He’s a certified 4-H master swine volunteer, but the congregation of Grace United Methodist Church in Copperas Cove knows him best as “pastor.”

Stephen Schmidt has ministered at the church for 12 years. But he began serving God many years ago, after receiving the call to ministry at a revival he attended when he was 16.

A native of Moody, Schmidt graduated from high school in 1978, attended Temple Junior College for two years and earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Southwestern University in Georgetown. Later, he received his master’s degree in divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

He began his first pastorate at Ireland and LeVita United Methodist Church when he was just a freshman in college. Schmidt became pastor of Grace about 12 years ago.

Schmidt and his wife, Karen, have three daughters, Sarah, Samantha, and Stephanie. When they were teens, they all raised champion show pigs with the help of their dad. Schmidt, who has advised and taught young people about raising pigs, is a certified master swine volunteer for 4-H in Texas.

Cindy Yancey, a 20-year church administrator, has worked with Schmidt since he arrived in Copperas Cove.

“I have worked with Pastor Schmidt for 12 years, and he has the heart of a pastor who truly cares for people,” she said.

Schmidt, his family and the church congregation were tested last year when his grandson, Hunter, now 3, became severely ill and was hospitalized for two months. Schmidt was stretched between family and church duties, he said, and he felt the church suffered from it. But his congregation prayed and the power of those prayers helped Hunter recover.

Looking to the future, Schmidt continues to have high hopes for his church.

“I would like to see Grace United Methodist achieve full potential and be the church that God is calling us to be as we follow God together,” he said.

“Between now and the time I retire, it is my goal to reach all people possible for the sake of Christ.”

Schmidt said it is a privilege to pastor in Copperas Cove.

“Educators, military and business people make me glad to be a pastor in ministry here.”

Grace United Methodist Church is at 101 W. Avenue F.

Herald/Sandra Duffy Oliver

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