CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After spending 10 years journaling about the "deficits" experienced during his youth, Pastor Bobby Thomas has written a book focusing upon the importance of family. "The Characteristics of a God Man" was recently released and published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises LLC.
Thomas never set out to write a book but the high percentage of children growing up in singleparent homes led him to share his story.
"Thirty percent of all children are being born out of wedlock," Thomas said. "To me that is a cause for alarm. In the African-American community, it is close to 70 percent. To me, that is staggering."
Thomas, pastor of Church of God in Christ of Charleston, had a rough start in life.
He was one of eight children born to a single mother who never married.
"My mom was uneducated," he said. "I think she had more kids to get more money. Whether that was true or not, it fueled my anger. I was 13 when she died of cancer. I never knew my father."
Following her death, the children were sent to live with relatives.
"I went to live with my grandfather in Oak Hill," Thomas said. "He was the only Dad I knew. I had a great time growing up with him. There were four boys and four girls. My aunts took the girls and my grandfather kept the boys. My grandmother passed before my mom. My grandfather gave me good work ethics. He was a coal miner. He was not educated."
During his teenage years, Thomas became active in church and developed a love for Bible study.
"My mom became a Christian the year before she passed away," he said. "When I found out how to become a Christian, I made a resolution to become a Christian on New Year's Day when I was 16."
After graduating from high school, he attended West Virginia State and eventually opened his own company, Thomas Construction.