Person of the Week: Bro. Grady CrowellBy BRITTNEY MANGUM,
Anyone who meets Bro. Grady Crowell can’t help but notice the genuine joy that radiates from him.
Bro. Grady was born and raised in Winston County in 1936 and was born again at Murphy Creek Baptist Church in 1949. He felt the call to the ministry in 1957. He accepted the call and served as the pastor of Crystal Ridge Baptist and West End Baptist Churches and was interim past of Evergreen Baptist Church in Winston County from May 1959 until August 1963.
It was in June of 1963 that Bro. Grady married the love of his life, Martha Ann. His new wife happily went with him wherever he felt the call to go. He served as pastor of Briel Avenue in Natchez from 1964-1966 and then served at two churches in Alabama and three churches in Ohio from 1966-1979.
It wasn’t until December of 1979 that Clarke County was introduced to Bro. Grady and able to experience the intense love and compassion he has for his community. When he first started as Associational Missions Director of Clarke County, he was not only the missions director in Clarke County, though.
“For the first 25 months, I worked for both Clarke and Wayne Counties,” stated Bro. Grady.
Eventually Wayne County created an independent association, and Bro. Grady was only in charge of Clarke County. While he was director, he had the chance to go to every house in the county that was built at the time and hand out tracts to the residents.
“One of the delights of my life is sharing gospel tracts,” said Bro. Grady.
In fact, Bro. Grady goes to the laundromat every day and will still hand out tracts to everyone he sees.
His servant’s heart has always been to help out as many of the churches in the association as he could, especially the smaller churches that were struggling. Although he and his wife are members of First Baptist Church, they would usually send their tithe money to various smaller churches in the county to help them with any of their needs. He would also help the churches in the community by filling in and preaching at times—even if no one showed up to hear the message.
“One time I went to preach at a small church out in the country, and no one showed up,” recalled Bro. Grady. “I just preached to the empty pews and then put my tithe in the offering plate before leaving to go home.”
In December 2017, Bro. Grady officially retired from his position, but he has not stopped serving yet.
“I go to the jail ministry usually once a week at about two in the afternoon,” said Bro. Grady. “I was also volunteer chaplain at Watkins Hospital and still go and visit with everyone now.”
Unfortunately, Bro. Grady was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in December of 2018, and he has been having to work through the side effects of the disease. Although he does not have any tremors, he does struggle to walk more now because of how stiff it makes his legs feel.
“My greatest fear and struggle right now is having a fear of falling,” stated Bro. Grady. “My legs fill so stiff when I walk now, and I don’t want to fall.”
Despite the challenge he faces every day, Bro. Grady does not allow the fear of falling to affect his joy in life, and he still does whatever he can to carry out what he loves to do the most.
“My joy in life – spiritual joy – is sharing Jesus with others with a goal of leading them to faith in Christ if they will accept Him,” exclaimed Bro. Grady. “If they won’t, then I will at least sow the seed. They will go to Heaven if they trust Jesus and get saved.”
Bro. Grady has so much joy in winning others to Christ that his goal in life is to be able to win somebody to Christ on the day he dies.
At the beginning of 2020, Bro. Grady and Martha Ann will be moving away to live closer to their daughter, Naomi. Although Clarke County will definitely miss seeing him, it can be guaranteed that he will still be spreading joy and gospel to everyone he meets around his new home.