Sam Davis '88
For those who live and worship in the Spartanburg area, Spartanburg First Baptist Church is a well-known church home to over 7,000 people. The church’s associate pastor is Sam Davis - a 1988 USC Upstate graduate - a man whose career since graduation has been a steady progression of positions in the ministry.
“While attending Upstate, I was preparing for a life-long career in student ministry, which I deeply loved then, and still do to this day,” says Davis, who was guided by Professor Jerry Lehman (Psychology) to take classes that would help him understand and relate to issues and behaviors of adolescents and young people. “I will be forever grateful to Dr. Lehman for his influence on my life and ministry,” he says.
After graduating with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, Davis served four churches in South Carolina and Georgia as student minister. He has returned to Spartanburg and to First Baptist now as the associate pastor, where his primary responsibility is to assist Dr. Don Wilton, senior pastor, in the oversight and direction of the ministries of the church.
Married for 36 years to his high school sweetheart Jimmie, Davis is proud of his successful marriage, his children and now his grandchildren. As a person in the ministry, he says that success is also defined as “when you see someone put into practice what you have poured your life into -- what you have taught them they are able to accept and make their own -- it is a tremendous joy.”
Davis is involved in the community outside of pastoral work in the efforts of the Leadership Spartanburg Association, Vision Spartanburg, Spartanburg Downtown Association, Grassroots Leadership Development Institute with the Spartanburg County Foundation, and various other boards and opportunities with the City of Spartanburg.