Mechanic turned preacher works on cars and souls

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Six days a week, Bobby Tyson works on cars. The vehicles are given a lift. On Sunday, spirits are lifted instead. The sound of an air drill is replaced by something more gentile, the sound of a choir.

Tyson has found a new calling.

"I go seven days a week. I used to fish a lot and now I fish with a different pole, I fish with a bible. I try and help as many people as I can," Tyson said.

He's also breaking new ground in his new job.

"Well, this was my home church and it's very rare for anyone to preach in their home church on a continuous basis."

Tyson went to school for 18 months to learn the skills he needed to preach, and to guide his flock by fanning the flames of true faith and service.

"We try and focus on the community. We are big into the rescue mission. We have a couple of different meetings a week with AA here, we have committees here. We try to help those who can't help themselves."

For almost eight years, Bobby Tyson has been getting his hands dirty under the hoods of cars. His reputation as a fix it man is well known and well respected.

What about his talents behind the pulpit? What do his parishioners have to say? Judy Crowe is one of them.

"He is one wonderful preacher. He's one wonderful man," said Crowe.

"I've been a member just about a year and what he encourages us to do is not only do mission work in our community but be a family of missions so I like that."

Another parishioner is John Meynardie.

"I think the thing that attracted most of us to come to this church is Bobby's total joy of the Lord and preaching. He brings a happy experience to the worship service," said Meynardie

That happiness is evident every Sunday, and it won't be ending anytime soon, according to Tyson.

"I believe I'm here for a little while to come. I don't see it slowing down. In fact, I see it getting bigger and bigger and bigger," said Tyson.

The auto mechanic turned preacher also has a serious message for his congregation.

"Coming to a church on Sunday is worship, that's His time. Church begins when we walk out those doors and it lasts for six days and 23 hours."

Time honored advice indeed.

Since Tyson has taken over as the full-time preacher at Handsboro Presbyterian Church, membership has risen from a handful of parishioners, to more than 60 and continues to grow.

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