Home Christian News ‘The Church Is My Life’—71-Year-Old Pastor Shot in Mouth Returns to Pulpit...

‘The Church Is My Life’—71-Year-Old Pastor Shot in Mouth Returns to Pulpit on Easter

Pastor Clemmie Livingston Jr.
Screengrab via YouTube @ABC24 Memphis

On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 25, Pastor Clemmie Livingston Jr. of New Zionfield Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, was shot in the mouth during a car theft that took place in the church’s parking lot.

Authorities are still looking for the two suspects, who stole a silver 2019 Chevrolet Corvette and shot the pastor. Livingston, 71, was critically injured after he walked out of the church to investigate car alarms in the church parking lot before being shot.

The pastor’s wife, Gwendoline, told FOX13, “He never talked to anybody. He never went to anybody. He didn’t try to stop anything. He didn’t deserve that. He didn’t confront anybody.”

The bullet that hit Livingston shattered his entire jaw. “So where that bone is supposed to be straight, it’s like a lot of little pieces of rocks, so that’s unrepairable,” Gwendoline said.

RELATED: ‘He Feared No Evil’—70-Year-Old Pastor Shot While Trying To Stop Car Theft Before Church

Roughly a month later, on Easter morning (March 31), Livingston miraculously returned to the pulpit for the first time since being shot.

“You see this jaw,” Livingston told WMC Action5 News on Easter Sunday. Pointing to his head, the pastor added, “It could have been right here. I’m still alive. What more can you ask for?”

“I really believe in my spirit that God left me here for a reason, if no more than to be an example for my children,” Livingston said.

“What people have to realize,” he added, “is sometimes God will say to you, ‘Not yet.’”

With a brace in his jaw, Livingston told the congregation, “You know it’s resurrection Sunday, but it also is a testimony Sunday for me.”

As he preached, the pastor used his story to encourage congregants to “endure until the end,” pointing to Matthew 24:13.

“A few weeks ago, my faith was tested. A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted,” Livingston said. “I had to hold on to the faith when I was struck by a stray bullet. Don’t know where it came from. I just saw myself going down on my knees.”