I grew up in Louisville, Alabama (I’m from L.A.), a small town in South Alabama, where I learned to appreciate good conversation, nature, sports, family, hard work, the importance of education, church, and friendships.
I became a Christian at age ten and made a public commitment to ministry at age eleven.
As a senior in high school I reaffirmed my calling to ministry and began accepting offers to preach. I preached at a country church during my freshman and sophomore years in college and baptized my first two converts to the Christian faith. Thankfully, none of those sermons have survived.
I left that church when I transferred to Samford University at the beginning of my junior year in college. I still found opportunities to preach through Samford’s “H-Day Program,” named for the school’s original name, Howard Collage.
After graduating from Samford, I married Tina, also from Louisville, and continued training for ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. There I completed my Master of Divinity with a concentration in pastoral care. I drove a school bus, worked at St. Matthews Baptist Church,and completed my first unit of Clinical Pastor Education (CPE) at Baptist Hospital East. Tina worked as an accountant for STM Development Company.
Tina and I moved from Louisville, Kentucky to Hartwell, Georgia in 1988 where I served First Baptist Church for 4 ½ years as Minister of Youth.
While there, I completed the requirements for the Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia and gained more CPE units at Patrick Harris Psychiatric Hospital in Anderson, South Carolina.
I left there to pastor Clarkesville Baptist Church in Clarkesville, Georgia. After a 3 ½-year tenure, we moved to Moultrie, Georgia, where I began a thirteen-year ministry at Trinity Baptist Church. I left as the longest-serving pastor of the church.
During those years I held an adjunct professor position with Brewton-Parker College in Norman Park for five years. I was president of the Moultrie Rotary Club, president of Moss Farms Diving, and was a columnist for the Moultrie Observer for nine years, winning eight writing awards from The Amy Foundation.
Many people have been into the ministry from that church, a great testimony to the hearts and love of those people, and especially to the ministry of Carl Tolbert and John Grobe, two men I was privileged to work with. Also, I was fortunate to work with Zach Dawes who came as a CBF Intern and is now the Managing Editor for EthicsDaily.com.
Moultrie became home for our sons, John and Ryan, both graduating from Colquitt County High School.
I have written five books. The most recent is a children’s book and is available only on this website. The royalties from all the books are used to help the “Bricks For Ricks Foundation,” a foundation I established to build permanent dwellings out of earth block for people in places like Liberia. Currently, machines have been placed in Peru and in Liberia.
Recently, the foundation has been expanding its base of operation to be able to assist with food, water and medicine. In 2016, a Mahindra tractor and implements were donated to Ricks Institute in Liberia.
Our older son, John, has completed four years of service as a U.S. Marine. He served tours of duty in the Persian Gulf, Haiti, and Afghanistan. He graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in May, 2014. John married Yami Avila, whom he dated in high school. In March of 2016, Mia Claire was born. Yami is a nurse. John is training to paramedic.
Our younger son, Ryan, is a four-time state diving champion, a USA National Diving Champion, and an Academic/All-American diver at the University of Tennessee. In 2012, he won the one and three-meter SEC Championships. Upon graduation he worked as a certified personal trainer at Performance Training, Inc., in Knoxville. He married Alyssa Helms from Nashville, (yep, same last name), in December 2013. He is completed his doctorate of physical therapy degree from UTC in Chattanooga in May, 2016. Alyssa is now in her third year of veterinarian school at the University of Tennessee.
I enjoy playing tennis, turkey hunting, turning a lathe, and spending time with my wife. We especially like traveling together. We are having no problem adapting to our role as grandparents.
I have been the pastor of FBC Jefferson since 2009. In 2013, I completed a fourth unit of advanced clinical pastoral education at Northeast Georgia Medical Center with Dr. Jap Keith, a regional CPE director and continue to stay connected with the chaplain program at the hospital.