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'God keeps enlarging my vision'

Todd Buterbaugh, 27, has pastored East Clarksburg Wesleyan Methodist Church in Broadway for five years. It has quintupled in attendance since he came and is becoming denominationally independent. He is a Pennsylvania native. Here is his story as told to Regional Editor Nora Edinger.

CLARKSBURG -- "I really don't have any preachers in my family. My greatest fear growing up was that I would have to be one.

"That kept me from committing to God for a long time.

"I was signed up for college. I wanted to be an FBI or CIA agent. But that summer before college, God just really took me clear to the bottom inside.

"I went to Bible college instead, and that's where I was called into the ministry.

"I came here five years ago. I was 22 and single. I'm so tired of hearing about single. I'm so tired of hearing about young.

"But rather than take offense, it's presented a great challenge in my life. I'm young, but God can take a young person and make a person of godly character.

"Everything has happened to me, though. Like when I arrived at the funeral home and the director asked me what grade I was in. Or at the teen New Year's party when they were going around the room trying to find a girl to kiss me at midnight.

"Once, I was racing my motorcycle on vacation, and I crashed and broke my foot. The first day I came back I had to preach a funeral and had to get up there with my cast and crutches. That was pretty embarrassing.

"I've done about 55 funerals now and 35 weddings.

"(Being younger has probably influenced my preaching style.)

"We have a pulpit, but I put it in the basement. We needed more room on the platform, but it's mainly to let the people know that I'm approachable and God is approachable.

"This isn't a church where I'm preaching at you. We're learning together.

"That's what I like best about being a minister -- being able to totally pour your life out for the most valuable thing in the world, and that's people.

"My people take care of me, too. I have the absolutely greatest people in the world. They feed me at their homes and bring stuff to me.

"We're getting ready to expand here in Broadway. God keeps enlarging my vision.

"My greatest fear is coming to the end of my life and realizing that I could have been more than what I was for God."

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