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Lasley celebrates 61 years in ministry at Oak Street Baptist

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Irene and Don Lasley celebrate 61 years of ministry at a reception at Oak Street Baptist Church.

On a July Sunday 61 years ago, Don Lasley was baptized at Oak Street Baptist Church.

He’s been preaching ever since.

In celebration of his long career in ministry, the Oak Street congregation invited Lasley back to preach where it all began. The church honored him with a reception after the service.

“I will always be pleased and refreshed when I think of Oak Street Baptist,” he said from the pulpit. “It’s a joy to be here.”

Though the now 77-year-old Lasley must remain seated while he preaches, his energy and charisma still emanate from the pulpit, eliciting chuckles and “Amens!” from the crowd.

Since his start as a preacher at Oak Street, Lasley said he has preached in Texas, Virginia and Northern Tennessee. He even returned to Oak Street to preach for 18 years.

Lasley met his second wife there — his first had died of cancer — and his three sons were practically raised at Oak Street, he said.

Staying busy even in semi-retirement, he doesn’t seem to tire of his work. Lasley has plans to preach for 13 straight Wednesday nights at Stuart Heights Baptist Church in Hixson beginning in August.

And, on any given morning, parishioners can find him studying in a booth at a local Panera Bread, with books spread all around.

“Make sure that you have a relationship with the Lord,” the longtime minister advises fellow believers. “Knowing Christ is a relationship, not a religion.”