A volunteer team from our home team in Dry Creek, Louisiana arrives today. Pray for Pastor Charlie Bailey, Ken Farmer, and Ethan Bossier as God uses them in northern Uganda among the South Sudanese refugees.
“Bro. Henry, do you know who Indiana Jones is?”
“No. Does he live in Dry Creek?”
-Actual transcript of conversation between Charlie Bailey and Henry Hebert August 2012
He’s my pastor.
Which means I can make fun of him.
I’m talking about Charlie Bailey.
My pastor in Dry Creek, Louisiana.
Whom I love like a son.
Charlie Bailey on earlier African trip
Today, DeDe and I will stand at the entrance to Entebbe Airport and await their arrival.
Pastor Charlie Bailey.
And Ethan Bossier.
It’s always a surreal but wonderful moment to see familiar faces emerging from immigration.
The following is my second favorite story about Charlie Bailey.
In Summer 2011, our pastor Benjie Loyd resigned to take a church in Florida, closer to he and his wife’s families.
Benjie was only our pastor for four years but left a real mark on our congregation. He loved and preached the Word of God. An avid reader, he was always challenging us to dig, learn, and read.
He also discipled Charlie Bailey. He and Charlie, who was our associate pastor and youth leader, were about the same age and made a good team.
With Benjie leaving, the question was, “Who will fill our pulpit?”
In our church, the deacons are assigned the responsibility of procuring speakers for each Sunday. This allows the Pastor Search Committee to keep its focus. For the third straight pastor change, I was Chairman of the Deacons. It’s a challenging position in the best of time. During times of uncertainty and change, it becomes tougher.
Bro. Benjie was in the midst of preaching through the Book of Acts. Our deacons asked Charlie to begin preaching each Sunday morning.
We told him to preach as God led him, but were thrilled when he said he’d like to continue in Acts.
* * *
As deacon chair, I asked our two staff members, Charlie and worship leader Aaron Watkins to join me for a weekly staff meeting.
The Sunday before Charlie would continue the Acts journey, we met at Aaron’s house. I love Aaron just like I do Charlie. They are both sons in the Lord to me.
They excitedly told of their plans for Sunday’s service. I should’ve smelled trouble when I spotted a fedora and whip on the table.
Charlie clued me in. “Bro. Curt, I thought it’d be great to catch everyone’s attention for beginning Paul’s second missionary journey.” He nodded at the whip. “What do you think about me coming out with the theme from Indiana Jones playing? We’ll have a map of Asia Minor on the video screen. ”
He was excited. “I’ll wear this hat and pop the whip.” He paused. “What do y’all think?”
Aaron, who was a co-conspirator on the plan, said, “I think it’ll be great.”
They both turned expectantly to me. “What about you, Brother Curt?”
“Let me think a little while on it.” I was already counting the folks who I knew would be offended by this and had used up all of my fingers and the toes on my left foot.
We had a wonderful staff meeting. I love young people with young and their fresh ideas. One of my goals is to never grow old in the heart, and I’ve found that is best accomplished by hanging around younger folks.
Our meeting was finished. Aaron walked us to the door.
At our trucks, I stopped Charlie. “Now, I would never throw cold water on any idea. I think the Indiana Jones routine is very creative but . . .”
Charlie scrunched his shoulders.
“I just think your first Sunday in the pulpit isn’t the day to come out cracking a whip with a hat.”
“You really think so?”
“I think it’s an little early in the game to be over the top.” I patted his shoulder. “But I think the theme song and map are great. Go for it.” I got in my truck. “I’m just not sure how many of the older members will recognize the song.”
I was a little nervous that Sunday. I wanted things to go so well for Charlie.
As he mounted the steps to the podium, Indiana Jones played through the sound system. The younger part of our church (those fifty and under) laughed out loud in recognition, especially when they saw the map with arrows describing Paul’s journey.
Our older folks, like my momma, looked around as if they’d been left out of a joke.
Charlie Bailey began. “We’ll be continuing with our study of Acts. Today we begin with Paul’s second missionary journey. It’s an exciting story. That’s why we had the Indiana Jones theme song playing.”
He stepped from behind the podium. “I wasn’t sure if all of you knew who Indiana Jones was. In fact, before the service started, I asked Bro. Henry Hebert if he knew who Indiana Jones was.”
“Bro. Henry replied, “No. But does he live here in Dry Creek?”
Our church likes to laugh. Charlie’s opening story brought the house down.
Henry Hebert is a semi-retired pastor who perfectly bridges the generations of our church. It was the right story for the right time.
And thus began the Charlie Bailey era at Dry Creek Baptist Church. Charlie is a great student of the Bible and he took us deep into the Word. It was a privilege to be on the Acts journey and the other studies that followed.
As our interim pastor, he led us through the challenges of being without a “full time pastor.” We watched him mature and handle some of the toughest problems any leader will face.
We stood with him in the smoldering ashes of a tragic house fire that took three precious member of our church family. He and our wonderful associate pastor John Gray, walked us as a church through the searing grief as we buried Patricia and her precious daughters, Maya and Nicole.
Within a year, our Pastor Search Committee recommended Charlie as our new pastor. The church resounded with a vote of 92 % in favor.