The Daily News’ weekly Neighbors series features one person from LaGrange and the surrounding area. This week we sought a little heavenly guidance with Blake Trent, the associate pastor at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange.
LaGrange Daily News: What do you do here at the church?
Blake Trent: I am the associate pastor, which means right now I’m working a lot with young adults and college students. We just started a college ministry. I lead worship on Sundays and just sort of assist in a lot of areas with the head pastor Brian Germano.
LDN: What is the best part of your job?
Trent: The best part of my job is just getting to build a relationship with a lot of the people who come to First Methodist that are either longtime members or visitors. Just sort of getting to know people on a deep level, and not so much answering questions about God but joining their conversation about what it means to know God and to follow Christ. That is always the perk of this job.
LDN: And what would you say that the most interesting of those conversations was?
Trent: I can’t pick out just one, but think anytime you either get to look at a scripture, or you get to sit with a group of people who have just put the pieces together about something new that they understand about God, about Jesus or about the Bible. I think it’s always enjoyable, exciting to to get to go down that path to get to see how they are being shaped and molded by what they are seeing and how they’re growing. So, I’d say just in general those are the most interesting and most fun parts. So, anytime you’re getting to talk to each other. Preachers get to talk a lot by themselves, you know, talk to people, but you know it is much better when you can have a conversation.
LDN: How did you become a pastor?
Trent: Well, when I was in Athens, I graduated from Journalism school, and I really decided I really liked telling stories, but all of the things that I got to do as a writer were just not great stories. I loved writing about sports, and I did local news reporting, but it just wasn’t as inspiring as I thought it would be. I had been working as a volunteer with the youth with the local United Methodist Church in Athens, and it just really became clear to me that the story that I wanted to tell was the story of God and Christ. … When I graduated from UGA, I started seminary while I was in Athens. I started to realize I wanted to do that on more of a full-time basis, so I heard that LaGrange was looking for (a youth pastor), and I applied. I ended up here.
LDN: What do you think is the most beautiful place in town?
Trent: I’ve lived right down the street (from the church) near Gordon Street for probably five years now, and I walk up and down Gordon and Springdale all the time, and I just always feel like that is such a beautiful place. You can see families playing in their yard. There’s all sorts of interesting dogs and cats that approach you from different people’s yards, and I always walk down to the end of Gordon Street. There is this place that I’ve known for five years that if at night, you stand at the right place there are no streetlights, and on a clear night you can see stars. I think that is probably my favorite place.
LDN: What is the best part about working here in LaGrange?
Trent: The people. I moved here. I met my wife. Obviously that is an enormous perk of being in LaGrange. I met the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve made a handful of deep, lifelong relationships with people that I (will) know from now on. That’s my favorite part of living here. The people that I’ve gotten real close to.
LDN: What are your hobbies?
Trent: I am an Atlanta sports fan. I’ve always felt that if you grow up in a certain state or a certain city, you should be a fan of your state’s teams, and … I love dinosaurs. That’s one of my fun little quirks. (Katie and I) got married in June, and the groomsmen processed in to the “Jurassic Park” theme. I went to see “Jurassic Park” in theaters, and ever since I was a little boy I’ve just always loved dinosaurs. They are the coolest thing. I like to read, and I recently just finished a book series about a giant dinosaur shark.
LDN: What kind of business would you like to see open up in LaGrange?
Trent: Anything that would enrich and enliven the downtown experience. I would love to see more bakeries, more coffee shops, more things that would encourage people to want to walk downtown, and to enjoy the downtown area. It would be great in the future … to see no empty store fronts. Just have lots of cool businesses that sort of promote all the great things that we have to do in LaGrange. I’m a coffee shop person, so if we had a downtown coffee shop, I think that’d be cool … to walk up the street to get coffee.
‘Neighbors’ is a weekly series by the Daily News that highlights community members. To nominate a person to be featured, call Daily News editor Matthew Strother at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153, or email [email protected]