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The Texas Rangers celebrate a 6-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon.
Inside Story
Photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

What’s really going on at the Texas Rangers game

The story behind ministers spending an afternoon in a ballpark suite.

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ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Fishing is about more than fishing.

That was the gist of a Top 10 country song released in 2011.

Trace Adkins’ “Just Fishin’” details a father’s deeper desire for simple time spent with his daughter:

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside

Throwin’ back what we could fry

Drownin’ worms and killin’ time

Nothin’ too ambitious

She ain’t even thinkin’ about

What’s really goin’ on right now

But I guarantee this memory’s a big one

And she thinks we’re just fishin’

A baseball game is about more than a baseball game.

That was J.C. Bailey III’s thinking when he invited a group of North Texas ministers — and The Christian Chronicle editor-in-chief — to enjoy a Texas Rangers game from his law firm’s suite.

Fans who pay close attention to the advertising along the team’s home run wall at Globe Life Field might recognize the name Bailey & Galyen. With Phillip Galyen serving as president, it’s the MLB team’s official law firm.

Members of Churches of Christ who pay close attention to giants in the faith might recognize the name J.C. Bailey.

Related: Keeping the faith: Texas Rangers win the World Series

The attorney’s late grandfather, who died in 2001 at age 97, preached for 40 years in Montana and Canada, did mission work in India and served as the founding president of Canada’s now-defunct Western Christian College.

The attorney’s father, J.C. Bailey II, now 89, is better known as John. A 1957 graduate of Abilene Christian University in Texas, he mixed a successful dental practice with regular preaching. After retiring, he devoted himself to medical missions, performing thousands of dental surgeries in more than 20 countries on three continents.

J.C. Bailey III is an attorney and minister in Texas.

J.C. Bailey III is an attorney and minister in Texas.

J.C. Bailey III goes by “Jay.” An attorney since 1988, he earned his bachelor’s degree from ACU and his law degree from Baylor University. He specializes in probate and estate planning.

But like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him, he’s a preacher, too.

He grew up watching his dad’s bivocational ministry. Earning a living with a day job — and stepping to the pulpit on Sundays — seemed like a natural choice.

Jay Bailey just finished 12 years as the “interim” preacher for the 1,000-member Legacy Church of Christ, his home congregation in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills. Tim Hall, who wore a red Rangers T-shirt to the baseball game, is Legacy’s new full-time preacher.

Typically, Bailey & Galyen’s suite overlooking home plate at the Rangers ballpark serves business purposes. But Jay Bailey had a spiritual reason for inviting ministry friends to watch Texas play the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon.

He knows that ministry can be challenging. Stressful. Even lonely.

Who better understands that than a fellow preacher? So why not orchestrate a setting where — over free hot dogs, nachos, brownies and soft drinks — ministers could fellowship with each other as pitchers fired 95 mph fastballs?

I’m not a preacher, but editing an international Christian newspaper can be demanding at times. So I appreciated Jay including me. 

My father, Bob Ross, preaches for the Greenwood Church of Christ, a rural congregation in North Texas. He joined the group at the game. 

Bobby Ross Jr. and his father, Bob Ross, in the suite at the Texas Rangers game on Thursday afternoon.

Bobby Ross Jr. and his father, Bob Ross, in the suite at the Texas Rangers game on Thursday afternoon.

We enjoyed catching up with preachers such as Jon McKenzie of the Bridgewood Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Michael Lum of the South Main Church of Christ in Weatherford and Brock Paulk of the Heritage Church of Christ in Keller.

I cheered as the Rangers shut out the Nationals, 6-0. But guess what? That wasn’t what was really going on.

BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].

Filed under: baseball Bob and Judy Ross bobby ross Jr Fort Worth Inside Story Legacy Church of Christ ministers National Opinion preachers sports Texas Texas Rangers Top Stories

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