, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

October 24, 2013

Pistol Packin Pastor films pilot for Discovery Channel

PORT ARTHUR — James McAbee is not the typical pastor.

Though he leads his flock, he’s carry’s a Glock, and has earned the nickname “Pistol Packin Pastor.”

He’s been pastor of Beaumont’s Lighthouse Worship Center for 16 years, and is a gun enthusiast — an unlikely combination for a man of the cloth.

McAbee’s reputation, enhanced by a harrowing brush with would be robbers inside the church, has extends outside the pulpit — enough so that he can be seen on YouTube and has signed a contract with the Discovery Channel for possible series.

From a field of about 15 Hollywood studios that contacted him since January, McAbee said he selected the producers of Swamp People and the Biggest Loser to shoot the pilot, and hopefully a series.

He should know whether the episode will be picked up any day now, McAbee told the Port Arthur Rotary Club Thursday, where he served as the organization’s guest speaker.

“It certainly is a weird combination,” he said.

Though his heart’s calling is to preach God’s word, he’s not afraid to protect himself, or the church, for that matter.

It was only a couple of years ago that he interrupted two men while they were robbing the church.

When the men saw the church’s pastor, they tried to stab him with a 2 X 4, not knowing he was packing a pistol.

“I confronted them and they started rushing me, then they saw my pistol,” McAbee said.

He held the men at gunpoint until the police arrived, then noticed the church was swarmed with law enforcement, a helicopter and media.

That’s the day his church members found out that in addition to being their pastor, he was a concealed handgun instructor.

McAbee teaches gun courses for the Texas Department of Public Safety and the National Rifle Association. He’s also a volunteer chaplain with the Beaumont Police Department.

While he’s earned quite a reputation, McAbee said the main point he teaches is gun safety.

“If you are not safe with firearms, bad things can happen,” he said.

Lately, he’s volunteered his time and expertise to teach teachers how to protect themselves in the classroom.

“We are not living in “Little House on the Prairie anymore,” he said.

McAbee took time to answer Rotarians’ questions about gun laws, including his gun of choice and how he carries it.

“A Glock 22 40 caliber, one in the chamber and 15 in the magazine, carried on a hip holster,” he answered.


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