Hatcher resigns from Hephzibah

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The longest tenured pastor in the 150 year history of Hephzibah Baptist Church is moving on.

“I thought it was time for a change in leadership there…someone who can take the church to the next level,” said Pastor Don Hatcher, who resigned from the church on June 6.

“In any given situation most pastors are gifted to a certain level,” Hatcher explained.

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“When the church reaches that level, he needs to move on and allow someone else with different ministry gifts to take over.”

The senior pastor of 36 years would agree that the time he spent endowing his gifts to the church was time well spent.

“My entire tenure at Hephzibah was a very rewarding experience,” Hatcher said.

“It’s a great church and I enjoyed my 14 years and three months there.”

When Hatcher came to Hephzibah in the mid-nineties, it was a small country church out on Henderson Highway. Since then, the church has flourished.

“The church experienced phenomenal growth during those 14 years,” Hatcher said.

A new worship center was bought and has been paid for and 10 acres were added to the church’s estate. On the ten acres, an old house has been remodeled and put to use as a classroom and a barn on a hill has been converted to a youth activities center.

“During that time the people were open to trying new things, things that had never been done in Pike County,” Hatcher said.

Associate Pastor and Student Minister Jeremy Davis said while Hephzibah still has a country church atmosphere, he embraces the prosperity the congregation experienced under Hatcher.

“He led them through that period of growth and got them through to the next stage,” Davis said.

“Without him we wouldn’t even have a student environment.”

But Davis said the church will miss Hatcher’s dedication to the people of the congregation most of all.

“Whenever somebody was in the hospital, you’d better believe he’d be there,” said Davis.

“He was always good at visiting people and very supportive of the (church’s) staff.”

In Hatcher’s absence, Davis will serve as Hephzibah’s spiritual leader until the church calls a new pastor.

Hatcher plans on continuing to serve God and hopes to do so in the Troy community.

“I don’t plan to just retire and do nothing,” he said.

“I’m available to supply the pulpit in the absence of pastors.”

In fact, he has already agreed to fill in at Salem Baptist Church in Brundidge and serve at two revivals this summer.

“I’m also available for corporate chaplaincy,” Hatcher said.

“For years I’ve considered corporate chaplaincy to be a good area.”

He has experience in that capacity as well, having served as the corporate chaplain at Airtech Engineering and H & L Construction in Troy.

He also said he would be open to a permanent situation if the need and opportunity arose.

“If God makes available a full-time situation I’m certainly open to that,” he said.

“Whatever I do I want to stay in ministry. Basically, that’s all I know how to do. Whatever God opens up, I feel like he has a plan for me, I’m just waiting for his timing.”