Records Broken

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

In 1972 I moved to Montgomery to become the pastor of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church.  That same year Gary Burton, 11 years younger than I, came to Montgomery to become pastor of the Pintlala Baptist Church.  Gary was still a seminary student in New Orleans.  Pintlala Baptist was only 10 years old.

This year Gary Burton is celebrating his 40th anniversary as the pastor of Pintlala.  He has given remarkable leadership in this “country church.”  It has continued to grow and be influential in Montgomery County.

I have always admired Gary and we have been good friends.  He referred to my church as being Pintlala East and I’ve called his church Frazer South.  

Gary is probably going to set records for long term tenure in the same Baptist Church.  I understand that he now ranks fifth in number of years served in the same church.  I really expect him to serve several more years and I am sure will wind up in first place and break all records!

The real records that Gary Burton has broken have been in terms of his witness and commitment to Jesus Christ.  He had many opportunities to go to bigger, more influential churches.  He has chosen to stay in the Hope Hull community and make his church a force in that community.  He has done that.

As you might know he has had two Presidents of the United States attend his church.  Of course, having a church member like Ray Scott, the founder of BASS, and owner of one of the finest bass fishing areas in the country, helped get both President George W. Bush and President George H. W. Bush to Pintlala.  I could tell you some funny stories about that.

I attended his 40th celebration.  He had different members of his family participate in special music, prayers, etc.  The congregation sang his favorite hymn.  It is not the most familiar hymn but it has a trememdous message that expresses Gary’s faith.  Here is one verse and chorus:

My faith has found a resting place, Not in device or creed; I trust the ever living One, His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument, I need no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died, And that He died for me.

Gary has been a trememdously progressive leader in our community.  He has never shied away from taking strong stands.  He has been willing to try things that are different.

While his ministry has withstood a lot of huge challenges and overcome a lot of obstacles, he has been brave enough to invite me to come down and preach again at his church.  He survived my other visists.  I hope he can survive this one!  He may break the record for having a Methodist in his pulpit!

God is looking for people to break records worth breaking!

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