Hip Fresno Preacher Promotes Texting In Church

The new leader of Fresno's First Baptist Church is one of a kind. This preacher is a poster boy for religious tattoos and he encourages texting during his service.

Joe Basile is a man of God.{}{}But he's not your ordinary preacher in the pulpit. {} There are lots of tattoos and spiky hair to begin with.{} "Authentic. {} You know if{}I didn't do this I'd be a fake. {} I love this stuff. {} I love fashion. {} I've had 8 inch Mohawks in the pulpit. {} You know I've worn baggy jeans. {} You name it I've done it."

Pastor Basile has been at First Baptist for the past eight weeks. {} Before the congregation voted him in he admitted that he's one of the worst sinners around. {} To use his words a past that includes guns, drugs and women.{} "I'm the worst and if God can forgive me and do something with me he'd do it with anybody. {} That just comes out of being sincere."

There's no fire and brimstone from this preacher. {} His style is relaxed and he encourages his congregation to let him know how he's doing by texting during the service.{}

Steven Helmer has been attending First Baptist since 2011. {} He's a big supporter of Pastor Basile.{} "He's good for the younger people and he's also good for the older generation. {} The older generation likes him and the younger generation he's all hip."

Pastor Basile's message extends beyond the church walls. {} His service is broadcast on{}KMPH Fox 26 every Sunday. {} A letter from a woman in prison touched him dearly.{}{}"The joy jumping off the page because what god's doing in her life and that our church is being broadcast in her prison cell absolutely makes it one of the best experiences in his life."

In just two months the congregation has grown by 170.{} The service from First Baptist Church in Fresno is broadcast every Sunday morning at eight{}on{}KMPH Fox 26.