- Cullman, Alabama


June 18, 2012

Young preacher embraces childhood, religious calling


"God can use anybody; why not a child?" said David Warren, a member of the chorus that performed at Ezekiel's ordination at Fullness of Time Church, which occupies a former warehouse and is headed by Ezekiel's stepfather.

Everyone agrees: Ezekiel is committed, caring and mature beyond his years. He writes his own sermons, although his mother sometimes types them up.

"Ezekiel really studies the Bible,'' said Adrienne Smith, his mother, who is also a minister. "He will cross-reference, and he will go deep into the Scriptures."

He also likes to ride go-carts. He loves basketball, the NBA's Lakers in particular, and isn't above showing off when he steals the ball or nails a tough shot.

Ezekiel says God spoke to him in a dream when he was 8. "God said, 'You are going to lay hands on the sick and preach to the poor,' " Ezekiel said.

The voice, Ezekiel said in another interview, sounded like fire. "He said, 'Son, you are going to be something.' " The boy's mission? "Ministering the Gospel," Ezekiel said, "and running souls right over to Him."

Self-assured and uncommonly articulate, Ezekiel is on the case.

"The kingdom of God is at hand," he said in a sermon at his ordination. His hands punctured the air, seeming to reach out to all of the 50 or so well-wishers present.

"Repent," he said in a voice at once forceful and pre-pubescent. "To repent may be deeper than you think. You have to give your life over to the Lord. Don't act like this world. . . . Have your own mind set in Christ." The audience cheered.

At other times, Ezekiel dwells in a world where many people don't understand him.

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