(Photo: Courtesy of Samuel Green Ministries)
Eight-year-old Samuel Green, who has preached at over 50 churches and hosts his own public access television show, "Samuel M. Green presents The Simple Truth," appeared on NBC's "Today" show yesterday with his mother and mentor to discuss being a child preacher and his future goals of helping children in need.
Green, who is from Jackson, Miss., began preaching at 5 years old after memorizing written sermons after school and delivering them in 15 minutes. His mother, Joann Green, said she realized he had a gift to preach after he was invited to speak at a church in Birmingham, Ala.
"My husband and I were very surprised just to hear Samuel preach without any notes or anything," she said on the "Today" show.
His mentor, Beverly Coleman, said Green was just over a year old when she noticed his academic skill level, which she attributes as the trigger point in his ability to put together a message and preach before a congregation.
"He was brought to me at 13 months, by 18 months I knew he was gifted academically," Coleman said, adding that Green's work matched that of students twice his age.
Green's sermons are based on Bible stories, with his favorite one about Job because "Job had double for his trouble." In a YouTube video, he exudes the confidence he is known for during a sermon where he gave a straight to the point, accurate portrayal of the biblical story.
"He lost his land. He lost his animals. He lost his sons and daughters. But do you know what Job did? Job fell to his knees and began worshiping to God, saying, 'The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.' After all these bad things happened to Job, still he praised God," says Green in the video.
During his "Today" Show interview, Green said being in the pulpit is something he is used to and does not shy away from.
"I really don't get nervous because I know God has my back," said Green.
Although his age comes as a surprising for some, Green is not alone. In 2011, a then 4-year-old, Kanon Tipton, became a YouTube sensation after preaching a sermon taking after his Pentecostal father's preaching style, and last year, an 11-year-old Maryland boy was ordained as a pastor.
While 8-year-old Green enjoys preaching, he also takes time to enjoy being a child.
"They really don't mind. They're like, 'Oh, Samuel's a preacher. . . . Let's play soccer ball,'" said Green.
Green says he would like to go into the medical field when he grows up, but for now, he plans to keep preaching.
"I want to grow up to be a preacher and a doctor that takes care of children," said Green.