By Faye Gaston
The new bi-vocational pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Union Springs was invited to speak at the Union Springs Senior Citizens Nutrition Center on October 1, 2021. After Pastor Randal Atkins spoke, he was invited to come every Friday at 11:00 a.m. to teach the Bible to the senior citizens.
The pastor's wife, Phyllis, played the piano as she and the pastor led the singing of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." He asked Tommie O'Neal to help in leading the singing of "Pass Me Not." Phyllis sang, "Sheltered in the Arms of God." John Williams sang, "Go Tell It on the Mountain."
Pastor Randal spoke his appreciation for the senior citizens in the room. He has a "special heart" for the "older generation" who followed the leadership of God the Holy Spirit, raised their children in church, sought the will of God, and tried to lay a foundation for the next generations.
Pastor Atkins said that God made one race, the human race, to worship Him and serve Him. He said there was wisdom in this room beyond measure, that this older generation kept things going when there has been a falling away from God for some time.
He said dealing with COVID-19 does not stop us from studying God's Word. He quoted II Chronicles 7:14, which includes a call to repentance of sin and to pray. He said that we have got to have prayer, that prayer changes attitudes, and there is healing power in prayer.
His father, age 86, had been a pastor for 53 years and now goes to a Senior Center every day. He and his wife take turns with his family staying with his father during his "good days and bad days." They spend Thursday through Sunday in Union Springs.
They attended a Bible study for football players at the home of Kim Graham on Thursday night and attended a football game in support of some of the youth who attend the weekly Bible study. Terri Bean, Manager of the Nutrition Center, read the lunch menu.
Then Pastor Randal prayed the blessing on the food, blessed the senior citizens for their needs, and "send the Holy Spirit on us."
He spoke individually with each senior citizen present. Pastor Randal is 60 years old. He and his wife have two grown children and four grandchildren who live in north Alabama.
They have served as youth directors in church, but this is the first time to serve as pastor of a church. Their home is in Harvest, Alabama.