Headlandís Concord Baptist pastor Rich retires comment (0)
December 6, 2012
By Joseph Rhea
James A. Rich retired from Concord Baptist Church, Headland, Nov. 18. He served a total of 16 years at the Judson Baptist Association church, but his two terms were 35 years apart.
Rich first served as a volunteer in the Colquitt County Prison in Moultrie, Ga., while studying at Norman Park Junior College in Norman Park, Ga. Rich first received a call to serve as pastor in 1958 and was called to serve Concord Baptist for the first time in 1960.
Rich left Concord after about five years. He ministered for a few years in Birmingham and then for more than 30 in Ohio and southeast Michigan, planting churches in both states.
After Rich decided to retire from his planting work, Concord Baptist called him to serve again as an interim preacher, said Marlin Miles, chairman of deacons for Concord Baptist.
“Then they just called him to be the preacher again,” Miles said. “He’s probably the most inspiring pastor I’ve ever been under.”
Judson Association director of missions George Thompson said of Rich, “He’s been described as a community pastor rather than just one of Concord.” Rich is known for visiting any members of the community who are hurting or in need.
“My main scripture is ‘the least of these,’” Rich said. “What’s important is the local church getting into the community to reach people who are hurting.”
The 74-year-old Rich said he felt God moving him toward focusing on prison ministry.
“I was a prison chaplain … before I accepted a pastorate,” Rich said. “It got in my blood.”
Rich plans to work with Ask, Seek, Knock Mentoring Outreach, Inc., a ministry that focuses on building one-on-one relationships with inmates for evangelism and encouragement. He will also supply preach if he is needed.