Cumberland Chapel Freewill Baptist Church pastor Dennis Deweese marks a milestone this weekend, celebrating a half century in the ministry.
In March, 1967, while attending a revival in Plainview Baptist near Fall Creek Falls State Park, 11-year-old Deweese not only responded to the message delivered by Brother Freddie Copeland, but also accepted God’s call to preach.
Deweese was one of two youngsters who accepted the call that week, the other being Darvin Oakes, who also marks his 50th year in the ministry this year.
Just two nights later, Copeland asked if Deweese had a few words to say and was surprised when the budding young evangelist had an entire sermon prepared, bringing a message from I Samuel 15: 20-33.
Over the years, he was asked to preach at various area churches, addressing congregations in Sparta, McMinnville and Dayton, with his parents James L. and Virginia, driving him to his appointments until he obtained a driver’s license. He filled in at Plainview, and following high school moved on to the Freewill Baptist Bible College in Nashville. He was ordained Oct. 19, 1974 at the Western Stone Association.
Upon graduating college in 1977, he pastored his home church at Plainview for five years, before moving to the Cumberland Chapel, where he has remained for the past 35 years. He met his future wife, Tammy Smith, at the church, marrying her in 1995. Their daughter, Morgan, is set to graduate from Boyd Christian School this spring. He has two brothers, Vernon and Bengie Deweese, and a host of nieces and nephews.
A bivocational pastor, Deweese has not only devoted much of his life to serving the Lord and his congregation, but was a dedicated employee of Magnetek-A.O. Smith until it closed. He is now employed by the U.S. Postal Service in Murfreesboro.