DOBSON —A well-known area television personality is stepping away from the green screen and stepping behind a county pulpit.
Austin Caviness, 47, has announced that he will leave his position as a meteorologist at WXII-12 at the end of May and take over as pastor of Dobson’s Salem Fork Christian Church.
His last day at the station will be May 30, and during an interview Monday morning, he said he feels like he’s already taken over as leader of the small country church.
“I’ve already had it,” he said of his first day at the church. “I was voted in last Sunday as the pastor.”
For Caviness, long known to be a man of faith, the move was simply about following a calling.
“I’ve been giving my testimony for many years at many churches across the area,” he said. “And the more I’ve done it the more I’ve felt like it was what the Lord wanted me to do.”
Then, his pastor at Reynolda Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem asked Caviness, who was ordained a minister about a year and a half ago, to speak to the congregation during a recent event.
“I was so nervous and apprehensive, but as soon as I stepped on stage I felt this incredible sense of love for the audience,” he said. “That feeling made me want to share with as many people as I could.
“I felt this inward call to preach the Gospel, and then there was an outward call from Salem Fork Christian Church,” Caviness added.
He said he is excited and looking forward to his new position.
“It’s difficult to leave my current job doing something I love, but with all the personal commitment I’ve given to the station over the years I feel like it’s time to answer my calling and completely commit to being a pastor,” Caviness said. “I just feel like I can’t do both of them without one of them suffering. It was a difficult decision, but I knew I had to choose and give up something I love. I’m going to follow the Lord’s lead.”
Caviness and his wife Angela have two children, Austin II, 16, and Lacey, 12.
He began his career in meteorology at WXII in 1997. Caviness grew up in Burlington, attended Appalachian State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in broadcasting. He then went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology in 1994 from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Caviness said he is looking forward to his new post, and noted his family already feels right at home in the small congregation.
“We’ve already been made to feel a part of the church family,” he said. “It’s a great church and we look forward to being a part of a faithful, growing church that demonstrates true community, a deep Christian spirituality and love.”
“I’m giving up a 2:30 a.m. wake-up call to answer the Lord’s call,” he said. “But this is a personal matter of faith.”