It has been a real spiritual experience as I have reflected back on my spiritual journey which all began at a small, rural Disciples of Christ Church in Jessamine County. My extended family attended there for many years. In fact, I still have an aunt that is a regular attender. It was there that I had the privilege of learning to participate in worship experiences when at the age of 6, I sang my first solo for a Children’s Christmas program. We were involved in that church until we moved across town and in the new neighborhood were lots of friends with whom I attended school. It seemed that many, if not all of them, attended Nicholasville Baptist Church, and soon they began inviting me to many of the youth activities.
During a summer revival in 1959, I made a profession of faith and was baptized. Immediately, I found myself involved in the music program, singing in both the Youth and Adult Choirs as well as serving on the Youth Council. Many opportunities for service were made possible for me through the Youth and Music Minister, a Georgetown College student – leading music for Youth revivals, attending conferences at Ridgecrest Conference Center as well as many other experiences that helped to develop my talents and leadership skills.
It was this youth minister who also was very instrumental in my enrolling at Georgetown College where I immediately became involved in BSU activties, serving in several leadership capacities and also as BSU choir Director during my senior year. During the summer of 1965, I was selected to serve for 10 weeks as a Student Summer Missionary in Wyoming under the auspices of the Home Mission Board. Also, during my college years, I served as Music Director at Midway Baptist Church for two years.
Upon graduation from Georgetown College, I continued to feel the “call to ministry” and enrolled in THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Not knowing exactly where God was leading, I enrolled in the school of theology. During my first semester at Southern, I took the typical interdisciplinary class as well as Old Testament, theology, and language. Since I was taking the OT class, I decided I needed the Hebrew class, also and after one semester, I decided it was “Greek” to me and after much prayer and advising from staff, I switched my enrollment to the school of Christian Education, receiving the MCE in 1970. During my time at seminary, I was blessed to be able to serve as Minister of Music and Youth at Gagel Avenue Baptist Church in southwest Jefferson County.
After completing my degree at Southern, I began my first full time ministry at First Baptist Church in Corbin, wearing the hats of Minister of Music, Education and Youth, serving there along side John Dunaway, who later became a very active leader in CBF.
In 1974, I accepted a position in Lake Wales, Florida as Minister of Music and Youth. Realizing after a year of ministry, I came to the conclusion that this was not a good fit and began seeking opportunities to use my leadership skills in education. In 1975, we moved to Lebanon, Missouri where I served for 6 years as Minister of Music and Education. From there, we moved to Independence, Mo. (home of Harry Truman, my grandson’s name sake) where I joined the staff of Maywood Baptist Church in the position of Minister of Education.
Feeling the need to move closer to aging parents, in 1987 we moved back to Kentucky where I would serve for 10 years at First Baptist, Mt. Washington and then at First Baptist, Shepherdsville where I served in a number of positions from music, to education, and missions until I retired in 2010. After being retired for 6 weeks, I accepted a position at the Bullitt County Detention Center to serve as coordinator of the Adult Education program and serve as a teacher of GED classes. I was very familiar with the program, having led our church in 2003 to begin the Adult Education program as a mission project. That job, over a period of years, has evolved in a new position where I am now serving as Life Skills Instructor and Counselor.
Through the years, while serving in Bullitt County, we would take the opportunity to visit at Highland once or twice a year. We knew when we retired that this was the place God wanted us to be. Here, we found acceptace, healing, and a new refreshing experience of God’s transforming love at work in ways I had never personally experience.
It is both an honor and also very humbling to be asked to serve again as Deacon. I consider it a real privilege to be a servant leader along side the most gifted and competent church staff I have ever known. I covet your prayers for all of us who are returning as Deacons or serving for the first time.
I close with this. In 1975, Pat and I had the privilege of attending the Church Music Conference at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference where the new 1975 edition of the Baptist Hymnal was premiered. We sang lots of older and newer hymns that were included but one resonated with me that still lingers in my mind – “Because I Have Been Given Much.” After nearly losing my life in 2013 from a very serious illness, these words have taken on even more significance.
Because love has been lavished so upon me, Lord; A wealth I know that was not meant for me to hoard, I shall give love to those in need, Shall show that love by word and deed: Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed!
Thanks be to God!