Who is in my family? My wife, Susan, hails from Mt. Vernon, IL. We met at Rend Lake College; both attended Eastern IL University in Charleston, and married in May of 1982. Seven years later, God blessed us with one red-headed daughter, Cadence (Cady), who is currently a senior at Murray State University this fall. We reside in Benton with our two Pomeranians, Muffin & Chloe.
What did you do before you came to FBC? I taught music at Thompsonville & Sesser schools before accepting a faculty position at Benton Consolidated High School. I taught Music & English there for 18 years. I left the teaching profession to accept a call into full-time music ministry in the spring of 2000. I, along with high school classmate, Allan Kimball, co-founded the Pyramid Players Regional Theatre Troupe in 1977. Over the past 31 seasons, we have staged nearly 100 Broadway musicals & plays at many venues throughout southern Illinois.
Where have I ministered before? I began my ministry at my home church of 1st Baptist West City in 1974. I have served as interim/assistant music minister at many southern Baptist churches in southern Illinois. Some of those include: Immanuel Baptist in Benton; Park Avenue in Mt. Vernon; Second Baptist in West Frankfort; Second Baptist in Marion & First Baptist of Sesser. In addition, I have led music for numerous revival meetings in my 33 year tenure in the ministry.
When did I ask Jesus into my heart? 1968 (Age 9) – in my home following Wednesday night prayer meeting. My mother, Geneva and Pastor Leonard Cole led me through the decision. My younger brother, Del, accepted Christ that same evening. Needless to say, that was a good week for my mom!
What have been the biggest tests of my faith? The senseless death of my older brother, Jim and the horrific murder of my wife’s father, Lester Derry in 2002. My brother served his country as a medic in Vietnam. He later died of cirrhosis of the liver, leaving behind a wife & a young son. Lester was a devoted servant/Deacon in his church in Mt. Vernon. He was a professional carpenter and woodworker. These two deaths brought me closer to the Lord, my church family, and my Christian friends and the assurance that we truly can endure all things through Him who gives us strength. The knowledge that I will see them both again has been a comfort to my family. In what way do I see the Lord ministering at FBC Marion? More now than at any time since I have served here, I see a refreshed enthusiasm, a new spirit of cooperation, and a transferable vision to the people of this historic church. With this vision, I see God doing awesome things both here and outside the walls of FBC Marion! He is affording us with many opportunities to minister…all we have to do is step up and serve!
Hobbies? Music, music &…did I mention music? Also, theatre, movies & jazz.
A favorite place to eat? 54th Street in Fairview Heights. Love that Gringo dip! A book I have read and would recommend besides the Bible: Grace-Full Leadership by Dr. John Bowling.