Pastor Demetrius “Mac” McClendon is bringing faith and focus to the Midlothian High School football team as their new chaplain this season.
A preacher for almost 28 years, Mac was born into a family focused on ministry to God. He sang his first solo, “God Has Smiled Upon Me,” when he was five, delivered his first sermon at 15 and was ordained by the St. Baptist Church in Austin when he turned 26.
“My father has been a pastor for all my life,” Mac recalled. “This is all I’ve ever seen.”
Initially reluctant to take up the call of ministry himself, Mac eventually committed himself to fully preach the word of the Lord, saying that a healthy dose of fear drives him to work harder for the kingdom.
“I wanted to do something with my life that was going to benefit His kingdom,” Mac explained. “I have yielded my life to Him all these years ago. Wherever He led me to serve, that’s where I went to serve.”
Mac is currently the senior pastor at One Church in Midlothian and is writing his dissertation for his doctorate at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, which he expects to earn by Dec. 15. He also served as the chaplain for the Midlothian Police Department — beginning in 2007 — before accepting the chaplain position for the Panthers football team.
After starting the “Making New History” movement with Freedom Church pastor Larry Atchley earlier this year honoring the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mac met head football coach Doug Wendel. That was when conversations began about his potential involvement with the Panthers.
“Him knowing that I have a heart for the community and have served with the police department, he extended me the opportunity to come serve with his players and coaches,” Mac recalled.
Hearing him speak publicly on multiple occasions, Wendel said he felt moved by Mac’s words and decided he’d be a great addition to the program.
“I think he has the unique ability to relate to a lot of different people and a lot of different backgrounds,” Wendel said. “He brings people together, and ultimately we want to draw our team as close together as we possibly can.”
Mac said his goal as the chaplain is to inspire these young players as they’re taking steps to become better sons, better scholars and better athletes.
“My goal is to inspire them and inspire the coaching staff to keep on doing what they’re doing as they’re speaking to the lives of the next generation,” Mac expressed. “As we begin the season, this is a time of closure. There are some things that they have to put some closure to from last season, from last month even, and Saturday morning. I told them as they’re closing one thing, you’re opening up another thing.”
Even though Mac looks forward to the season, he said his schedule is incredibly consumed. With three kids and one daughter playing varsity volleyball, Mac said time management is integral to his professional and personal life.
“My wife and I were setting up our schedules onto our family calendar, and we were like ‘Oh my God, I’m just getting tired putting all of this stuff in,’” he explained. “There’s so much stuff going on.”
Nevertheless, Mac said he’s grateful for the opportunity to serve and looks forward to working with the Football team.
“I just get something out him every time I’m around him,” Wendel added. “I wanted to pass that along to our team.”
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX