Pastors shine like stars, illuminating our lives
with the glories
of God’s Love
and His care for us.



Those who are wise
will shine like the
brightness of the sky above;
and those who turn many
to righteousness,
like the stars
for ever and ever.

Not As Others Shine

Pastors become our
godly guides through the night.
when we fear we are lost.

Pastors who truly love their Lord and Christ
so brightly shine, even as the stars
in the midst of the blackest night,
for His is their light

Who alone created every brilliant
star dancing each evening burning
splendid and beautiful for all
of His children to find

His Way, seeking direction ‘til the dawn
when God’s Own Son will in His
resurrection power declare
“New Heaven and New Earth!”

Because this life is ALL ABOUT JESUS; because we each make a lifelong journey from our birth until our death; we desperately need Pators/Shepherds, who show us God’s Way from our cradle to our grave. I want to share with you brief sketches of ten pastors (I could not include all of the godly men who have been my pastor.) as I give praise to God for their lives and  their calling accepted and fulfilled. Because of their faithfulness, I know Jesus as my Savior, I know God as my Heavenly Father, I know the Holy Spirit as my Guide who lives inside me.

J.B. Philips

Rev. Philips led the way
as I sensed God’s Call
to salvation in Jesus.

My earliest church memories take me back to the Louis Street Baptist Church in East Gadsden. I remember some really good times there, including Sunbeams (Mission Friends), Sunday School and Training Union. Most clearly, though, I remember our Pastor, Rev. J.B. Philips. He took time to come to our house and quite simply explain to my brother, Ray and myself, the Gospel. Basically, he told us we needed a Savior because we had disobeyed God. We needed someone who could bring us forgiveness. He told us how Jesus had come down from Heaven to take on Himself our punishment. Ray understood better than I did, and he did pray to ask Jesus to be his Savior that day. Because I was younger, I needed more time to think about my decision. I waited until I clearly heard Jesus’ call to salvation during Sunday evening worship service. I responded; so the Pastor and I prayed, asking for Jesus to cleanse me of my sins, and to give me forgiveness instead. Praise the Lord! Since that night I have been His child.  I will be eternally grateful for Rev. Philips, for God used Him to lead me to Jesus as my Savior.

Kenneth Spears

When my Dad and Mom moved us to Glencoe, we found a new church home

God used Rev. Spears to call
me to consider a lifetime
of Christian service.

at  the First Baptist Church, Glencoe. A year or so after our move, Rev. Kenneth Spears came to serve as our pastor. He came as a young Pastor with a clear understanding of His Call and His Purpose. He preached lively and challenging sermons. As quite a young man, he  made sure the church and its services appealed to those of us who were children or youth. He preached clearly about salvation through faith in Christ, and also challenged the children and youth to consider God’s plan for their lives. Under his preaching, God called Ray, my brother, to preach. God called me to serve Him, but for some years I did not know how I would do so. Rev. Spears, as a young Pastor, captured my heart with the challenge to see life as my opportunity to serve God.

Rev. Steincross gave me
a vision for pointing
others to Jesus.

George Steincross

When I began my college career I attended the University Baptist Church in Montevallo. Led by their Pastor, Rev. George Steincross, this church focused their ministry on the university community. His creative preaching, the worship style, the intentional involvement in the town and the college and their needs; all of these appealed to my interest in practical, hands-on missions. During these college years I had the privilege and the challenge of serving each summer in neighborhood missions efforts in my own home county. My university Pastor’s Biblical, missions-oriented preaching encouraged me in this direction. I had not at this time received a clear call into missions service, but God used Rev. Steincross to prepare my heart for that call.

 Richard Hearn

When I moved to the swamps of southeast Georgia to teach, I actually became a part of the Calvary Baptist Church, “a little corner of Heaven,” they called themselves; and they were exactly  that for this young teacher far away from home for the very first time. Calvary became for me a family there in Ludowici, and they nurtured me with loving Christian fellowship. However, it was the Pastor at the First Baptist Church in town, who actually strengthened my knowledge of

Rev. Hearn gave me a love for God’s Word
filled with the truth,
the hope and
the love of Jesus.

Scripture through his genial, casual approach to teaching, in the Bible Extension courses he taught on weekday nights. He presented the deep and beautiful truths of Scripture simply. God’s Truth came alive in my heart each time I sat under his teaching. It should come as no surprise that I received and confirmed my calling into international missions during my two-year stay in Ludowici. Rev. Hearn stands in my memory as the Pastor who taught me to deeply love the Word of God.

John Goad

After my second year of teaching in Ludowici, I returned home to earn my M.A. in English, to meet the requirements for being appointed as a missionary teacher. Well, I had a wonderful year, even having the opportunity of

Rev. Goad gave me an
excitement for how
God leads His people
through His Word.

organizing and supervising the Etowah Baptist Associan Summer Missions Program, but God delayed my anticipated service as a missionary. So, I found myself even further south and east in Georgia, in St. Marys. There I had the privilege of sitting under the preaching of Rev. John Goad. He had spent a career as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy. He preached through Scripture verse-by-verse. I particularly remember until today the power of God’s speaking and challenging my heart though his series on Exodus and also, one on the Gospel of John. Rev. Hearn had taught me to study God’s Word. Rev. Goad taught me to heed and obey God’s Word. Obviously, God was preparing me for missions service through these two men of God. I am so grateful for the foundation they gave me, reading, studying, understanding, and obeying God’s Word in my life.

Russell Atherton

Even as I grew to love St. Mary, our First Baptist Church, the people and particularly, the youth there, the Spirit was moving me toward my calling away from them to Nigeria. So, in a whirlwind of Seminary Study, Orientation, and every injection known to man, I quickly found myself in Jos, Nigeria at Baptist High School. Those years in St. Marys were a glorious blur of teaching, mentoring, discipling, and leading. Eighteen years passed by far too quickly, and I found  myself at Hillcrest School, also in Jos. In between our service at these schools Becky and I led research and recruiting efforts for the people groups

Rev. Atherton gave me a
wonderful example of
how God’s Word does,
indeed, bring redemption.

of central Nigeria. During those years we met Russell and Cynthia Atherton. She proved to be a valuable, hard-working and meticulous people-group researcher, gathering  valuable information which would help us and those who joined us in the gospel work among these peoples. Russell taught Bible at Baptist High School, and excelled; but after a time he moved to become Chaplain at Hillcrest School. There he became such a blessing to us as a family—presenting God’s Word in a powerful and challenging manner. His preaching stirred my own heart with the life-changing truth of Scripture as it applied to every part of my life. He inspired my heart and soul to move ever deeper into God’s Word to understand it and put its teaching into practice in every part of my life.

Emmanuel Musa

During those years of service between Baptist High School and Hillcrest School, my family and I often attended the First Baptist Church, Naraguta, the village adjacent to Baptist High School. Because the University of Jos had grown around Baptist High School, and because university students had flooded the area, the church in Naraguta needed an English section.

Emmanuel Musa
beautifully and powerfully
showed me how Jesus
loves people through
a Pastor’s heart.

Emmanuel Musa, as a teacher and then as vice-principal of the school became their Pastor. So, Emmanuel, who had been our student and our colleague at one time, became our Pastor. He became such a blessing to not only me, but to all of us as a family. He loved the people of the church, the local Hausa speaking Anaguta people and the university students from all over Nigeria. He clearly loved Jesus and preached week after week of his Love and His Power to save. Obviously he was deeply loved and appreciated by one and all, and certainly by me. How good God was to raise up Emmanuel to become committed and gifted spiritual leader, who has so blessed me and my family.

Bill Morgan

During our years of service in Nigeria, we returned every three or four years for some time of rest and restoration in the U.S. During that time our home church, First Baptist Glencoe, always welcome and nourished us with warm Christian love and encouragement. When Bill Morgan was pastoring at

Bill Morgan declared
for our church how God calls every believer
to obey the Great Commission.

Glencoe, he fed our souls and challenged our hearts with a depth of understanding and commitment as to the call of God’s People and the Church to be Gospel-centered, mission-acting, and world-loving. He preached God’s Word with obvious purpose as He challenged us to get out in the world and let God use us to make a redemptive difference in the lives all around us. He believed this so strongly he became a military Chaplain and served our servicemen extensively. My heart thrilled as He led us to see that every member of the Church had this calling—to so live the Gospel life so that those around us were redeemed in Christ. What a blessing to have such a Pastor when you come home a bit worn and weary and definitely hungry for God’s Word.

Vince Whittington

Vince Whittington’s
ministry so lovingly
demonstrated the
Love of Christ, people
could not help but respond.

As God calls pastors to move on, we often came home on furlough to meet new Pastors, and everyone of them blessed our lives. But along, with Bill Morgan, Bro. Vince Whittington, stands out as one who particularly blessed us in our missionary calling as a part of His own calling while serving as our Pastor. He actually organized and led a mission trip to Jos, along with Lynda, his wife, my parents, Jane Alvis, and Carol James. He also participated in other mission trips around the world. More than that, he and Linda loved people so deeply, only the love of Christ in them, could explain it. They have always been busy serving others. When my father died, and I had to return from Niger for the funeral alone, Bro. Vince and Lynda, by then, retired, themselves; saw to the feeding of those of us who were gathered from out of town at my parent’s house. Vince and Lynda, wherever they were, whatever they were doing, first-of-all and most-of-all were on mission to share the call of Jesus to salvation through their words and their loving deeds which could not be ignored. Even up until the point of death, Brother Vince was loving and mentoring me and others in his dearly held faith.

Donny Yarbrough

The world changes, but the Gospel and the Word of God never changes. Jesus is the same everyday and forever. I love being a part of First Baptist Church these days because we have a Pastor who in his heart deeply loves the Gospel and deeply loves the Word of God; and so, deeply loves all people—for we all

Our own Pastor Donny
so passionately seeks
to know and do the
Will of God, His People
gladly follow.

desperately need both the Gospel and God’s Word. I rejoice that He prays seriously, studies the Scripture constantly and is always seeking God’s Leadership. Under his leadership First Baptist Glencoe seeks to recognize and meet people’s needs in the Name of Jesus  who has saved us by grace, and will save them, too, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I rejoice as we see young families drawn by such loving ministry and such proclamation of the Gospel through God’s Word.

Glory be to God! As I look back at my life, then at our lives together, Becky and myself, I see how God has provided, not only the Good Shepherd, Jesus; but also His undershepherds to guide us all along the way. For each of them and those I have not been able to mention, I say a heart-felt thank you as I praise God for their lives and their calling and their obedience. How beautifully pastors serve God and minister among us. They demonstrate how life is ALL ABOUT JESUS.







2 Comments on “

  1. I am so blessed by this write up. Thank u so much for giving to the Lord. More grace to serve sir.

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