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Dr. David and Shirley Gallamore: The Joys of Ministry

Written by Karen Brewer

David and Shirley Gallamore

“I feel blessed of God,” Dr. David Gallamore said of the years he has served as Pastor of Rock Springs Baptist Church, where he preached his first sermon on September 11, 1983.

“It has been a great partnership," he told this writer. "The people have been so cooperative, so willing to do whatever it takes. Whether it has been building new buildings, or starting new ministries, or calling new staff, they have been open, sought the Lord’s will, and followed the Lord. I look forward to the future. 

“I’m thankful for the growth, and for the people who have been saved,” he added. “Of the blessed things, being Pastor for a long time, I’ve seen babies born who are now going to college or babies born for whom I now perform weddings. There are sad memories, too, seeing some of the folks who were pillars of the church slip from us, dying, going to Heaven. But seeing the church have a strong, healthy attitude and a good testimony in the
community is a real blessing. 

“It has been a fruitful ministry. God has been good to us. These years have been good years, but they have gone by in a hurry. It seems like it was just yesterday that I came. It has been a very enjoyable, satisfying ministry, but I still believe God has a lot He wants us to do. I think there are a lot of people we still need to reach and that there are a lot of things we need to do. I believe God still has great plans in store for us.”

                Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine                                                                       

  The current sanctuary for Rock Springs Baptist Church

Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine                                           
    Rock Springs Baptist Church's former sanctuaries, built, respectively, in 1990, 1959, and 1922.

The eighth of ten children born to John ‘Red’ and Margaret Gallamore of City View, South Carolina surrendered to the ministry in his early 20’s. “It was God’s calling on my life,” said Gallamore. “I was headed in another direction, and God called me to preach. My life took an absolute different course. I was 22 when I sensed His call. I started to school when I was 23. I first started pastoring when I was 25. God’s call is hard to explain. It was not a vocation that I set out to choose. It was something He chose me for, and I’m glad I said yes.” 

Mentors in his life have included one of his own Pastors, Rev. Gene Lloyd, and Dr. Kenneth Riddings, who taught at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute when Gallamore was a student and who became President of the school. 

Gallamore began his ministry at the First Baptist Church of Wahoo in Bushnell, Florida, where he pastored for five years before being called to Rock Springs in 1983. 


Rev. David Gallamore in 1983, 
the year he came to Rock Springs

“It’s rare for somebody to stay that long,” he said. “But I think the longer
ministries are the most productive. It’s a testimony to a church when a Pastor stays that long, and a testimony to the Pastor, and a testimony to God’s goodness and God’s grace. Some call it almost like a marriage, a good fit. When I came here, I never dreamed I would be here this long or that what has taken place would take place, at least as quickly as it has. But the area has grown, and God has given us a visible frontage where people coming by could see us. And the people have been unified and have had a warm spirit, being very cooperative and determined to do whatever it takes. The folks who were here and the hundreds God has brought here since we’ve been here have been willing to do what is necessary, doing the work of the Kingdom, and God has honored that. 

“It has been a wonderful life. It’s a job that never gets done, because there are always hurting people. Being in the ministry, if God has called you, is the most wonderful thing in the world, but sometimes the hours and demands of the tasks that you are asked to be a part of can take a toll on you. You’re called on to ‘wear a lot of hats’, to be a preacher, a teacher, counselor, financier, administrator, personnel manager, planner, someone who visits hospitals and does funerals and performs weddings, and a multitude of other things on top of that. 

“There are times when it’s difficult,” he said of his ministry, “when you face death, divorce, or tragedy. But then there is the bright side of seeing people married and babies born and grandchildren coming along, and people getting saved and lives changed and people living fruitful lives. That makes it all worth it. It makes it all worth it.” 

Photograph by Karen Brewer                                                                                                             

Deacon and building committee members participated with Pastor Gallamore in the April 28, 2002 groundbreaking of the current sanctuary. Pictured, left to right, are: Marvin Ellenburg,  Eddie Cleveland, Tom Baer of Triangle Construction, Raymond Walker, Chuck Attaway, Stanley Brooks, Wayne Atkinson, Steve Lesley, Rick Ellis, Ed Gaines, Tom Brogdon, Jack Gallamore, and Pastor David Gallamore.

Photograph by Karen Brewer                                                                              
                    Pastor Gallamore in September, 2002, on the site for the sanctuary completed in 2004.

                                                          Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine                                                      

                                                         Pastor David Gallamore the morning of May 16, 2004, the first Sunday 
                                          he preached in Rock Springs Baptist Church's current sanctuary.

Gallamore credited his family for their support. He and his wife, Shirley, have three daughters, Stacey, Tonya, and Samantha (Sam), and several grandchildren. “The Lord has given me a good family,” said Gallamore. “My family is very special and important to me. They have been very supportive. My wife is part of my ministry and has been a faithful partner.” 

They first met as youngsters one summer when they rode their bicycles together in their City View neighborhood. She grew up attending City View Baptist Church, while he grew up attending David Street Baptist Church, the church they attended after they married. 

“He has been good to us,” Shirley Gallamore said of her husband. “He’s a good daddy, a good husband, and a good Pastor. I don’t know how he juggles it all, but he does, and he does it well.” 

She said that she is always eager to hear her husband preach. “I am always asked, ‘How do you sit and listen to your husband preach all of these years?’ I have never gone to a service without anticipating what he is going to say. I always sit with anticipation. I’m always excited about what he is going to say. 

“It has been great,” she said of being a Pastor’s wife. “I don’t have any complaints. It’s not always easy, but we’re here to serve God, and we’ll do that. The people at Rock Springs are wonderful. This church has been so good to us. We feel loved by them. 

“There are a lot of joys in the ministry,” she told this writer, including the joy of seeing lives transformed by God. “We see God’s hand in so many people’s lives,” she said. “We’ve seen people healed from cancer. Of course, we have had a lot of sad times, too, when people we love have died.” One of the joys of the ministry, she said, has been watching God develop young men who have been called to the ministry, including one of her sons-in-law, Rev. Stuart Houston. 

Shirley Gallamore is a gifted singer who often sings solos and always sings with her church choir. 

Her favorite song, she said, is "What a Day That Will Be." “I love any song about Heaven,” she said. “On Sundays, we look out (at the congregation), and we know things about people’s lives. We know what people are going through, and some of them, you’d never know it by looking at their faces. When you think about all of the bad things and the situation the world is in, that song really comes to life: "What a Day That Will Be." Some day, people won’t have to go through all this stuff. People won’t have to get cancer. People won’t have to lose a child. Some day, that’s all going to be over. I love songs about Heaven, but I do love "What a Day That Will Be." I love to sing it. The words to the old songs are rich and full of the Gospel. Most of the hymns are right to the point, and you know what the verses mean. "What a Day That Will Be" is one of those songs. I love it, and it’s one of David’s favorites, too. It’s a song that touches my heart when I hear it. I’ll never forget a funeral I sang at one time. The lady who had died was deaf. I sang the first verse of "What a Day That Will Be", and, when I got to the chorus, I asked the congregation to sing it with me. I was not thinking that the church was filled with deaf people, who were friends of this lady who had ministered to them through the years. But when I asked everybody to sing that song with me, probably half of the church began to sign that song. It was awesome. It didn’t dawn on me that half of the people would not be able to sing because they couldn’t hear, but they did sing it -- they sang with their hands. I’ll never forget that for as long as I live.” 

Sharing the love of Jesus through testimony, scripture, humor, and song is the theme of her speaking ministry, the purpose of which is to encourage and uplift women. “I’ve grown to love it,” she said. “God can use any of us. We just have to be willing to do what He wants us to do. I feel I need to give back, and one of the ways I can is by ministering to women.” She is a gifted speaker and has spoken to ladies’ groups at churches, at Pastors’ wives’ conferences, ladies’ retreats, and mother-daughter banquets. 

“That’s where my heart is -- to minister to women,” she said. She often uses as visual aids her ministry quilts, including quilts given to her by church members Howard and Lynn Syck and Virginia Coggins. 

Daily scripture reading and prayer have made a difference in her life, she said. She even prays for the children for whom she makes dresses. “I love sewing. It’s like therapy,” she said. “When I make a dress, I make sure I know the child’s name, and I pray for her.” 

She has written a book of devotions to help others. “We need to share with other people things that we go through in life,” she said. “So, as things happen in my life, God will lead me to write a devotion about it. 

“It’s a blessing to be a Pastor’s wife,” she said. “I’ve had opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I can’t imagine not being a Pastor’s wife and not being able to minister in the ways we do. As you get older, you begin to appreciate things more in your life, especially your family and your church, and you begin to realize how good God has been to you.”

“God has been good to us,” said her husband. “We’ve seen a lot of great things done, and God’s not through.”