The members of Grace Baptist Church were especially excited this year to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of Pastor Leigh and Mrs. Beth Crockett serving the Lord through their ministry here at Grace. We have been truly blessed this past quarter of a century to have a man like Dr. Leigh Crockett as our pastor, preacher, teacher, leader, shepherd, counselor, friend and example.
His impact and influence have reached far beyond the walls of our church. He has traveled to almost two dozen countries on mission trips. He has represented Christian education in our nation's capitol (he was in Washington, D.C. on 9/11), and he has preached and taught at conferences and meetings across the nation as well as around the world. He is a well-known and well-respected leader in church and Christian education circles at home and abroad. With all that, the great burden of his heart and the sharpest focus of his ministry have always been for our church and community.
He has a genuine Pastor's heart, laboring tirelessly for and with those the Lord has placed in his care at GBC. He has even extended open arms to those in the community who may not be part of the membership at our church. Under his leadership Grace Baptist Church has established Civil Leaders' Sundays, where candidates for and officials elected to public office have the opportunity to worship with us and get to know some of the people in the community. He also initiated our annual Blue & White Sunday, where we honor police officers from around the city, county, state and nation. This idea has spread through many states, and Pastor Crockett has been called on to share the idea with other churches and has even been invited to help them start their own Blue & White Sundays. Pastor Crockett has many friends in the ranks of public servants and elected officials. He appreciates and honors them all, and leads us to do the same.
The celebration took place on May 31, 2009. Nathan Crockett preached the morning sermon entitled "The Gospel: God's Good News to Mankind." Nathan, second son to the Crocketts, is a professor of Bible at Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, and serves as youth pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Landrum, SC. Dr. Larry Hufhand, representing the Indiana Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, presented Pastor & Mrs. Crockett with a plaque, and Dr. Dennis Ice, representing the Indiana Association of Christian Schools, presented the Crocketts with a certificate in recognition of this ministry milestone.
The Anderson community, current and former church members, and family of the Crocketts were cordially invited to an open house in Pastor and Mrs. Crockett's honor on Sunday afternoon followed by a service in the church auditorium.
Video greetings from Dr. Chuck Phelps, Dr. Bob Jones III, and Congressmen Mike Pence were shown in the evening service along with a video history of Pastor's 25 years of ministry at GBC. The church gave the Crocketts a commemorative quilt with signatures of church members and provided for a trip at the Crocketts pleasure. A twenty-five year pastorate is the exception, rather than the rule, and we are proud of our Pastor and his wife and grateful that God has used them here at GBC for these years. In 2006 Pastor Crockett was gravely ill with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. God heard our prayers and spared him, and he is still serving strongly today. We trust that the Lord has many more years ahead for Pastor and Mrs. Crockett, and we will be grateful to have them here leading us for years to come. It is fitting, though, that we celebrate this great achievement and honor them for their service.