Baptist Times article 2007
Introduction by Dave Hardy Interviewer :
I have often said: “When it comes to friendships, I am the richest man in the world.” You may feel the same with your friends. Sometimes, one word adequately summarizes the demeanor of a friend. I might say he is adventurous, humorous, astute or reserved. Dale Bigham, Pastor of Arden Road Baptist Church in Amarillo, TX, has many qualities, but mostly, when I am describing him to someone else, the word gracious is first on my list. And all who know him would agree. We do well to know such men.—Bro. Dave Hardy
Interview Dale Bigham
Q: Tell us about your childhood, where you were born, your family, church, hobbies, etc.
A: I was born in Abilene, TX, the second of five children to Ed and Vada Bigham. Dad surrendered to the ministry shortly after my birth, so we were raised in a preacher’s home. Dad successfully pastored several churches in Texas and Missouri and, at age 87, pastors Bradshaw Baptist in Bradshaw, TX. Granddad was a preacher as well and pastored Shep Baptist in Shep, TX, until Grandmother passed away. When she passed away, he resigned and in a few years remarried. He was asked if he would fill in at Burkett Baptist until they could find a Pastor. He filled in for 17 years. His last Sunday he experienced a stroke while preaching. His text that morning was Revelation 14:13, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Not a bad way for a preacher to go! I became the Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in 1981 and, after five years, we built and relocated, changing the name to Arden Road Baptist.
Q: What about the circumstances surrounding your salvation experience and your call to the ministry?
A: I walked the aisle for salvation as a small boy and was baptized. Through my teen years I had much doubt of my salvation. One night in church a few years after our son was born, Bro. Ival Robinson preached about God being willing to burn our wheat fields to get our attention. I felt the Lord tell me that my wheat field was my son sitting between my wife and me. That began the process of God calling me and I soon surrendered to the ministry. I secretly and proudly continued to doubt my salvation all through Bible College and through two staff positions and even until the sixth year of my pastorate at Arden Road Baptist. I had a preacher friend named Buck Hatfield from Snyder, TX. Buck was the kind of friend who could know the worst about you and still love you and be your friend. I purposed to invite him for a revival meeting and, while he was here, tell him of my doubts. In that conversation he asked, “Dale, are you willing to gamble eternity on what you did as a child?” My answer was without question, No! I did not remember what I did as a child. So, I saw myself as a sinner, bowed my head and called upon the Lord to save me. I went forward that night of the revival and told the folks what I had done. I resigned as pastor and presented myself for baptism. The Church had a business meeting and accepted my profession of salvation, request for baptism and while I was dressing after being baptized they called me as their pastor. I can honestly say that I have not had one doubt about my salvation since that night.
Q: Where and what kind of training did you have for the ministry?
A: I did a couple of summer internships with Bro. Ival Robinson at Temple Baptist in Marshfield, MO, while attending Baptist Bible College. I graduated in 1978 and worked for my dad for 21/2 years at Central Baptist Church in Coleman, TX, then for 11/2 years at Broadway Baptist Church in Sweetwater, TX.
Q: Who were the most influential people in your spiritual growth?
A: I would say my parents mostly. My Uncle Ted Bigham, a school teacher in Snyder, TX, let me live with him for a while and had a good influence on me. Buck Hatfield, who is with the Lord now, Ival Robinson, Ray Brinson, Jim and Phyllis Childress all invested a lot of time in us.
Q: How and where did you and Janet meet, how many children do you have, how long have you been married?
A: Janet and I met when we both worked at a truck stop on Interstate 44 between Springfield and St. Louis, MO. The truck stop was called “The Garbage Can Café.” Janet worked in the kitchen and I worked in the service station. We have been married 41 years. We have 3 children; our son is fulfilling his calling in the Drug Enforcement Administration in Afghanistan; our second child is fulfilling her calling in the medical field and teaching at WTAMU; and our third child is still trying to discern her calling. At last count, we have nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Pastor Marvin Carson
Q: How did your call to Arden Road Baptist come about and what are some highlights of your time there?
A: I was working at Broadway Baptist in Sweetwater and our pastor sent us to a fellowship meeting in Amarillo. It was at that meeting I heard of the Grace Baptist Church that was without a pastor and something in my heart impressed me to contact them about candidating. The highlights of the ministry here have been the length of time the Lord has enabled us to stay, the folks the Lord has called to ministry from our church, the staff pastors I have been privileged to labor with and the missions program the Lord has enabled.
Q: What word of advice would you have for your fellow pastors?
A: There are no churches without problems, but not every problem calls for a stick of dynamite. Some call for someone who will wade in amongst them and love them to the Lord and to the right. When that does not work, we still have the option of outliving them. Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.