A new church in Altavista is already busting at the seams. Pastor WL Pillow has moved his congregation from the Booker Building to 1056 Ward’s Road, on southbound 29 across from Discovery Ford. Most new churches struggle with attendance, but not Transformation Baptist Church. WL Pillow brings his own brand of down-to-earth, everyman Christ-centered worship to our area. There is no pretense of expectation; just a welcoming embrace for those in pain or who want to worship in a relaxed atmosphere. WL has a passionate heart for all who are hurting. From youth ministry and prison ministry to those struggling with addiction and unanswered questions; all are welcome at his door.
Like many of us, WL’s young life was far from God-centered. He was a normal, worldly teen living for himself until he started becoming serious about his girlfriend, then named Cori Jo Snyder. She inspired him to get back into church, realizing that his soul was in torment. WL himself admits that ever since the tragic loss of his sister when he was fifteen years old, he had been running away from God. He looked for love and acceptance in places that did not fill his heart and finally allowed himself to be led back to God. Within two months of accepting the call to preach, WL’s mother died. Before she passed, WL remembers God speaking to his heart. He was told his mother wasn’t going to make it, but that He would be with him every step of the way. WL’s mother was a committed Christian, in turmoil over the decisions her son was making. She prayed and cried and prayed some more, wanting nothing more than for her personal savior to save her son. And He did. The fact that she lived to see the beginning of his transformation was a gift directly from the Almighty to his cherished daughter.
WL served for two years as a youth pastor at Glory Baptist in Appomattox under the tutelage of Chris Brooks, who used to serve the local community as a member of Altavista’s Police Department. While WL worked with Chris, he played a part in establishing a program called the Word of Life for high school students and was ordained as a pastor. Although it pained him to leave a phenomenal program that he felt was just getting underway, he knew that God had other plans for him.
WL knew in his heart that God was calling him to preach, but he just couldn’t see how that was going to happen. He hadn’t completed his theology degree and didn’t have much experience and he allowed those reasons to get in the way. But God kept at it and when WL finally decided to be obedient and plant the church in Altavista that he felt led to do, he was able to see miraculous things take place. People from all over, many of whom had never attended church before, started to find their way to the Booker Building. WL would be the first to admit that it was not him, but God who led the first soul to salvation at his very first meeting. He had prayed for a month prior to that day and when God brought her forward, he was “blown away”. Since then, he has witnessed God working in tremendous ways.
“I felt like I was living out Romans 12:2,” Pastor Pillow commented. “‘Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’ That’s what happened to me,” he said. He spoke of the exact moment that he decided to give it all to God and it’s the subsequent feeling that he says he wants everyone to experience.
The words of Billy Graham also hit home with WL. The spiritual giant once said, “God will lead a man as far as he can go with the education he has.” These words gave WL the courage to start, but he realizes that if he wants more, more is required. He is currently attending Liberty’s theology school in Biblical Studies seeking a degree in Christian Counseling.
In addition to studying, preaching, and being an engaged husband and father of four, with a fifth one on the way, WL works full time at Foster Fuels as the shop manager. He loves his job and is excited that Mr. Foster is so supportive of his heart for ministry. Every Monday at lunch time, WL heads up a Bible Inspiration class for the employees. “We need to put Christ in the workplace as well as our homes and schools,” WL exclaimed. “Our country thinks it’s Christian, but it isn’t Christ-centered anymore. We need to do better.”
Service at the Transformation Baptist Church is held on Sunday morning from 11 am to noon. WL and Cori Jo would love to have you stop by.