By Leigh Pritchett
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Betty Brooks, 87, of McCalla knows her mission is to serve. For 40 years, she has taught Sunday School and still prepares lunch for 15–23 family members each Sunday. She retired as a contract manager after 30 years with the Bell System. She attends Samford University’s Ministry Training Institute through Bibb Baptist Association.
Ministry: Serving others and the church by serving as church clerk, working in the Master’s Kitchen ministry to feed the hungry, being in the women’s ministry, organizing senior excursions and assisting her pastor, Steven Hicks
Church name: First Baptist Church, Woodstock, in Bibb Baptist Association
Life verse: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Q: Describe where you focus your greatest ministry efforts.
A: Teaching Sunday School. I feel responsible completely for the group of people in that class, if they are sick or have a need. Sometimes, someone will call (me) and just want to talk. The Sunday School class is always right there to minister to them.
Q: Who was or is one of the most influential people in your faith life? Why?
A: In the first part of my life, (it) was my mother. I was raised in a poor family. I had a daddy, but my mother made sure we had what we needed and (she) taught us to do right.
And then it was a previous pastor. His name is Ben Corley. He worked in the mines and was injured. He wasn’t supposed to live. He is in a wheelchair. He is there for you. You can watch him and think, “If this man can do it, so can I.” This man’s faith — when you see his faith — you’ve got to have faith that the Lord is there because this man cannot do it on his own.
Q: Tell about a “turning point” in your life and how God was involved.
A: The turning point in my life was when I moved to Woodstock and that was in 1961. We got here at 3 a.m. and at 9 a.m., I told my daughter we needed to find a church. When we came to this little church (FBC Woodstock), there were so many opportunities; it has been such a blessing to me. God sent me here. That was a turning point, from being one of many to being what God wanted me to be.
Q: What has God been teaching you lately?
A: I need to be evangelizing more. And I told Bro. Bill (Russell, Bibb Association director of missions, who teaches the MTI class she attends) a lot about this. Our last course was about evangelizing. We have been praying about it. … I am not out in a field where there are a lot of lost people and I need to be. I have been praying for God to send me to lost people.
Q: If there was one thing you could tell young people about faith, what would it be?
A: I would tell them that they need to have more faith when they’re younger. If God was there before, He still is. It took me awhile to have as much faith as I have now. If I had had this much faith when I was 19, I would have been better off.
If they just have the faith when they’re young, they won’t make so many mistakes. You’re not thinking much about faith when you are a teenager. Faith is an important thing.
Q: Does your church have any special traditions that mean a lot to you? What are they?
A: We still have these traditions that I live by — Easter sunrise service, homecoming and Thanksgiving outreach (meal deliveries).
There is a younger generation out there and these traditions don’t mean a lot to them.
Q: Have you ever read a book or heard a song that changed the way you think about God and faith? What was it and what did you learn from it?
A: My favorite song is “God on the Mountain” — “for the God on the mountain is the God in the valley.” When we are on the mountain, we need God, just like we need Him in the valley. (The song took on new meaning when her husband had cancer.)