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Appreciation for the First Church I Pastored


jimfirstchurchThis was the first church I pastored, though I had served as an assistant in a LR church prior to this. The gracious people of this church allowed me to pastor them while I was in Ouachita University in the late 60s. It was called Washington Baptist Church of Washington, AR (just past Hope!).

Washington had 400 residents at the time, and was the Civil War capital in Arkansas. Now it is a state park and well worth your time to visit. Even then the town had a magical charm, with several restored buildings from the Civil War era. The Bowie knife was made there. I lived in a Jim Walter prefab house just behind the building on the weekends. It had no furniture except a bed and a table and some metal chairs. I would practice my sermons on Saturday night, preaching to the empty pews.

I ate in Miss Barrow’s cafe on the main street. She slept behind the stove and had a privy. I made the mistake of telling her I loved her mayonnaise cake.

Every pastor has to learn somewhere. Churches that take on student pastors serve the Christian world in a remarkable way. I’m thankful to say that some people encountered Christ there and were soundly converted during those simple days. I had a remarkable experience of answered prayer just in front of that building. In fact, I had experiences there that I wish every young pastor would have.

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