Bobby Britt celebrates life, 50 years of ministrycomment (0)
January 1, 2004
By Sandra Bearden
“I am the most God-blessed man who ever lived,” Bobby Britt said recently. Few would want to contradict him.
Britt had cause to celebrate Nov. 21, when family and close friends commemorated his 50 years in the ministry. With the 50-year milestone, they were also celebrating the life he came close to losing two years ago.
The well-known pastor-evangelist, who has served at several Alabama churches as well as preached at revivals throughout the world, received plaques, ribbing and congratulations from those attending a good-natured “roasting” at First Baptist Church, Trussville.
Among those doing the roasting were longtime friend and fellow Evangelist Junior Hill and First, Trussville, Pastor Gary Hollingsworth.
Another important guest was Ashley Fisher from Brandon, Miss., a former member of First, Trussville.
Fisher, a total stranger to Britt three years ago, has played a pivotal role in his life.
Hollingsworth had asked Britt to preach at a Sunday night service when Ashley Fisher first saw him. By this time, Britt had lost 60 pounds and was so weak that he couldn’t stand at the pulpit. Instead, he sat. At a singles prayer meeting that night, Fisher learned that “the sick-looking preacher” needed a kidney transplant. Ashley prayed for Britt. The next day, she called Carolyn Britt to get more information.
“I went to UAB and was tested,” Fisher recalled. “The blood matched. The tissue matched. Everything matched. On Valentine’s Day 2001 I took Bobby a box of cookies and told him God was leading me to donate a kidney to him.”
Some delays occurred, and it was January 2002 before doctors were able to schedule surgery. Ashley recuperated quickly as healthy young people do.
It took Britt longer, and for a year he had infections and other complications.
But nearly two years later, he feels good and has resumed preaching — this time as interim pastor at Cropwell Baptist Church, near Pell City. He and Carolyn live in Trussville, close to sons Danny, Steve and Barry, their wives and children. Danny works in auto sales. Steve is the pastor of Seventh Street Baptist Church, Cullman, and Barry is pastor of Spring Valley Baptist Church in St. Clair County.
Further away is Ashley Fisher, who has become like a daughter to the Britts.
She has moved back to her home state, where she works for Mississippi Baptist Health System. But she was present for the celebration.
“I was completely surprised by the party,” Britt said. “Although I was called to preach in November 1953, I didn’t deliver my first sermon until the March 1954. So the March date was the one I planned to celebrate.”
Britt preached at youth revivals throughout his undergraduate years at Howard College (now Samford University), while also serving as pastor at Maytown Baptist Church. He continued as an evangelist while at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
With a schedule of 18–20 revivals a year, he was away from class one week out of four.
On such occasions professors allowed his wife Carolyn, whom he had married in 1957, to attend class and take notes.
After seminary, Carolyn returned to Birmingham to establish a home base with the couple’s three boys, while Britt preached the gospel in locations from Miami to California. After 27 years as an evangelist, Britt returned home to become pastor of Hilldale Baptist Church, Birmingham, where he served seven years.
Slowed by bad health
Then he returned to evangelism for six years, preaching revivals until eye problems made him almost legally blind.
“I served as pastor of Fourth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham for five years,” recalled Britt.
He had retired from Fourth Avenue to enter full-time evangelism shortly before the kidney problems began.
“Because I had to go on dialysis, I remained in the Birmingham area to hold revivals and serve interim pastorates at Agape and Palmerdale Baptist Churches,” he said.
“For me, this time of life is like the water Jesus turned into wine during the wedding at Cana,” said Britt. “He saved the best for last. The wonderful gift Ashley gave me and my long illness have made me far more grateful for life. Also, I have more appreciation every day for family and friends.
“Most of all, this event shows how God’s will is pre-eminent. He has a unique plan for every person and He knows what it takes to prepare everyone for their particular ministry.”