responsibilities. Pastor Gary has asked if, after a permanent College Minister is called, I would stay on in a permanent capacity to Minister to Internationals and Senior Adults.

My love for and desire to serve God was sure and after 30 plus years of ministering to college students, I have seen the Lord’s hand on my life. Isaiah 55:8 says “For My thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.” No doubt God has been in control and now I desire to answer His call on my life and to be set apart for gospel ministry.

— Clay Mason