For 30 years, Rev. Larry Coleman has been a dominate voice for change and spiritual guidance for Restored Life Ministries and for the City of Springfield. However, on Sept. 24, Coleman will relinquish his role of senior pastor of Restored Life Minitries and begin his year-long transformation into Pastor Emeritus.
Through his three decades as senior pastor of Restored Life Ministries, Coleman was responsible for the spiritual and physical growth of the church. This growth included the building of the church’s new sanctuary and multi-purpose facility in 1997, establishing and strengthening their outreach programs, including their annual “Taking It To The Streets”, and the renaming of the church from St. Luke Baptist Church to Restored Life Ministries. The name was changed as Coleman recognized a visionary shift within the church, as well as the change from a Baptist church to a non-denominational church.
Coleman, a Dayton native, came to Restored Life in the late 1970s at the request of his sister, who was a member of the church. Coleman was so impressed with the spirit of the church and its impact on the community, he decided to stay.
Coleman became a minister in 1980 and became senior pastor in Sept. 1986, after then-St. Luke Baptist church’s pastor, Rev. S.W. Rozzell passed away.
Prior to becoming a pastor, Coleman was a member of the national recording group “The Imperials of Dayton, OH.” The Imperials would pioneer the genre of inspirational music with songs such as “Unity” and “We Need Him Now”. Coleman attributes his musical ministry as the catylyst for his walk with God. Coleman would go on to record a solo project, “Larry Coleman and Friends.” This project was partially produced by legendary Gospel singer Walter Hawkins. Coleman was mentored musically by Hawkins and fellow Gospel singer Rance Allen.
Coleman acknowledges the support from fellow clergy, leadership of Springfield and law enforcement for his success as a pastor. He also recognizes that without the support of his wife, Evon, he could not have been the man he is today. “She was sent to me by God,” said Coleman. “She accepted me and supported me faithfully and made this difficult job that much easier.”
The waters traveled as pastor was not smooth sailing for Coleman as he battled drug addiction during his time as pastor. After recovering from his addiction, he went on to create the Center of Restoration and Empowerment, a nonprofit group focusing on those battling and recovering from substance abuse. “My addiction inspired me to do it,” said Coleman. “After the Lord delivered me from my drug addiction, my sensitivity to those who were struggling inspired me to establish CORE.” CORE worked in partnership with McKinley Hall.
Coleman is also a survivor of prostate cancer.
Coleman’s leadership reached beyond the pulpit. Coleman was intregal in helping Springfield win its designation as “All American City” in 2004.
Pastor Jermain Maynard will assume the role of pastor following Coleman’s retirement banquet. Maynard, a North Carolina native, previously spent time in Springfield as the former assistant youth pastor and at WPAFB during his time in the U.S. Air Force.
Through all the ups and downs within his pastorial tenure, Coleman has remained grateful for the support that Springfield has shown to him and his family.
“I am greatful for the favor God has given me here in Springfield,” said Coleman. “Even though I’m not from here, Springfield has accepted me as one of their own and I will miss the opportunity to spiritually share the word every Sunday to God’s people in Springfield.”
Coleman will remain at Restored Life Ministries as the transitional pastor, providing support for Pastor Maynard in various business and spiritual areas. Once the transition of pastoralship has been completed, Coleman will officially become Pastor Emeritus.
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