If retirement grants one the opportunity to do those things that give pleasure and renewed purpose to one’s life in a time of leisure and relaxation, then the Rev. Dr. Theodore Little, Jr., is right at home in these days of leisure – doing ministry!
Officially retired in fall of 2016 as pastor of the Dome of Canaan Baptist Church (Chesapeake, VA) for over 28 years, Rev. Little continues to serve at his “home church”, First Baptist, Berkley (Norfolk, VA). He has lived a life of remarkable service and duty to his country, (including one of the first African Americans to integrate the 141st Ordnance Company of the DE National Guard, served in the Marine Corps during Vietnam); to academia (taught Biology, Physical Science, Physiology on the high school, college and university level, including Hampton University, Norfolk State University and Tidewater Community College); to his brethren (51st President of the Tidewater Metro Ministers Conference; Secretary and Second Vice Moderator of the Norfolk Union Bapt. Assn); to the community (President of the Community Resource Network of Chesapeake (CRN); to his family (husband, father of 3 children, one deceased) and to his God.
Although recovering from a recent illness, Rev. Little was kind enough to answer a few questions for HAVING CHURCH / HC magazine. His responses are below:
HC: How old were you when it became clear to you that God had called you to preach AND pastor?
REV. LITTLE: I was 41 when I answered my call. At that time, I would run 3 miles beginning at 5 AM each morning (I detest running but had grown accustomed to it as a marine). On that morning, l could not stop running. For several runs around the circle at Georgetown Primary, l kept sensing someone running with me, but saw no one. Then, the Unseen Person informed me that He would be finished with me, if l did not answer His call. When, l returned to my house, l found myself calling a marine in South Bend,IN. His wife scolded me for calling so early in the morning. Yet, when l shared with him my calling, he informed me of his calling. Then, while praying as a deacon on Palm Sunday, same message was communicated to me. This time, l turned to the Rev. Dr. William D. Tyree, ll and announced my calling. He and the congregation began rejoicing.
HC: Do you recall your first sermon?
REV. LITTLE: It was “Reasoning for Righteousness”, Acts 22-27
HC: Looking back, what has been the BEST part of pastoring?
REV. LITTLE: “If I had to prioritize, it is the interaction with the membership. At Dome of Canaan, I knew everyone by their first and second names and I treasure that.”
HC: What 3 pieces of advice/wisdom would you give to younger pastors?
REV. LITTLE: 1.) Remain faithful to the Calling; 2) Preach only Holy Spirit sanctioned messages; 3.) Teach the Word of God.