By Gayla Grace
Pastor E.C. Maltbia, a long-time Conway resident, began a life of ministry at the early age of 16. He became the youngest ordained elder for the Churches of God in Christ at 19 years of age, and two years later, believed God spoke to him to plant a new church. In 1993 he founded and organized the True Holiness Saints Center and married his high school sweetheart, Natasha Pierce, also of Conway. In addition to his service at True Holiness, Pastor Maltbia's ministry includes tireless leadership on city and community boards, ensuring the Christian community has a voice. In January 2009, he was selected to serve as the House Chaplain for the Arkansas House of Representatives, which marks the first time in history that an African American has been selected to fill this post.
Pastor Maltbia dedicates his life to ministering to others and offers meaningful insight for men seeking to serve God, their family, and their community.
GG: How do you balance your responsibilities as a pastor, husband, father, and community volunteer
ECM: I often preach at our local church about finances. When you write out your bills, you pay them in order of importance. At the point you run out of money, you reach a cut-off point and everything above the line gets paid while everything below the line has to wait. That's the basic philosophy I use in balancing my life: I put things in order of importance, realizing I am a limited resource, and everything above the line gets my attention while everything below the line has to wait until another day. If I were to put things in order of importance, of course, my personal walk with God would be first. My family - my wife and two children - would be second. Thirdly would be my responsibilities as a pastor and fourth would be the work I do in the community.
GG: Do you have a favorite Bible verse or promise you rely on?
ECM: Matthew 20:26 simply says, "Whoever wants to become great among you, let him be your servant." What I try to do is be a servant in my home, a servant in our local church, and a servant in the community. Of course, the perfect example for that is Jesus Christ.
GG: What goals are you currently aspiring towards that you haven't reached?
ECM: My number one goal is to be a model husband and father. I don't think I've achieved that yet but I'm progressively working on it. Years from now at my funeral I want my wife and children to be able to look back over our life together and not say that E.C. Maltbia was a perfect person, but that he was a good dad and a good husband and that we never had to question where they were on his priority list. My wife, Natasha, is my number one fan. She keeps me grounded and is there to encourage me when I need it most. I also have two wonderful children, Kennedy and Connor. So, I'm working to be the best husband and father I can be on a daily basis. Here at our local church, we are always working to better serve our community from a spiritual aspect, as well as being good corporate citizens and seeing how we can make Conway a much better place to live. I think Conway is a wonderful city and a great place to raise a family, and through working in the community, I want to do all I can to strengthen the positive things and help to correct the challenges we have. I have seen our city get progressively better and I'm proud of our city and the direction in which it's going.
GG: What advice would you give to other men seeking contentment or balance in their life?
ECM: If you look at the life of Jesus, he spent 30 years of his life becoming a man, and only three and a half years in ministry. If we spend our time on developing ourselves individually and spend less time on our career goals, life goes so much better. I've had the opportunity to sit at the bedside of many people during their last few moments of their life and I've never heard one say, "I wish I would have made more money or I wish I had more material things." At that point, it's all about family and it's all about relationships. I think that should be our number one focus and everything else should become secondary. We have to keep our priorities in order.
GG: Do you have any other pieces of advice or nuggets of gold to share?
ECM: I think a simple word of wisdom I would leave is: Life is short - make the things that are important in your life your top priority.