Sunday Sitdown

Dr. Keeney Dickenson

First Baptist Church, Crockett

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

The Messenger continues its Sunday Sitdown reports where we speak with our local pastors, educators, businesspeople, students and interesting people of all walks of life in Houston County. To see the full video interview, click on the link below!

When did you first feel the calling to be a pastor?

“I was 17 years old and I had poured my life into basketball and we had a really great basketball program in Clovis, New Mexico where I grew up. Toward the end of my senior year, I really had my life turned around, really focused on the Lord through a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp the summer before and came to a point where I realized being a coach was not what I was supposed to do. I was petrified at the thought of going into the ministry because I was very shy. I dropped one class in high school and that was creative writing, because the teacher said we’d have to write something, present it and be critiqued. And I said I could never do that. Now I do that every week and have done it for 45 years.”

What has been the hardest part of being a pastor?

“I think the hardest part is when you come to a church, you naturally come in at the end of some people’s lives. People you wish you could have really gotten to know. The upside is, the Lord has blessed us with two long pastorates. We were at our last church 13-and-a-half years and we’ve been here 20. But the opposite of that is getting to watch families develop and children grow up and that kind of thing, but I think the hardest part is missing out on people’s lives before you got there.”

What does God want from each of us?

“I think He wants our attention. I think we live in a world full of distractions, and even good things can distract us from the greatest thing which is Him. And I think He wants our attention and our worship. Too many times, we have made the church about us and not about about Him. We have a consumer mentality, when He just really wants us to know Him. And to understand that He knows us intimately and deeply but still loves us and gave for His son for us. And loves us on our worst days, not just because we committed sin, but because we are sinners. But in spite of that, this Holy God has a passionate love for us.”

What is your go-to scripture for motivation or inspiration?

“My wife and I would call Ephesians 3:20-21 our ‘life verse’ and it simply says that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly, above all we could ever ask or think, according to His power and work within us. To Him be glory throughout all ages in His church, forever and ever. Amen. 40 years of pastoral ministry actually as a pastor and as a couple in our lives and everything that has happened that’s been fruitful in our ministry can be summed up in three words and that is, ‘God did it.”

What can churches do to get more young people involved?

“I think the church has struggled reaching young people. I think one of the reasons is the fallacy – if we will become like the world, they will want to be like us. But we spent more time becoming like the world, without really offering solid spiritual nourishment for people. And I think the younger generation is hungry for transparency and integrity. And being willing to talk about the faith – not just talk at them, but listen to them and dialogue with them. In our church, we’re very blessed with young families. They tell young couples and parents we should discipline our children and disciple our children. We learned how to be disciplined from our parents, but nobody’s ever shown us how to disciple our children. In our family bible camp, families move together through stages. They’re being mentored how to disciple their children and how to interact with them over a Bible story, how to pray creatively with them, how to memorize Scripture together, even how to play together in ways that are meaningful with their children, spiritually. We’re really trying to be a biblical church, with the older ones walking alongside the younger ones and encouraging them.”

First Baptist Church Crockett meets every Sunday for worship at 10:15 a.m. Visit the church at 801 East Goliad in Crockett or call (936) 544-3420. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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