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NFL starter turned pastor in Manteca Sunday
Rickey Bolden

Rickey Bolden – a lineman who was at the top of his game when he gave up a lucrative career in the NFL to answer God’s calling – is the guest pastor this Sunday at Northgate Community Church.

Bolden is part of the 11 a.m. service at the church located at 650 Northgate Drive.

He was 28 years old and the starting left tackle for the Cleveland Browns when he walked off the football field to become a pastor.

Bolden has related the story of how he was on the field training for his seventh NFL season when he felt an overwhelming calling. He has been quoted as saying, “I was on the field when all of a sudden it was clear to me I wasn’t supposed to be there anymore, that my career was over and I was supposed to be in ministry.”

After three years of seminary, Bolden was ready to become a minister to his first church. Bolden and his wife Glenda responded to a small church in Washington, D.C.’s inner city that needed a pastor. When they arrived at Southern Christian fellowship, they discovered it consisted of six members. Four were white and over 70 while the other two members were black with one being 55 and the other 62. They were meeting in a condemned building in the heart of an all-black community.

Within several years the congregation had grown to 400 members through his outreach efforts.

Bolden eventually became involved with the International Bible Society.

He is now senior pastor at New Community Church.

Bolden is the seventh of ten children raised in a single-parent home in Dallas. Rickey escaped the city’s urban violence through high school athletics, achieving All-American status in football and All-State in basketball.  After a decorated collegiate career at Southern Methodist University, he went on to excel at offensive tackle for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.