PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (KT) – Pastor Tommy Reed has often told his congregation to step out of their comfort zone and serve.
This mountain mover preacher of Fitzpatrick Baptist Church will be doing just that on Friday night when he puts on his dancing shoes for the second annual Dancing for the Shelter.
You read that correctly: Dancing shoes.
Reed, who steps out into his community to serve on a regular basis and has a heart like few others, will be doing Hip-Hop and West Coast Swing (you read that correctly too) at the Mountain Arts Center that’s sure to bring a smile - and some cash for the homeless shelter.
Reed has a passion for the Floyd County Homeless Shelter and would do anything to help. Or would he?
“The director of the shelter called and said, ‘I need a favor of you,’’’ he said. “I figured she was going to ask me to introduce or to pray. She told me she wanted me to dance. I said, ‘No, that’s out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I can do that.’’’
He asked for a couple of weeks to “think about it,” but found his love for what they were doing at the homeless shelter outweighed his uncomfortableness at dancing in public.
His partner, Ashley, owns a popular beauty shop downtown and they asked her to be one of the professional dancers. She agreed with one condition: That her pastor would be her partner.
So the pressure was on and Reed agreed to, uh, let his hair down and start practicing. Nine weeks of practice will come to the stage on Friday night in front of 1,200 and a Facebook Live audience on the Mountain Arts page. (How can you not watch?)
“Me and sweet Ashley will give it our best,” he said. “I’m going to have a lot of fun with it and hope to raise a lot of money for the shelter. Everybody knows I’m the pastor, the Bible man but you have to understand that Christians can have fun too. It’s about the cause, not about my dancing.”
However, his 36-year-old dancing partner is in it to win it.
“Ashley is pretty aggressive,” Reed said. “She wants to win this thing. I told her ‘You have a mule running the Kentucky Derby with you.’’’
Their routine starts out with hip-hop dancing and moves to West Coast Swing. He also is learning to do the popular floss.
“She told me ‘You’re going to do the floss,’ and I said, ‘Excuse me? The floss? What is that?’ She showed me. It took me four weeks to get that down.”
The bottom line for Reed isn’t about learning the floss, hip-hop of West Coast Swing. It’s about helping the homeless shelter.
“The homeless in our county sleep under bridges and cars,” he said. “Our church is going to help whatever way we can. We have monetary contributions in the budget and have donated a computer for them to use. Every month that has a fifth Sunday, we feed at the shelter. I try to have empathy and put myself in people’s shoes.”
Even if that means putting on dancing shoes.
MARK MAYNARD is managing editor of Kentucky Today and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org