Horne at home as Smyrna Presbyterian’s new pastor
by Natalie Netzel Staff Writer
NEWBERRY — When Pastor Mark Horne was called into the ministry, he felt led to lead a rural church. Now that he has settled in to lead Smyrna Presbyterian PCA Church, he feels right at home.
Horne has been at Smyrna with his wife and three children over a month now. They came from Anderson where he was pastor at Norris Hill Presbyterian for 12 years, a position he took when the previous pastor left to be a missionary to Cherokee Indians. He has been in the ministry for 13 years.
“When I was called into the ministry, this is the type of church I was led to. A lot of (smaller) churches are left without a pastor because people don’t want to come to the smaller churches. At Lebanon (a former church), they always had a hard time finding a pastor for the small rural church,” said Horne.
Horne said it’s by God’s grace that he and his family are in Newberry now.
“When God called me into ministry, I wanted to do this. That’s where my heart is for those churches that need a pastor,” he added. “Smyrna called us and this is it, this is home.”
While it was difficult to leave Anderson, he knows it was clear that Smyrna is where God wanted him to be.
Horne’s wife, Lisa, was a youth director at Lebanon PCA in Abbeville for four years. Now she’s a stay-at-home mother and home schools their three children — Tanner, Jonathan and Katheryn.
“We made a commitment and we prayed about it, that whenever we had kids, she would stay at home and raise the kids,” he said. “God has always met every need.”
Horne was born and raised in Abbeville and attended Erskine College in Due West, changing his major a few times before deciding on chemistry and becoming an engineer. He worked as an engineer and leader at Milliken & Company in McCormick prior to being a pastor.
His call to ministry was seeded in high school, but he was fearful.
“I really felt called to ministry between my junior and senior year of high school. I kind of got scared of what God wanted me to do,” said Horne.
However, Horne knew that something wasn’t right.
“A few years after (settling in his engineer job), I felt the Lord tugging at me. I hunt and I was hunting in a deer stand. I just prayed asking the Lord where he wanted me to be. I told Lisa that I felt the Lord calling me and she said OK,” said Horne. “On Monday, I went to Erskine and said I wanted to go to seminary so I joined the January term.”
Now that Horne and his family are settled in Newberry, he enjoys it.
“It’s like coming home,” said Horne. “The people are lovely and it’s just one big family.”
The church has about 200 members on its roll and church averages over 100 in worship. Horne said the church is active with women’s groups, men’s groups, Bible studies and youth groups.
“You can tell it’s a church built on a strong foundation. It makes me feel good to come to a church that knows how to love and care for each other,” he said.
Horne said his main purpose is “to show Jesus Christ and not to change anything or start anything but to preach God’s word from a Biblical standpoint. Whatever changes happen is because of what the church wants. I want to bring the lost to Jesus Christ.”
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