Pastor announces retirement after 23 years

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Dr. Wayne Crumpton, pastor of First Baptist Alabaster, recently announced he would retire from full-time work after Dec. 31.

In making his announcement to the Sunday night congregation, just a few days short of his 23rd anniversary, &uot;Brother Wayne,&uot; as he is affectionately known, said: &uot;There comes a time when you just know you need to move on to a different season in your kingdom service, and I believe the Lord has led me to choose this particular time.&uot;

A native of Powderly, Crumpton grew up in the shadow of Powderly Baptist Church where he made his own profession of faith in Christ at the age of 10.

He was 18 when he felt God calling him into the ministry, he said, preaching his first sermon in his home church at Powderly, where he was licensed as a minister of the gospel in September 1957.

Coming from a family of modest means, Crumpton had no idea how he would be able to afford to go to college.

But, he said, God sent a man who befriended the young college hopeful, and helped him get a job at the Armour Meat Packing Company, where he was allowed to work around his class schedule and earn his undergraduate degree from Howard College (later Samford University) in 1961.

Early in his ministry, he was named associate pastor at South Park Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he was ordained in 1961.

Serving alongside well-seasoned minister, the Rev. E.E. Wells, Crumpton said he learned that a preacher never takes up the offering; and that you never ask the church for a vote of confidence unless you’re prepared to leave.

As his mentor, the Rev. Wells also taught the young preacher many things that later helped to shape his own visionary-style of leadership.

&uot;He taught me that without sufficient facilities you can’t meet the needs of your congregation, let alone reach out to the community. And he taught me that in order to reach people for Christ, you have to go where they are &045; knock on doors, and get down with them &045; people-to-people. That’s what I enjoy,&uot; Crumpton said.

That’s just what he was doing one Saturday in the church parking lot &045; going people to people &045; when he met Carole, his future bride.

She and her father came by from another church, selling doughnuts.

Crumpton served one year at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Birmingham.

&uot;But, really,&uot; he said, &uot;I served as pastor because Rev. Harry Kirkley was called to active duty during the Berlin Crisis and he only got to come home once during that entire time.&uot;

Philadelphia Baptist recognized the need to begin mission work in an area south of Birmingham that had begun to show signs of significant population growth &045; the area now known as Hoover.

The church purchased property on Patton Chapel Road and began holding services at Hillside Kindergarten in Vestavia.

For a while, &uot;Brother Wayne&uot; alternated between the two locations, preaching at the mission during the Sunday school hour at Philadelphia, then traveling to Philadelphia to preach during its regular worship hour.

Then when Rev. Kirkley returned home from his active duty assignment,

Crumpton assumed the full-time pastorate at the newly chartered Green Valley Baptist Church, and served the congregation there for 15 years.

While serving at Green Valley, Crumpton and his wife became parents, experiencing great joy amid trying times and heartache.

Their son, Scotty, at age 1, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After undergoing surgery, he lived with severe handicaps until the age of 3. But, Crumpton said, their deep personal loss at the passing of their son only strengthened the couple’s faith.

Through the years, their testimony has encouraged others to remain faithful despite their circumstances in life.

Under his leadership, Green Valley’s membership grew steadily as development in the surrounding area mushroomed.

In response, the church completed five building programs, including the first multi-purpose building, followed by a sanctuary, two educational buildings and a gymnasium.

&uot;Brother Wayne&uot; also continued his educational pursuits while at Green Valley, earning his master’s degree in divinity from New Orleans Seminary in 1965.

He produced a Project in Ministry on handling grief within the church to receive his doctorate degree from New Orleans Seminary in 1978.

The Crumpton family spent three years at Old Spanish Fort Baptist Church in Fairhope, where he was instrumental in re-directing a stalled building program, resulting in the completion of a new sanctuary.

When First Baptist of Alabaster called him as its pastor on Sept. 19, 1980, Crumpton stepped right into an existing building program.

Recognizing that the planned sanctuary was much too small to meet projections for even short-term growth, he immediately encouraged the church to build a bigger building.

He was correct. Alabaster soon became the fastest growing city in the southeast.

The &uot;people-to-people&uot; approach he had learned from Rev. Wells worked,

he said, and as membership grew to numbers nearing 2,000, the church voted to go to two worship services, and later moved to two Sunday school hours.

The church’s radio and videotape ministries have also been helpful in meeting the needs of those who are home-bound or in the hospital, Crumpton said.

Under &uot;Brother Wayne’s&uot; leadership, FBC has built a sanctuary, two educational buildings, a family life center and choir suite and an office suite as well as renovating the old sanctuary into a fellowship hall and adult classrooms.

Land was purchased for a future mission work, and property near the church is being purchased for future expansion of the existing campus.

More recently, the existing sanctuary has been renovated and redecorated adding a new sound and projection system and an orchestra area for the church’s growing music program.

The Carole Crumpton Prayer Room, dedicated to the memory of Crumpton’s wife who lost her battle with cancer in December 1986, is one place on the busy campus where members and visitors can find a quiet moment alone with God.

Crumpton served as president of the Birmingham Pastor’s Conference and president of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Alumni for the state of Alabama during 1974-75.

He served on the state executive board and as moderator for the Shelby Baptist Association. He also served on the Alabama State Board of Missions from 1987-1989.

He currently serves on ALCAP’s board of directors.

Looking back over his 47 years in the ministry, he said: &uot;Probably the funniest thing that ever happened was when I baptized for the first time.

&uot;One little boy, who was about 6 or 7 years old, came into the water and started swimming. I had to catch him to baptize him.&uot;

Crumpton said he wishes to be remembered for his faith.

&uot;That I was faithful. That I never asked people to do more than I was willing to do,&uot; he said.

His plans for retirement are varied.

&uot;I hope to be able to relax a little bit &045; maybe play a little golf, do a little fishing; then, just sit back and see what happens next.&uot;

As far as future ministry plans, &uot;I’ve just put all that in God’s hands, but I would like to be able to do some supply preaching, maybe teach a Bible study once in a while, things like that &045; maybe even take a little mission church somewhere.&uot;

The Crumptons have two sons, Jeff of Maylene and Clay of Alabaster. Jeff, and his wife, Ashley, have three daughters,

Brittany and twins, Lana and Caroline