The 62-year-old pastor, originally from Yakima, Wash., was listing to a radio broadcast from evangelist C.M. Ward when it hit him like a bolt of lightning:
“It sounds strange to a lot of people, but as he was finishing it was just like electricity went through me,” Tucker says. “I turned to my mom and said ‘Mom, God wants me to be a preacher.’”
Since that day Tucker, or Pastor Chuck as many people have come to call him, has dedicated his life to spreading the word of God.
While he participated in various church activities growing up, his parents settled in St. Petersburg, Fla. where he eventually attended bible college. Tucker formally began his career as a preacher at age 19 with a bus ministry, where he reached out to youth throughout different neighborhoods in St. Petersburg.
His early experiences with the bus ministry taught him a lot about working with people. What started out of a Volkswagen van in his parents front yard, performing puppet shows for children and spreading Jesus Christ’s teachings, would eventually turn into a flatbed truck pulpit in a city park blocked off for more than 1,600 children in attendance.
For Tucker the goal has always been bringing people together by building up parish communities whose numbers were down, then moving on to the next town and doing it all over again.
“Never wanted to be a pastor, always wanted to be an evangelist,” he says.
Since starting out in St. Petersburg Tucker’s ministries have taken him across the country. He’s rebuilt Assembly of God church communities from Florida to Alaska to New Mexico, and in Montana he’s revived churches in Superior and Big Fork before arriving in Ennis last October.
The road has not always been easy. Often times Tucker had to work a full-time job outside of the church just to support himself and wife Linda. Even for a man who has spent a lifetime pursuing his faith, there were times when he had his doubts.
But the doubt came from outside, not from within his spirituality. It came from people he worked with. People from within the church community who turned against each other when their faith was tested, and contradicted the very beliefs they came together to profess each week. For a time, Tucker even stopped attending church. Not until he was deep in prayer one night, alone in a hotel room, did he realize that it was the people who had let him down, not God.
Today, Tucker is pleased with the progress he’s made with the local Assembly of God community. He’s proud to announce that numbers at Sunday services have almost doubled since he got here.
“Anybody that attended the church here six months ago and was to come back this Sunday would see there’s been a big change,” he said. “We try and develop a real family atmosphere in the church.”
His immediate goal for the Ennis community is to reach out to the young people in the area, building up the church through the leaders of tomorrow. Throughout his career Tucker has seen just about everything, the good and the bad. Its not surprising to learn where he sees God in his life, from watching whitetail deer out the window of his home every morning to graciously accepting a bottle of water from a little girl before his sermon at church each Sunday.
For now, Pastor Chuck is enjoying the opportunity to get to know people around the community. He takes the time to give everyone a fair smile and a firm handshake, getting down on eye level to talk with the children who come to Sunday service.
“I want the little kids to know I’m their pastor, not just their parents pastor,” he says.