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(Metro Creative Graphics)

After 41 years of serving as pastor of Landmark Baptist Church, the Rev. Mike Daniels is retiring.

The congregation will have a celebration of his ministry beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday in the gymnasium of the church, 11125 Spur 248, Tyler.

"Brother Mike has helped so many people," congregation member Julie Arnold said. "We would love to have everybody who knows Brother Mike to come. If he ... has touched your life in any way, please come and tell us (about it) on this occasion."

Mark Trammell, who had previously served on the church staff, will replace Daniels as the senior pastor. Daniels said that he is comforted knowing that a man dedicated to teaching the word of God will take over.

In 1978, Daniels and his wife, BJ, began hosting Bible studies in their home. Those early sessions led to the establishment of Landmark Baptist Church.

"The Lord called me (to start the church) while I was in a deer stand and he never called me away," he said. "I never questioned what the Lord wanted me to do."

Daniels attended Tyler schools and Tyler Junior College before earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Homestead College. He has a doctoral degree in divinity from Hebron College of Bible and degrees in theology and psychology.

During four decades, Daniels has preached and helped establish churches in the United States, Mexico, The Bahamas and Philippines. He has served as dean of psychology at Baptist Christian University, director of the National Association of Family and Marriage Counseling and a trustee of Louisiana Baptist University.

Daniels said that although he is stepping down, he has doesn't plan to stop leading people to Christ.

"Once your a minister, you're always a minister," he said this week.

"I have things I still want to do," he said, noting that the congregation has bought land on Texas Highway 64 East as the site of a new church building. "I still have to build a new church."

He also wants to finally sit down and write books about ministry.

In recent years, Daniels has suffered from failing health. He has a lung disease and is receiving treatment for cancer.

Daniels said that doctors once told him that he only had a few years to live. He proved they were wrong. 

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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