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Griggs retiring after 45 years in ministrycomment (0)

January 18, 2001

By Kimberly Wine Henderson

The end of January will mark Roy Griggs’ retirement as pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Alabaster. His last sermon will be the same as the first sermon he preached in January of 1956, “Death: The Door to Heaven or Hell.” The sermon’s message is geared toward one of Griggs’ stated goals as a minister.

“The first goal of my ministry has been evangelism, to win people to Jesus, and the second to equip Christians for heaven, because ultimately the true church will reside in heaven,” Griggs said.

Griggs has previously served as associate pastor of East Tallassee Baptist Church, Tallassee, and in charge of River Road Baptist Mission and as pastor of First Baptist Church, Salem, in Tuskegee Lee Association; Pine Grove Baptist Church, Camp Hill; Northside Baptist Church, Opelika; First Baptist Church, Uvalda, Ga.; Shiloh Baptist Church, Hartford; First Baptist Church, Siluria, in Shelby Association and South Highland Baptist Church in Bessemer.

Griggs was 26 when he answered the call to preach in January 1956. He was already a husband and father. His wife, Dell, and two children, Judy and Ronald, were a constant source of support for Griggs. He describes his wife of 52 years as a powerful prayer warrior.

During times of difficulty, Griggs considered leaving the ministry, but he was faithful and persevered. His tests of faith only pointed him back to his calling and the One who called him.

Each of his pastorates brought unique joys and rewards to his ministry. He recalls fondly when he was pastor of two half-time churches — First, Salem, and Pine Grove Baptist Church — while he was earning a pastoral degree from Florida Baptist Theological College (now Baptist College of Florida).

With more than 40 years of experience in the ministry, Griggs has advice for young ministers.

First is to be sure of your calling. The second he learned in his first pastorate and has kept as a part of his life for the entirety of his ministry.

“Every day I pray ‘Lord lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil (Matt. 6:13) and may I be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove’ (Matt. 10:16),” Griggs said.

In his retirement Griggs hopes to travel to all his past churches and join them for worship. He also will be available for pulpit supply, revivals, Bible study and interim work.

These words from “The Pastor’s Study,” a gift from his wife, hang behind Griggs’ desk, a testament to Griggs’ ministry philosophy:

“Here you will always find a friend and counselor in time of need. He will not be surprised at your sins, nor will he judge you in them. But he always invites you to share with him the wisdom and love of God, the knowledge of forgiveness of sins and the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. You are always welcome.”

Grigg’s retirement celebration will be held Jan. 28, 2–4 p.m., in Southside’s fellowship hall. Members, former members and friends are invited.  

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