EDITOR’S NOTE — A few weeks ago, we shared the “comeback” story of First Baptist Church Gadsden and asked if you had a comeback story to share. That sparked an idea for TAB reader Ginger George Clifton, 81, who submitted this story about Tripp Dickson, family pastor at FBC Sylacauga.
By Ginger George Clifton
Special to The Alabama Baptist
First Baptist Church Sylacauga recently completed a new children’s department and playground. The church also recognized a need for a family pastor to best use these wonderful facilities and enhance this important ministry.
Tripp Dickson was recommended for this position, an idea I had to process because I remember Tripp as quite a “trip” himself.
About 15 years ago, Tripp hit “rock bottom” after struggling with an opioid addiction after a back surgery. It almost cost him his family.
But God broke the chains of addiction and has given him a great responsibility of sharing the good news of Jesus.
“Some godly men took me under their wing and discipled me, and my new found faith in God revealed He had a great plan for me — family ministry,” he said.
I am a senior adult who watched Tripp grow up, and quite honestly, I wondered if he were up for this task. But God knew he was, and now I know it too.
Tripp has a way with children. His natural knack for fun has combined with his desire to be a stabilizing, energizing force in the spiritual development of children. It is fun to watch his expectations met.
He speaks “child,” and they bombard him with questions, a “Mr. Tripp” here and a “Mr. Tripp” there. The answers and fist bumps confirm his strategy is working.
His activities are purposeful, making the Bible real and Jesus the Savior personal. He has a way of bringing young people out of their comfort zones.
Tripp is truly a family minister. He always has time for senior adults. He plans fishing and recreational opportunities and visits those in the hospital. He can be counted on.
Recently at a community meeting, I introduced myself to a young man whose family has started attending our church. He said, “We love what this church is doing for children, and we want our children to be a part of this great program!”
Tripp has a great comeback story, and he is a good example of what James 1:22 describes as a “doer of the Word.”