It was a special celebration today in Longview, for a pastor who has spent over 3 decades preaching at the same church. In 1970, 34 year old Dr. Laney L. Johnson took over as pastor of "Mobberly Baptist Church", and he hasn't looked back.
"We've just had a wonderful time, sort of amazing how the lord has blessed" says Dr. Johnson.
35 years and 5 thousand sermons later, his congregation decided to pay tribute to a man who has preached to two generations.
"Just one day at a time, I'm not as young as i used to be that's the only problem" he says.
And a thanks was given to the woman who has been at his side the whole time. "It has been absolutely wonderful I wouldn't have traded places with anybody in the world, this church is a warm loving church" says wife Emily Johnson.
In a ceremony filled with music and testimonials from people he touched, Johnson was overcome with emotion several times. He says his best memories of his tenure are the churches' growth over the years, and the people who made it possible.
"The primary memory I have is of the people and their graciousness to us personally as friends and as pastor" Johnson says.
For Johnson, it was a day that reminded him why he was a pastor. "If this was the last day , we never would have imagined that we would have the privilege of serving with such a great church and such great people" he says.
When Dr. Johnson became pastor at Mobberly in 1970, church membership was just over 1,900. Today it's over 7,000.