James Jones column: Recruitment for pastors underway

Published 5:19 am Friday, October 13, 2023

I was given the great opportunity to speak at the West Central Baptist Association on Monday at the First Baptist Church.

The meeting is a gathering of pastors and church members from the congregations in the association. It’s also a business meeting and time of fellowship with messages to inspire and uplift, something we all can use.

Lee Tate, the Association’s Director of Missions and Pastor of Benton Baptist Church, extended me the invitation to introduce myself to various pastors and church members throughout Selma, Dallas County, and the surrounding area.

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I shook off the shiver that slid down my spine as the nervousness faded when I received thunderous applause from the audience.

I spoke from the heart and gave my assessment of Pastors in Selma and Dallas County from five years of living in the area.

Passionately, I told the audience that Selma may not be the richest city in the country, but we are loaded with wonderful pastors.

My thoughts immediately went beyond race. Black or white, young or old, Democrat or Republican, we have a strong depth chart of quality pastors in the area.

We have wonderful pastors with great hearts and passion for delivering their message. Some wear emotions on their sleeves.

I named pastors right off the bat: Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr., former Dallas County District Court Judge Bob Armstrong, Dr. Otis Dion Culliver, Gary Crum Sr., Nicholas Gandy and John Grayson.

For the other area pastors whose names I did not mention, please don’t be offended.  Your names will be on my list once I get to know you better.

With that in mind, I told the pastors in the audience, “I’m going to start begging now.”

As the audience laughed at my remark, my recruiting process began.  I told the pastors that The Selma Times-Journal is interested in them writing a faith column on a rotating basis for our Wednesday and Sunday print and e-editions.

I told them, I hope each and every one of you accepts this challenge for Selma and Dallas County to get to know you better and promote your church. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

When I left the podium under a loud applause and greeted by countless handshakes,  Tate made my speech meaningful.

“You don’t get to hear newspaper editors like that about pastors,” Tate said.

A smile covered my entire face as I departed. It was the classic Kool-Aid smile.

For a person who usually dislikes Mondays, Tate made October 9, an enjoyable one.