Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Wed, July 15

Colorful past, bright future
New pastor at First Baptist Church offers new perspective, outlook

Ryan Williams/WGCN<br>
Pastor Andy McDaniels settles in to his new office at First Baptist Church in Williams.

Ryan Williams/WGCN<br> Pastor Andy McDaniels settles in to his new office at First Baptist Church in Williams.

WILLIAMS - Admittedly, Lucha Libre wrestling masks are one of the last things you'd expect to see when walking into a minister's office.

But there they are, hanging proudly from the corner of the wall, amid countless certificates, diplomas, and newspaper clippings all belonging to Andy McDaniels, the new pastor of the First Baptist Church.

The masks hint at McDaniel's colorful history, which he carries with him, integrating characteristics into his present profession of ministry.

Originally a South Carolina native, McDaniels juggled a law enforcement career with an unusual side job - professional wrestling. A sport he was involved with for almost 20 years and one he holds close to his heart.

"I started wrestling when I was very young, 18-years-old," McDaniels said. "My last match was a couple of years ago when I was 38. I still do it from time to time. In fact we will be bringing some wrestling here to Williams. It's fun, and it's going to be great family entertainment."

Working in the Atlanta prison system, then donning spandex and a fake moniker doesn't seem like your typical pathway to ministry life, but McDaniels said it was exactly those influences that helped encourage him to become a pastor.

"In fact, it was the former professional wrestler Ted DiBiase, the 'Million Dollar Man' who led me to the Lord and helped me get started in the ministry," McDaniels said, adding he is still dear friends with the "Million Dollar Man" and they sometimes work together.

For McDaniels, his wife Melissa, 15-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old twins, the small-town feel of Williams was the perfect fit. After the church invited the family to pay a visit, the decision was made to leave Wisconsin and make Williams their new home.

"We really like it here so we said yes, and it's been a wonderful transition," he said.

The professional wrestler turned pastor has big plans for the church's future, all while keeping the same friendly and warm atmosphere. He wants to continue offering something for everybody, bolstering new interest at the same time.

McDaniels is looking forward to offering his unique experiences to the local community and said he wants the church to be everything it can be.

"I want us to grow, and to reach the community and just share the message of Christ as much as we possibly can," he said.

McDaniel finished his doctorate degree in Ministry two years ago. The well-rounded pastor also enjoys playing and writing music, calling himself a jack-of-all-trades of sorts.

"I think I have a lot to offer, and I'm looking forward to some good things," he said. "This is not just your typical church where you come in, sit down, hear something and then go home. We really are involved."

Report a Typo Contact
Event Calendar
Event Calendar link
Submit Event