Bob Richardson Hometown Hero

A true role model, Bob turns from drugs to preaching.


Image by Leah Boone

Pastor Bob Richardson raises his hands while leading the congregation in prayer. Richardson kneels at the front of the stage every time he prays.

Leah Boone, Rooster Reporter


When Bob Richardson was midway through his life, he decided he needed to make a change. After enduring many trials and tribulations, he made a drastic revision to becoming the Assistant Pastor of Mount Tabor United Methodist Church.

From the start Richardson had a rough childhood. His father was an alcohol abuser and Richardson witnessed accounts of his father’s violence first-hand. After one especially bad act of violence, his dad was sent to jail and died of a heart attack in the cell.

As Richardson grew up, he followed in his father’s footsteps and slowly travelled down the long road of alcohol and drug abuse.

“The hardest part during my addiction was knowing I was killing myself, but having to do it anyway,” Richardson said.

Richardson’s dependence on alcohol became very serious very quickly, and before he knew it, a severe addiction had been formed. In mid 1997, he finally decided he needed to stand up and fight back. His daughter was a large inspiration for his recovery.

“I didn’t have a father growing up,” Richardson said. “My father died of alcoholism when I was eight and I wanted to break the cycle. I didn’t want Lulu to be fatherless like I was.”

So in 1997, Richardson started on the road to recovery. The first five days were spent in detox, cleaning out his system of all the alcohol toxicity. The next 28 days were spent in Fellowship Hall rehab center. From there, Richardson went to a halfway house for around 100 days.

In 2005, Richardson felt called to become a pastor. Around 12 years later, a fantastic opportunity came.

“My wife and I were at Mt. Tabor on September 25, 2017,” Richardson said. “We weren’t even supposed to be here. We just happened to be here the day one of the pastors announced that he was resigning. It was like God was tapping me on the shoulder and saying, ‘Okay. I need you here now.’”

After Richardson felt he was called, he began his job as associate pastor at Mt Tabor. He became the main pastor in the Ignite service at Mt. Tabor and the congregation immediately fell in love with him.

“Pastor Bob always starts his sermons by saying, ‘My name is Pastor Bob, and I get to be, I get to be, I get to be your pastor,’” Mt. Tabor member Hannah Boyte, a sophomore at Reagan said. “It really shows how proud he is to be part of our church, and makes me want to listen to everything he has to say. He’s a really good preacher and man.”

With every sermon, Richardson incorporates personal stories and memories that relate back to the message he wants to convey. He provides pictures with each of his stories and really engages the congregation. He has the admiration of his congregation, community, and employees.

“Bob brings a kind and understanding perspective to all things,” Associate Director of Student Ministries Jordan Gross said. “Bob is funny and has the amazing ability to dance between lighthearted and serious depending on the situation that begs his attention. He is a joy and loves life’s work- this makes him easy to work with. He is incredibly supportive and loving to all staff members.”

Richardson is extremely close with all members of the staff as well as the Ignite worship band. As they come off of stage every Sunday morning, he is waiting at the bottom of the stairs to give each of the members a fist bump.

“Bob’s best quality is his genuine and real personality,” Ignite band Worship Coordinator Jim Annas said. “He is a caring and super smart pastor. He is amazingly flexible and allows me to use my creativity within the scope of the worship service. It’s pretty amazing to work for someone who lets me be me.”

Being a part of such an interactive and close group is a large change of scenery for Richardson.

“I had very few friends at the time,” Richardson said. “Addicts tend to alienate folks. I really established a whole new community of friends.”

Before his addiction, Richardson had no plans on becoming a pastor and nobody expected it to happen.

Richardson and his wife never saw this path for him. He even said that he never expected to become a pastor.

Once he recovered and evolved into the man he is today, it’s hard to tell he ever experienced anything like that.

“Upon first meeting Bob, I had no idea about his past struggles with addiction,” Gross said. “If I hadn’t been told, I probably wouldn’t know. However, that being said, he has an extremely special and tender way of connecting with those who are suffering and experiencing hardship.”

Richardson does try his best to help those suffering with addiction and substance abuse problems. He does everything he can to positively impact all those around him and help anyone he can.

“That’s one of the charges, really, of the recovery community,” Richardson said. “You can’t really have something unless you’re willing to give it away. I don’t think there’s been a day in the 22 years of recovery when I don’t come in contact with somebody else who’s struggling.”

Pastor Bob Richardson exhibits one of the most respectable and admirable character traits: humility. He is honest and doesn’t hold anything about his difficult past back.

Overall, he is a wonderful addition to Mount Tabor United Methodist Church and brings a new light to the church that is unlike any other.

What advice does Richardson have for teens drinking and doing drugs? A short yet strong response.

“Life is too precious,” Richardson said. “I just don’t think God wants us clouded in any way.”