Twenty-five years ago Gary Furr was called as pastor of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church, Birmingham. On Sept. 16 the church celebrated Furr’s tenure at Vestavia Hills Baptist. He was recognized during the morning service, and a reception was held later in the afternoon.
Baptist leaders, members of the church and Furr’s family were among those attending the event.
A collection of notes of appreciation and remembrances were given to Furr and his wife, Vickie, at the afternoon reception.
“This (was) a historic event for our church,” said administrative pastor Dennis Anderson. “Even though we are known for long-tenured pastors here, Gary (was) the first to celebrate 25 years as our pastor.”
Furr has overseen tremendous growth and strides during his 25 years at Vestavia Hills. The church has welcomed 1,100 new members, experienced a 282 percent increase in missions giving, sent more than 300 members to 25 countries on missions trips and made extensive renovations and expansions to the facility.
“As pastor I see myself as shepherd and servant leader,” Furr said. “My primary role is leadership, pastoral care and preaching and teaching.”
Before coming to Birmingham, Furr served as pastor at churches in Georgia and Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman College (now University) in Jefferson City, Tennessee; a master’s degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina; and a doctorate from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
He also is a graduate of the Academy for Spiritual Formation through Upper Room Ministries, and a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Vestavia Hills. Furr has served on the coordinating council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, on the executive board of the Birmingham Baptist Association and on the board of directors of Baptist Health Systems.
Furr also is a conference speaker and a published author. He has served as an adjunct professor at Samford University and Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham.
Currently, Furr is serving as the founder of the Alabama Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children, a faith-based, nonprofit organization of health care professionals, educators and community leaders advocating for the health care of children in underserved areas of Alabama.
The Furrs have three children. (TAB)