Pastor Cusic describes his journey to Bright Star’s pulpit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Called to preach at a young age, Tracy Cusic knows the challenges he faces in pursuing God’s plan for him.

His latest call was to become pastor of Bright Star Baptist Church in Natchez, where the late Rev. Wilson Ford, a venerated minister in the community, led the congregation for many years.

At 25, Cusic remains the quiet and humble person he has been since childhood, growing up in Leland the son of well-known blues musician Eddie Cusic.

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&uot;I didn’t do a lot of things other young people did,&uot; Cusic said.

&uot;I began playing guitar like my father but then I put it down and turned to singing in the choir.

His call to preach came when he was a high school student.

&uot;I began pastoring at age 17 after I attended a revival and a voice came to me and told me, ‘this is what I want you to do,’&uot; Cusic said.

That life-changing incident sent him to his pastor, who helped to teach and train him, Cusic said.

&uot;And he enrolled me to receive ministerial and theological training,&uot; he said. &uot;I found that I was able to reach young people as well as older people when I preached.&uot;

A vision of bringing old and young together continues as a goal at Bright Star, where he began his pastoral duties in December 2002, and at St. Reed Baptist Church in Ferriday, La., where he began as pastor in September 2001.

He continues to lead both churches while also working as an insurance agent for the Natchez office of American General Life and Accident Insurance Company.

Another event changed his life when he traveled to Fayette a few years ago to take part in a church program and met the organist, Mekeal, now his wife and a social worker in Fayette, where they live with their one child.

Cusic has principles to guide him as he follows his call. &uot;I try not only to preach but to live the life I preach about to the best of my ability,&uot; he said.

His methods are simple, starting with keeping eyes and ears open to what is going on all around him, around the community and around the world.

&uot;You have to keep up with what’s going on, see what’s happening to people and then decide what to say to them to help them,&uot; Cusic said.

&uot;You should be slow to speak and quick to listen.&uot;

His father was a big influence on his early years, Cusic said. &uot;He’s a righteous type person. He doesn’t go into the church every time the doors open but he also is a very humble and quiet person and would never do any wrong.&uot;

Cusic hopes to influence young people and to be a mentor and role model.

&uot;Young people need some positive influence,&uot; he said.

&uot;And they need consistencies in their lives. They need love, and they need preaching that shows they are loved and are important.

&uot;They need lessons in what’s right and wrong.&uot;

Church traditions are important, Cusic said. He intends always to be respectful of those traditions.

&uot;But we as a new young generation of Christian people may do things in a different way,&uot; he said.

&uot;I want to put an emphasis on coming to church for what you hear, what you have come to receive, and that is the Word of God.&uot;

The tradition of wearing Sunday best to church and Sunday school is a good one, he said.

&uot;But while one person may have a new suit to wear, another one may have only old clothes,&uot; he said. &uot;You can’t reach someone who can’t come comfortably dressed to church.&uot;

Cusic pairs old and young in church projects. He encourages them to work together on making improvements around the church.

&uot;They like to study Bible together,&uot; Cusic said. &uot;They like to have visions of the future they can share. We try to tie all together in one accord.&uot;

One of Cusic’s favorite themes from the pulpit is for his people to use whatever gifts they have.

&uot;It may not be a lot, but God can take a little and turn it into a lot,&uot; he said.