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Andrew Hairston preaches at the Simpson Street Church of Christ in Atlanta. – PHOTO BY TED PARKS

How rare is it for a minister to serve one congregation for 50 years?


Andrew Hairston preaches at the Simpson Street Church of Christ in Atlanta. (Photo by Ted Parks)

How rare is it for a minister to serve one congregation for 50 years?
This past spring, Christian Chronicle correspondent Ted Parks profiled Andrew Hairston, who has made a mark in a half-century of preaching for the Simpson Street Church of Christ in Atlanta.
Now, Parks has a new Chronicle feature on David Jones Jr., who is celebrating 50 years in the pulpit of the Schrader Lane Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn. (Bob Smietana, religion writer for The Tennessean, also wrote a profile of Jones.)
In Richardson, Texas, Robert Oglesby holds the distinction of being the only preacher the Waterview Church of Christ has ever had in its 50-year history. He and the church will be marking that milestone in coming months.
Reader feedback: Do you know of other ministers who have served the same Church of Christ for so long?

  • Feedback
    Back in 2009, Joy McMillon <a href=”http://www.christianchronicle.org/article2158896~” rel=”nofollow”>profiled two South Carolina ministers</a>, I.V. White and Frank McElveen, who both reached the 50-year mark behind the same pulpits in Abbeville and Charleston, respectively.
    Erik Tryggestad
    October, 29 2012

    Thanks for the reminder, Erik!
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    October, 29 2012

    And, just to honor those who are praiseworthy, how many ministers make it to the 50 years in ministry mark period? With health, fatigue, battle wounds, etc., claiming a huge number of pulpit ministers, I would like to see a listing of those who have preached for 50 and more years total. I think it would be very uplifting to see their names in print.
    “Honor to whom honor is due…”
    Paul Smith
    October, 29 2012

    Monroe Hawley in Milwaukee have been the Preacher there for over 60 years.
    Dave Shaner Sr.
    October, 29 2012

    Thanks, Dave. Here’s an <a href=”http://www.christianchronicle.org/article755~Dialogue:_A_Conversation_with_Monroe_Hawley” rel=”nofollow”>interview we did</a> with Monroe Hawley in 2007.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    October, 29 2012

    Theaster Maloy Sr. has served Fidelity Church of Christ in Houston, TX for more than 50 years. About 52 years.
    Michael Woodard
    October, 29 2012

    My father-in-law, Gerald Romine has been preaching for the Roanoke Church of Christ in Alabama for either 54 or 55 years and is still going strong.
    Dale Jenkins
    October, 29 2012

    Jimmy Adcox has been at SW Church in Jonesboro, Ark. for 35 years. Thanks a long time among primarily white churches. But still far shy of 50 years. Maybe the climate is more ‘preacher friendly’ among primarily black churches. Ya think? :0)
    Lynn Anderson
    October, 29 2012

    I believe Robert Brown served the Macon Road congregation in Memphis for nearly 50 yrs. He’s now at the Great Oaks congregation.
    Ken K.
    October, 29 2012

    Many years ago I had a public discussion regarding race relations with David Jones, Jr. in Greenville, SC at the I-85 Church of Christ. The moderator was Andrew Hairston. It was an educational experience for me, one from which I learned valuable lessons. The discussion, one Saturday morning following several days of lectures for African American churches in four states, was, I think, helpful for all in great part because of the great Christian character of both brother Jones and brother Hairston. I have followed brother Hairston’s career through the years, but haven’t heard much about brother Jones until now. May he have many more years of service at
    Schrader Lane.
    Andy T. Ritchie (III)
    October, 29 2012

    John M. Davis served the Ridgewood Church of Christ for 52 years. He continues keeping his office hours beginning at 4 AM seven days a week. In the 50th year, John had NEVER taken one day sick, not one day off and not a single vacation. A surprise 50th anniversary planned by the elders and members of the church pulled it together and John was truly surprised.
    In attendance were local business men and women, local government representatives, state officials, a plaque from our state governor, Rick Perry, many past ministers and on and on.
    The elders announced that John and his Daughter Melinda would be REQUIRED to take an all expense paid two weeks in Rome. He was deeply moved seeing all the places we read about in the Word.
    Last Saturday I called John at 4:15 AM to request prayers for my wife of 46 1/2 years. In fifteen minutes I received an email stating he had prayed for both of and would continue prayers. About an hour or so later I was notified that John had suffered a small stroke and was hospitalized. John has always been our pick to preach our funeral. My beloved wife died Saturday at 5:22PM. Today she walks with our Lord.
    John M. Davis, minister
    Ridgewood Church of Christ
    Beaumont, TX
    Submitted by Richard G Trumps, minister for 50+ years, now confined in a nursing home in Garland, TX.
    R. G. Trumps
    October, 29 2012

    Earlier this year Bernard “Boo” Waites completed 50 years of ministry to the Corinth and Perrytown congregations near Woodville, Mississippi–shown here (bottom right, with his wife Silvia Hager Waites at bottom left) during a dinner on the grounds for the occasion: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3783836242950&amp;set=a.1546320946466.73549.1488324892&amp;type=3&amp;theater .
    David Ramsey
    October, 29 2012

    I’m inspired by these amazing brothers who’ve stayed in the preaching ministry that long – let alone the fact that those years have been spent in serving the same church.
    As one who’s preached for the same congregation 31 years, I realize I’m just a “spring chicken” compared to these amazing brothers.
    May the Lord continue to bless them! And their congregations.
    Keith Roberts
    October, 29 2012

    Wasn’t Paul Rogers at Centerville, TN for right at 50 years, until death claimed him.
    Warren Co. Tenn had two 50 year plus preachers in the 1990’s.
    Jim Gammon
    October, 29 2012

    George Pledger served the Weber Road congregation in Corpus Christi Texas for 44 years.
    David Reyes
    October, 29 2012

    It is a rare thing to have the same preacher for 50 years. Even the classic ‘golden-tongued’ John Crysostom did not achieve that benchmark. I never came close when I was in full-time ministry.
    Shane R
    October, 29 2012

    Greetings to the Churchs of Christ around the world , it is not the number of years that these brother,s served and that they have achieved but that they are still serving daily , Carlisle Pa thank you Ed and now Tony years come and go but what you achieve daily is rewarding in that your a servent serving daily a BIG THANK you, and may the LORD bless the Body of CHRIST around the world John 3:16
    William Sharar
    October, 30 2012

    John Davis at Ridgewood in Beaumont, TX was honored three plus years ago for 50 years with that church. He did not leave that pulpit until last year. So that made 52 years. By the way, John is in the hospital dealing with the damage from a stroke now.
    Keith Bellamy
    October, 30 2012

    Paul Wylie, an educator and preacher, served the Goodsprings congregation (Goodsprings in Walker County, AL) for 50 years.
    Kerry Richardson
    October, 30 2012

    How long has Lewis Hale been with the Southwest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. It has to be 50 years plus? Blessings to so many faithful servants of the King!
    Paul Lakey
    October, 30 2012

    Fellow Christians, Greetings:
    Something is to be said for the congeragations that support a Godly Man as he Breaks unto them the Bread of Life. They must have harmony.
    Bro Frank Higginbottham and his Dear Wife Rose have been with the Virginia Avenue In Chester, WV. almost 50 years it may be 48 or 49 but it is close. He truly is a Man of God Serving the Master. He also preaches in Gospel Meetings and Lectures. They Have a Son and Son-in-law who preaches the Gospel also. May God continue to bless alll those and the Elders they serve under as they feed and the elders watch for our Souls then someday we can all be togeather around the Throne of God Giving our Thanks for the home of the Soul.
    I too would like to see a list of those preaching more than 50 years because I know I could add to it. My Dad Ted Hanlin from Weirton, WV preached more than 50 years, My Cousin Bob Eddy has preached more than 50 years, My brother-in-law Richard Jones has been preaching over 50 years. Think about it if we have been listening more than 50 years we have some age on us huh? Teachers in bible classes too.
    May God continue to bless them all.
    Thinking Love, Darlene McKinley -Weirton, WV.
    Darlene McKinley
    October, 30 2012

    I have preached over 50 years in one church … but not always the same congregation! I have preached 18 years in Italy and the rest primarily in the United States. My longest time on one city was 13 years. I tip my hat to those men who have been able to be effective so many years in the same place, but I also rejoice in the broad spectrum of Christians I have been able to teach and work with by serving in more than one place!
    Dan Reed
    October, 30 2012

    In some circumstances the right preacher with the right brethren are able to work together for an extended period. ….. However, studies of men in the brotherhood reveal some men were correct for one circumstance in a congregation’s history, but then circumstances/brethren change — or perhaps the preacher fails to change/grow, and one or the other ends the alliance. ….. Sometimes a man is doing a solid work, and one or two “(new) members”, for whatever reason, make further stay impossible. In several such instances the preacher did not seem at fault (some were well-known). …… A third set of circumstances where a stay limited is when a (often new/young) evangelist is just beginning, and the only works available to him are “problem churches.” If such a man with a family is forced out with two weeks notice, he may take the first offer received — which may be an equally sad situation. Soon, another parting of the ways becomes a second blemish on his resume, and few solid congregations give this man a second look, much less an opportunity. …… Perhaps it goes without saying, that some of us without lengthy tenures have failings on our side of the ledger. ….. So, circumstances vary, and we should be careful lest we only praise those in one set of (longer) years.
    Jim Gammon
    October, 30 2012

    I can certainly appreciate the blessing of having one preacher for many years. There is, in some churches, too much turnover in the pulpit. However, too often times we may get “caught up” in how long a man is in one pulpit, and not enough attention to how “relevant” a given church is within its community. Some churches have had the same man for many years, but are no longer relevant in their communities for God’s cause. It is a true blessing, regardless of the presence in the pulpit, to have a strong, compassionate, outreaching presence in the community for God’s cause. May we give honor to our preachers, but give great attention to God’s call.
    Andy
    March, 20 2013

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