'Snake Salvation' Exclusive: Pastor Andrew Hamblin Tells How God Led Him to Pick up Serpents (Part 1)

Our church could be deemed as a nondenominational church. We're Christians. Denomination to me is man-made. I mean if you belong to a denominational organization, I mean that's wonderful. If you support your denomination that is even more wonderful because it's so hard to find people who are established. My church in particular, we have Pentecostal doctrines, and Holiness doctrines and Church of God doctrines, but basically we are a nondenominational church.

CP: About how many members do you have?

Hamblin: Last Christmas, we was writing out the treat bag list and I had maybe a hundred and twenty people I think it was. Of course it's hard to get them all together at one time. We usually run...we're like most little Southern churches. We've had 10, 15 (in) a slow service … But, recently, the church has grown. We usually run about every service no less than 30 and no more than 70, 80 people and it's continuing to grow. If everybody shows up at tonight's service that has wrote me and said 'Pastor, we're coming,' we're gonna have over a hundred people there, we'll be packed out.

CP: How often do you hold services?

Hamblin: We have services every Friday at 7:30 and every Sunday afternoon at one o'clock and every first Saturday of the month at 7:30. I always stress this with every interview I do, we want to let everybody that reads this know that they are more than welcome. No matter what denomination or belief, they are more than welcome to come and worship with us and be with us. They do not have to handle the serpents, they don't have to be around the serpents. … We don't handle them [serpents] every service. Anyone that reads this is more than welcome to contact me and come in if they're out of state or wherever and worship with us and just have a good fellowship with God.

CP: What's the worst experience you've had with handling snakes, either for yourself or among your members?

Hamblin: I've not had nothing among my members. The Lord has really blessed us and kept a shield about us. We've never had nothing bad. My worst thing was of course the time I got bit. I wasn't in church handling. I was in the snake room and I got careless. There was no anointing there. When I got bit was really no different than if someone was to get bit in the woods. I just got careless and the rattler just finally bit me, and I suffered greatly.

I did of course, as the whole world knows, I lost a friend last year in May (West Virginia Pastor Mark Randall Wolford). That opens your eyes and lets people realize that...cause people holler the snakes are milked or defanged, yada yada. If they're milked and defanged, then how come someone gets bit and die? Which now I'm the kind of person...now God is not gonna tell us to pick the snake up and let it bite and hurt us and it swell, cause we don't serve a God like that. We serve a loving, caring, merciful God.

But my worst experience was probably when I got bit and suffered. I mean, it hurt like crazy. Thank God had mercy on me, He came by for me. And yes, I did go to the hospital. The reason I tell people I went to the hospital, I was not anointed. God had not told me to handle that snake. Like I said it was no different than (if) I got bit out in the woods like anybody else.

Watch a clip from "Snake Salvation" in which Pastor Hamblin gets "slain in the spirit."