Forty-Five Years A Preacher's Kid

Steve Higginbotham

It was December 22, 1964, when my family moved to Chester, West Virginia. It was on this date that my dad began preaching for the Virginia Avenue congregation, and forty-five years later, he continues to preach for this congregation. I do not think there are many men who have sustained a working relationship with a congregation as long as my dad has with the Chester congregation. I am sure that congregations, elders, and preachers could learn much from his experience. 

In this issue of West Virginia Christian, Dad has shared a few of his thoughts after working with the congregation in Chester for forty-five years. I also thought it might be interesting to share some of my thoughts on Dad’s 45 years of preaching at Chester, but from a different perspective. I would like to share some reflections and memories of being a “preacher’s kid” during those forty-five years.

I remember folding church bulletins on TV trays every Saturday night (and fighting with my sister over who had to fold the most).

I remember staying up late at night, anxiously anticipating my dad's return after being away in a two-week or ten-day gospel meeting. 

I remember being the last to leave the church building and turning out all the lights and locking up the building.

I remember transients knocking on our door, because we lived next to the church building, and being given something to drink and eat by my mom.

I remember going with my dad as he conducted Bible studies with Jule Miller filmstrips and sometimes simply sitting around a table with open Bibles.

I remember waking up to Dad's “get psyched up” music (as I called it) every Sunday morning.

I remember the evolution of sermon preparation (from chalkboards, to "sheet sermons," to overhead projectors, and now to Powerpoint presentations). 

I remember visiting scores of funeral homes and from a distance staring at bodies in caskets and imagining I could see them breathing.

In addition, I was the only four-year-old that I knew of who knew how to tie a double Windsor knot (okay, maybe an exaggeration).

Today I hear several angry and resentful young adults who said they were neglected because their fathers were preachers. The fact that my sister and I have no such resentment must be an indication of the kind of parents we had. They successfully balanced their responsibilities to their family as well as to the church. Not only have my mom and dad successfully sustained a long-term relationship with the church at Chester, they have also managed to sustain a successful relationship with their children.

I am thankful for my mom and dad and what they have accomplished together. I've never been ashamed of being a “preacher's kid.” Do I have any regrets? Maybe a handful, but they had nothing to do with my being a “preacher's kid.” Mostly, they involved my misbehavior and the little paddle my parents kept handy in the hall closet.

Mom, Dad, thanks for the years of service you have rendered in the Lord’s kingdom, and in particular at Chester, and thanks for the love and sacrifice you have invested in my sister and me. We are thankful for you. –P.O. Box 503, Glasgow, KY 42142.

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