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Situation brings ‘unusual start’ for new FBC pastor

Dr. Ross Lankford arrived in Troy with 30 years of service in the church. Now, he is the new pastor at First Baptist Church in Troy.

Lankford comes to Troy after spending 14 years as an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Pensacola.

After talking with friends, Lankford heard about the opening in Troy and was immediately interested.

“A really good friend, who was the previous interim pastor, Lee Diamond, contacted me about the church,” Lankford said. “He got me connected with the pastor search team at the church and from day one it seemed like a good fit. We felt a calling to go there and everything fell into place.”

Lankford’s transition to Troy was anything but conventional. After arriving in Troy, Lankford and FBC Troy decided to stop gathering for their weekly worship service due to the COVID-19 situation.

“That was a very unusual start,” Lankford said. “We have tried to make the best of it. The people at the church have been very understanding. Our hearts grieve of course not being able to meet together. We look forward to the church being able to get back together.”

Even though he hasn’t been able to meet everybody and hold a service, Lankford has really enjoyed his time in Troy.

“We have very much enjoyed Troy so far in the time we have spent there,” Lankford said. “We are getting to know some of the people.”

Prior to his time in Pensacola, Lankford spent time in Fultondale. In all, he has been in the ministry for 30 years going to back to his time in college. After being the student minister at Fultondale, Lankford later went to seminary. After completing his time in seminary, Lankford got the opportunity to be the senior pastor for the first time at Fultondale First Baptist Church.

“I served that church for about eight years,” Lankford said. “I stayed there a total of 13 years before leaving in 2006.”

After leaving in 2006, Lankford landed in Pensacola, Florida where he became the associate pastor for 14 years.

After leaving Pensacola, Lankford admits it will be transition coming to a smaller city like Troy. But so far, he has enjoyed it.

“It will probably be a little bit of a transition, but as we visited Troy and spent some time there and even though it’s a smaller town, it’s very quaint and friendly,” Lankford said. “With the university being there at the center, it really draws a lot of attention and activity. That was a draw for us coming into town. The church itself was primarily our draw.”

Lankford comes to Pike County at a time when many churches are welcoming new pastors. Bush Baptist Church and Troy First Methodist Church both recently welcomed new pastors and St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church recently introduced a new priest.

“I have had one or two reach out to me via text,” Lankford said.

“It’s not been easy to try and get together, but I do plan on (reaching out). The more I get settled in there, I look forward to being able to connect with other ministers in town.”