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Twelfth Streetís Carlisle now pastor of pastor who baptized him therecomment (0)

August 7, 2008

By Megan Norris Jones

Craig Carlisle was a sixth-grader at Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Gadsden, when his pastor, Troy Morrison, led him to Christ.

In February, Carlisle became pastor of Twelfth Street Baptist, where Morrison is now an active member and pastor emeritus. The two men have come a long way together.

“Brother Morrison has been a part of every major decision in my life,” Carlisle said.

In fact, after Morrison led him to Christ, he also baptized him; was part of his ordination; married Carlisle and his wife, Tammy; and was influential in his decision to return to the Etowah Baptist Association church as pastor.
“He’s a giant in my book,” Carlisle said of Morrison.

Carlisle spent his childhood living one block from the church and visiting back and forth at the Morrisons’ house, as their son Mark became one of his best friends. Morrison left Twelfth Street to become director of church-minister relations and then executive secretary of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) after Carlisle was already in seminary.

During that time, Carlisle finished seminary and served first as pastor of Munford Baptist Church in Coosa River Baptist Association and then as pastor of Central Park Baptist Church, Decatur, in Morgan Baptist Association for 16 years. Throughout that time, he maintained his relationship with Morrison and often turned to him for wisdom and advice.

Morrison actually made the initial call asking Carlisle to submit his resumé for the position of pastor of Twelfth Street. “I couldn’t recommend anyone more highly than Craig Carlisle,” he said.

At first, Carlisle had reservations about returning to his old church after so many years. In the end, however, he said accepting the job as pastor was something he felt called to do.

“This church invested a lot in me,” Carlisle said. “To be able to come back to them is one of the most humbling honors a pastor can have.”

Morrison returned to Gadsden and Twelfth Street after retiring from the SBOM.

In addition to his former pastor, Carlisle also has his former Sunday School teachers and friends from his youth group in his congregation.

“They’ve equipped me to be their pastor,” he said. “We did not realize at the time that was part of God’s plan.”

Carlisle sees his familiarity with the church as a blessing. He already knew the church leadership and said the transition has been easier because they have an already-established trust.

Of the seven-member pastor search committee, he knew four members — one of whom introduced him to his wife.

During Carlisle’s second week back at Twelfth Street, Morrison came to his office for a visit.

Sitting on the pastor’s side of the desk was a surreal experience for Carlisle.

“It was just an awesome experience to be sitting where he sat while I was growing up,” he said.

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