I grew up in Saraland, Alabama. I graduated from Satsuma High School 1975, a genuine Satsuma Gator! When I was sixteen I made a decision to trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior. That decision changed my life!
At the end of my sophomore year at Mobile College (now the University of Mobile) I felt the undeniable call of God to preach. I graduated from UM in 1979 with a degree in Religion. That summer I married my High School (and always) sweetheart, Deborah Huff. In 1998 we moved to New Orleans where I enrolled at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. While living in New Orleans our first child, Candace, was born.
After graduating with a Masters degree in Biblical Studies we moved to Pensacola, Florida where I served on the staff of the Warrington Baptist Church. My responsibility was to revitalize the Boulevard Baptist Church, renamed "Bayou Grove Baptist Mission." After three years my home church, First Baptist Satsuma, called me to be their youth pastor. Very soon the First Baptist Church, Samson, Alabama, called us to come be their pastor. I served there from 1987 to 1992. While living in the "Wiregrass" our second daughter, Lana, was born. Then came our son, Taylor. After serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church, Graceville, Florida (1992-1993) our family moved to Mobile where I pastored the Sage Avenue Baptist Church. While pastoring Sage I enrolled again at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1998 I graduated with a Doctor of Ministry degree in Evangelism and Church Growth. That same year I accepted the call to serve as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Canton, Georgia. I served there for nearly 18 years.
We are very proud of all three of our children... who happen to serve in ministry. Candace and Lana founded a discipleship ministry to teenage girls called "Pillars." Candace enrolled at my seminary alma mater (NOBTS) where she received a degree in Christian Education/Biblical Studies. While serving at Mission Lab she met Chris McDowell. They married and moved back to Canton, post-Katrina. Now Candace continues Pillars. She and Chris have two daughters, Everli and Nora.
Lana married Andrew McNair from Canton. They moved to Wake Forest, North Carolina, where Andrew was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Lana received a Masters in Christian Counseling degree from Liberty University. She and Andrew are church planters with the North American Mission Board. They helped to establish Lamp City Church in Clarkston, Georgia. They are the parents of our first grandson, Jack.
Our son, Taylor, moved to Mobile where he enrolled at my college alma mater, the University of Mobile. A talented musician, he now serves as worship pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama. He and his lovely wife, Olivia, recently welcomed a new daughter-our fourth grandchild-Piper. So our tribe increaseth... God is good!
Rising Hills Church
Recently God has led us on a new venture. In October, 2016, we launched Rising Hills Church. Currently we are meeting Sundays at 10:30 at Mountain Road Elementary School, 615 Mountain Road, Woodstock, Georgia.
Some people asked me to pray about starting a church but, honestly, the idea scared me to death! I've never done anything like this. I had prayed and asked God to put me in a place outside my routine--a place where faith in Him was the new normal. But, frankly, I never expected an answer like this! I was ready to move to another state and pastor, but God would not give me peace. Driving home one night from a meeting I felt compelled to call a friend in Tennessee and ask for his impressions. Since it was was already late I put that idea on hold until the next day. The next morning I was reading my Bible and praying when the phone rang. I looked down and it was the friend I started to call the night before! He asked what I was going to do and I said, "I think I'm going to start a church." I thought he was going to go Pentecostal on me! He was saying, "Praise God, I knew it! I love it... I love it... I love it!" Instantly I felt this rush of peace come over me. I had confirmation from the Body of Christ.
I have preached often on "How To Discover God's Will for Your Life." I've told people that if you are faced with three options, and one of those options is going to take more faith than you've ever exercised in your life, that is probably the direction God wants you to go because "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). I had been thinking, "I'd like to start a church, but I don't know if I have enough faith." The Holy Spirit said to me, "Preacher, it's high time you listened to your own sermon!" So here we are, shipwrecked on God and trusting Him from week to week.... and it is AWESOME! This is like being saved all over again! I have freedom, peace, and joy.
So if you live in or near east Cherokee County, Georgia, I invite you to come and check us out. You'll be greeted with a smile and a handshake... maybe even a hug. You'll find the fellowship joyful and refreshing, the worship simple and authentic, and the preaching straight out of God's Word. Sound like something you're looking for? Check us out! After one visit you'll leave as a friend... and you'll return as one of the family!