Minister of Music: Al Ray Taylor. Serving Since February 1997
I was born in Monticello, Arkansas and grew up in Wilmar, Arkansas. I graduated from Wilmar High School in 1970. I began my college career at UAM and graduated with a BA degree in music education in 1977.
My responsibilities here at 2nd include selecting music for choirs and other vocal and instrumental ensembles and rehearsing these groups; design worship services and leading them.
I became a believer in 1972 at the age of 19. A good friend came to know Christ and as I saw the immediate change in his life, I came under deep conviction. God put another wonderful Christian in my life shortly after that, while I worked at the Burlington Spinning Mill in Monticello. He had just returned from the Vietnam War and didn’t share war stories with me, he shared Christ.
I like John Wayne movies. I have two favorite hymns: “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” and “It Is Well with My Soul.” I like a good old steak and potato. Psalms is my favorite book of the Bible, and I like any books about hymn stories. I like to bow hunt, fish, and play golf. I also enjoy watching the Razorbacks and the St. Louis Cardinals.
I married Carrie Kirchman in 1976. Carrie teaches choral music at the Dover Junior & High School. She is a devout Christian and the love of my life. We have two beautiful and talented daughters. Maggie, who graduated from OBU (2011) with a Music Education degree and now is the choral director at Cabot High School. Mollie is an elementary school teacher in the Benton school district. They are both Jesus followers and bring much joy to Carrie and me.
If I could have any five people dine with me today, I would invite Billy Graham, John Wayne, Albert Pujols, Arnold Palmer, and my grandfather Alton Grafton who died when I was a baby. I inherited his 1930’s vintage guitar. He was a pipeline worker and a volunteer music director at a church in lower Drew County.
My prayer for 2nd is that we recognize that God must be the first priority of our church, and in particular our worship. I believe when that takes place, evangelism, discipleship and ministry will abound!
Minister of Students & Families: Jonathan Whitlock
Serving since June 2009.
I was born in Kennett, Missouri. On Sunday night, January 3, 1982, at around 8:30 p.m. (I’m a math major so numbers are easy for me to remember), I knelt beside my parents’ bed with my dad gave my life to Christ. God had been taking me through a process of understanding sin and my need for a Savior. I grew up knowing right from wrong. However, I began to realize that a relationship with God and going to heaven when I died was not based upon how good or bad that I had been. It was based upon God’s grace and mercy in the form of His Son, Jesus, dying on the cross for my sin and my response to His sacrifice. On this night after we had gotten home from church, my brother, Tim, asked me if I wanted to become Christian, and I did. So, we waited for dad to get home from church. I knelt with him and confessed my sin, my need for a Savior, and my desire to make Jesus Lord of my life.
I married Michelle Suzanne Bailey on May 31, 1997. She is an incredible compliment to me, and God blessed me greatly with such a wonderful wife. We have two kids: Erica and Ethan. To Michelle’s dismay, they have more of my personality. Life is definitely interesting for her with the three of us.
Some favorite movies include Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail, Princess Bride, What About Bob?, the Bourne Movies, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the Narnia movies. I love music and some of my favorites are: US, Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Hillsong United, and Phil Wickham. My favorite authors are, God, Ravi Zacharias, Tim Kelley, Charles Stanley, Francis Chan, Lee Strobel, Tullian Tchividjian, and C.S. Lewis. My favorite books of the Bible are Ecclesiastes and James. Favorite passages are 2 Kings 2:23-24, Psalm 51, Proverbs 3:5-8, Matthew 6:33, John 17:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, and 2 Peter 1:3-11.
If I could invite 5 people dead or alive to our house for dinner, I would invite Jesus and any four lost people. I would want to introduce these four to the man that changed my life and could change theirs too.
My prayer for 2nd is Ephesians 3:14-21: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from who every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Office Manager/Financial Secretary: Teresa Holland. Serving since August 1993.
I was born in Russellville, Arkansas. I became a Christian in June 1991. My oldest son, then 5, was diagnosed with tick fever in the spring of 1991. God used that illness to speak to me about life. That He alone is the giver and sustainer of all life. He has proved Himself faithful over and over again.
My life verse is Romans 5:8. I run for exercise because I LOVE nearly all food (my greatest weakness). I enjoy all sorts of music, and when I get to heaven I’m gonna sing like Becca and play guitar like nobody’s business!
My husband and I were married October 20, 1984. We have two adult sons, one lives in the Little Rock with his wife and three boys and one girl and the other son, his wife and their son live Texas.
My prayer for 2nd is Romans 15:5 & 6.