BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
NORTH SALT LAKE – A quarter of a century ago, a young minister from Utah became senior pastor at Abundant Life Assembly of God in North Salt Lake.
On Sunday, the Rev. Alex Lucero’s congregation honored him and his wife Donna for their years of service.
Swaying to the beat of music performed by a praise band, members got into the celebratory spirit for about 40 minutes, lifting their voices in praise to the Lord.
The celebration continued with words of praise for the Luceros, amid tears of joy from both.
“It is so humbling. It’s overwhelming,” Lucero said following the special service in his honor.
“The first Sunday there were 40 people,” Lucero said. “I was amazed they came back the next week.”
The church has since grown to the point that it will add a second service in the fall.
The congregation has also helped start a new church in Heber City, “and we hope to plant other churches,” Lucero said.
Lucero grew up in Salt Lake City and attended Granite High School. His first call to serve an area church was at Valley Assembly of God in South Salt Lake, where he served as the youth pastor. After five years there, he came to Abundant Life, where he’s now the longest tenured pastor in south Davis County in any traditional Christian church.
In addition to his duties at the church, Lucero serves as chaplain to the North Salt Lake Police Department and as assistant superintendent of the Rocky Mountain District of the Assemblies of God, which has offices in Colorado Springs, Colo. Several members said they believe he will be asked to serve as superintendent in the future.
“It was an honor for me to be recognized by the district,” Lucero said.
Lucero is known as a man committed to his congregation and south Davis County. He tells it like it is and pulls no punches. But he’s also got a quick wit he’s eager to share.
“He’s the same at lunch, breakfast and dinner as he is here,” the Rev. Ray Smith told the congregation on Sunday. Smith is pastor at the Salt Lake Christian Center, and grew up with Lucero.
Smith’s sermon, and sermons given by Lucero and the Rev. Ron Keller, associate pastor, can be found on the church’s website abundantlifeutah.com. You can also find statements of belief from the church and a calendar of activities there.
At a luncheon following the service, members shared their respect and love for Lucero.
North Salt Lake resident John Herndon and his family joined Abundant Life in 1994. His wife Debbie has been friends with Lucero since they were 10 years old.
The family wanted to serve God and to be part of something new, Herndon said, and they quickly became involved. About six months after joining the congregation, Herndon was chosen to serve on the church’s board, where he has held a seat almost every year since.
Through the years, he’s developed a close friendship with Lucero.
“He has a real desire to serve Christ.” Herndon said.
Jim Greenwald and his family have been members for about seven years.
“He connects with folks and really cares for everybody” Greenwald said.
His family began attending because they had friends who attended.
“The pastor’s great,” Greenwald said, and added that the sermons “custom-tailored to folks here.”