The McCarter Legacy in ministry lives on

March 08
04:00 2018

By Busta Brown, The Chronicle

“My mother always told me to be good to people. I will never forget that. She said that’s the calling on your life and never let nothing stop you from fulfilling that calling,” said Bishop Sheldon M. McCarter.

Dr. R.T. and Lady McCarter were his parents. While his father ran a concrete business and pastored two churches, mom kept the family together. “She was our rock.” 

In 2003, she went on to be with the Lord. Lady McCarter was 67. In 2015, Dr. R.T. McCarter lost a battle with Alzheimer’s.

The McCarter Legacy in ministry began in 1961 with the patriarch of the family, his father Dr. R.T. McCarter.

“It all began in Ayden, North Carolina. My dad was pastoring two churches, one in Vanceboro and Grifton, North Carolina.” I could see a spirit of admiration as he shared his father’s story.

“My dad also had a concrete business.  My dad was a very hard worker. It was amazing how my dad would work all day long, and then preach at night during the week and on Sunday mornings. He would do five-day revivals all night, and get up at 3 in the morning and lay concrete all day.”

Bishop Sheldon McCarter has three siblings, and Dr. R.T. McCarter was about church in their household.

“It was a serious deal. Church wasn’t an option for us. We had to go.”

But the patriarch wasn’t too strict. “My dad was very relaxed. He allowed us to be children, and have fun. Like school functions, listen to music on the radio, like Parliament Funkadelic, The Temptations, and play sports as well. He was real clear in letting us know that he was still ruler and authority.”

Every Tuesday night he and his siblings were at Bible study, and during revivals, they were in church, “even if there was a football game. But he still allowed us to be children and do what children do.” Dr. R.T. was a great provider. “My dad made sure we didn’t have a care in the world.”

Bishop McCarter admired what his father did. “He was my role model. As a child I would mimic my dad. I knew I was going to be a pastor like him. It was something I gravitated to. After church, when we got home, I put on his big shirt; that was my robe. I would get in front of my mirror and preach a full sermon. And my sister would be the choir. I would tell my siblings to sit down and listen to me preach.”

Bishop McCarter was born the day of his father’s initial sermon. “He always jokingly reminded me of that.” Dr. R.T. McCarter pastored for 45 years in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

“There were times he didn’t recognize us [because of his Alzheimer’s], but one Sunday I was fortunate to have him introduce me before one of my sermons. He said ‘Sheldon is about to preach, hear him.’ Shortly after, he went on to be with the Lord.”

Bishop McCarter and his three siblings – Carlton, Audrey and Tiff – are now pastors. Sheldon was the first. Bishop Sheldon M. McCarter is now the senior pastor of Greater Church in Winston-Salem. He has served as senior pastor and teacher of the ministry since 1988.

Check out the rest of my interview with Bishop McCarter, as he shares some very personal and intimate details about his trials and tribulations as pastor, husband and father.  He also shares some intimate details about how he met his beautiful his wife and Co-Pastor Joyce McCarter, and how she believed in him when no one else did; and she still does. It’s a powerful interview. Go to the Chronicle’s YouTube channel @ Winstonsalem Chronicle. 

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