FOUNTAIN INN, South Carolina (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee stepped into a familiar role on Sunday morning: that of Baptist minister.
Huckabee, who was a minister before he served two and a half terms as governor as Arkansas, took to the stage for about half an hour at two Baptist churches in South Carolina and told the congregations: "I am here today to talk about Jesus and not to talk about me."
"I always try to remind people that there is a place for politics, but when I come to church, it's to worship," he said at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, where he was mistakenly introduced as "Governor Hucklebee."
In Irmo and at First Baptist Church in Fountain Inn, Huckabee weaved jokes and anecdotes from his life in Arkansas into his sermons while also demonstrating a deep familiarity with the New Testament, quoting passages from memory.
"God is still looking for good soldiers, good soldiers for Christ," he told the congregation in Irmo. "Every single person here is a soldier that God needs in his army. He is just waiting on us to say here am I, send me."
Huckabee said he has been confronted by people unsure about his transition from faith to politics.
"If you've been a pastor as I have and then you run for office, there are some people who are incredibly uncomfortable with all of that," he said, but joked that they were "undecided voters."
In his second sermon of the morning, Huckabee urged the audience into avoid arrogance and selfishness.
"Any time we ever look down on somebody for whatever reason, that's the sin," he said. "What we look down on them for is not nearly as sinful a behavior as our act of looking down, somehow thinking that our standard of behavior was superior to theirs and not understanding that neither our nor their standard of behavior matches up to His, because His is the only behavior that ever really hit it right on the mark.
"The only good thing about any of us is the God in us, not the us," Huckabee said.
After the later service ended in Fountain Inn, Huckabee and his wife Janet lingered for an hour shaking hands with dozens of church-goers who had lined up to meet them, many of whom told CNN they were already supporting Huckabee's presidential bid.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby