My commitment to moving to Townsend, Tennessee from Pearl River, Louisiana actually began back in February 1981 when I gave my life to Jesus. This was done in a small church in Picayune, Mississippi. In June 1981, just three month later, on our annual family vacation to Gatlinburg, we stopped in Townsend to stretch our legs after driving all night. We had never stopped in Townsend on any of our previous vacations, but that particular day we did. As I stopped the car, opened my door and stepped out, I audibly heard a man’s voice very clearly say, “There’s sheep here with no shepherd”. I asked Penny, my wife, if she heard the voice but she had not. After telling her what I had heard, we decided to “put that on the shelf” for a while not being sure whether my personal love for the mountains and my long-time desire to one day live here could have prompted what I heard. So later that week we returned to Pearl River, Louisiana and continued serving the Lord in the church in Picayune, Mississippi for the next four years. It was at this church I became a Deacon. In 1985 the decision was made to start another church in the Slidell-Pearl River area. This new church was New Jerusalem Praise and Worship Center. I went along to help establish this new church in which I eventually became an Elder, Worship Leader and assistant Pastor. While at New Jerusalem in July of 1995, at our annual convention service, the Lord took “the Townsend incident” off the shelf after fourteen years. On that Sunday morning service we had two guest ministers. These two men were Brother Mel Davis and Brother George Evans. Both were Pastors and also ministered in the office of the Prophet. They traveled together and ministered to churches throughout the United States and around the world. These were men of very high integrity and held in high esteem, especially by me. During that service in July 1995, Brother George and Brother Mel called me and Penny up on the platform, sat us each in a chair and walked behind us. Brother George Evans put his hands on my shoulders and said, “Hear it in your ear, oh man of God. You are called to preach, pastor and handle the Word of God. You are called to have a strong prophetic mantle. Your prophetic gift will grow. You’ll work in Presbyteries. You’ll be known as a man that has a Word in his mouth from his God. You’ll also move more into a dimension of feeding the flock of God. For you are being trained to be a shepherd of the Lord. You will pastor your own church where you will build the flock of God. God will lay a city on you and this church family will cooperate.” Penny and I broke into tears when we heard, “God will lay a city on you.” The instant that was spoken, I heard over my left shoulder, in my left ear, a man’s voice softly say; “There’s sheep here with no shepherd”! I knew then I was to go to Townsend, Tennessee. This was the confirmation of what I had heard in Townsend fourteen years earlier. This is the reason we named the church “Shepherd’s Glory”!
It took us another six years before we actually moved to Townsend because of the purchase of sixteen acres of property and the construction of the new church facility for New Jerusalem in Pearl River, Louisiana. In October of 2000, with the new church building being completed, we returned to Townsend for a time of prayer and seeking the Lord for His timing for us to move here and start the church. I still felt that I needed one more confirmation that it was the right time to make the move. At the end of that week, as Penny and I sat in a Townsend restaurant, we engaged in conversation with our waitress. Without saying anything to her about who we were and the reason we were there, out of the blue, she asked me, “Are you here to start a church?” I had never been inside that restaurant in my life; I had never met this lady who was asking these questions. I answered “Yes”! She then asked me if I was from Louisiana. I answered, “Yes”! I think every hair on by body was standing up! She then asked me if my name was Pittman! I lost my breath and almost fell out of the chair! I excitedly answered, “Yes, yes, yes, how did you know all this? I’ve never been in this building before and I‘ve never met you before!” She said that a couple and their family (Marc and Tina Provenzano) from New Jerusalem had been to this restaurant months before on their vacation and had a conversation with her about their friend who was coming here to start a church. After explaining this to me she pointed her finger at me and said, “You’re that person”! Once I regained my composure I told Penny, “That’s all the confirmation I need!” This was God’s way of answering my question about the time. I knew what must be done. We returned to Louisiana the next day and in March 2001 we moved to Townsend.
When Shepherd’s Glory started on May 27, 2001, Penny and I along with five others began meeting in the upstairs portion of the Carriage House Restaurant in Townsend on Sunday and Thursday. In September I learned that the restaurant would be closing in October for the winter season. Our church, Shepherd’s Glory, had no place to go! During several previous vacations, we met Mike and Connie Clemmer and a “God-ordained” friendship was established. Mike is the owner of Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop. Mike, knowing our church situation, agreed to let Shepherd’s Glory hold services in a building he had just bought right on the main highway 321, right in the middle of town. So in October 2001 we made that our new temporary home until March 2002 when Mike would move his business into the building. When that day came, Mike had one more building on site that we could use. It was a two-story unfinished garage-storage-apartment. Our small church family totally renovated the building and called it home for almost eight years. Finally on August 8, 2010, Shepherd’s Glory had its first service in our new permanent home, a beautiful building built on four and a half acres at 7195 Old Tuckaleechee Road in Townsend, Tennessee.
Over the years we have made many new friends who have helped us along the way. Through their faithful generosity we were able to purchase the property and build our new church home. I truly believe that Shepherd’s Glory is a church that had been “God-Called”, “God-Ordained”, “God-Orchestrated”, “God-Maintained”, “God-Protected”, “God-Appointed” and “God-Anointed”. When you enter Shepherd’s Glory you are greeted in the foyer by Psalm 127:1 which says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it”. The Lord Jesus is “The Shepherd” of this flock and I’m just simply one of His servants. This church is to show forth “His Glory”! Thus we have “Shepherd’s Glory”.