We are abundantly blessed to have Dale Bigham as our new pastor, and we are excited about what the Lord has in store for the future.
Dale and Janet Bigham were married in 1971, and the Lord has since blessed them with 3 children. Ten years after their marriage, in 1981, Pastor Bigham was called to pastor the Grace Baptist Church in Amarillo, TX. While the church was housed in a large building, the congregation was small, in decline, and unable to maintain the property as needed. Grace supported a small group of missionaries at a meager amount by today’s standards, and there were 12 adults in the only adult Sunday School class offered when they first arrived.
Sometime after being at Grace, the church relocated and was renamed Arden Road Baptist Church. In the years that God allowed him to pastor the church, Pastor Bigham watched as God blessed the ministry. The church grew from an average attendance of 93 in 1982 to a little over 500 each Sunday morning. Most importantly, over the 30 years of ministry at Arden Road, the Bighams were able to see souls saved, baptized, and added to the church. They were blessed to see numerous people surrender to full-time service, attend bible college and enter full-time ministry.
In September, 2015, after 34 years of pastoring the church, Pastor Bigham transitioned from pastor into “retirement.” The church was gracious enough to bestow upon him the title of Pastor Emeritus which means “earned his discharge.”
Upon retiring, it was his heart’s desire to help churches experiencing crises and in need of experienced pastoral leadership. While there were a few inquiries, nothing materialized. So for three and a half years, Pastor Bigham traveled and preached in many churches as an itinerant preacher sent out of Arden Road Baptist Church. However, the desire to provide experienced pastoral leadership to churches in crisis never left him.
With that desire still in his heart, he was contacted by Pastor Clifton Mizer who asked if he would have any Sundays open and the financial means to fill the pulpit of Craig County Baptist Church in Vinita, Oklahoma. This church, because of few people and building debt, did not have the means to pay the expenses involved in such an endeavor. Because of the generous financial provision of Arden Road Baptist, Pastor Bigham had the means, and by the providential working of the Lord, he had three consecutive Sundays available in February.
During those weeks, discussion began regarding an interim pastor to help the church through this difficult time. On Sunday, April 7th, the members of Craig County Baptist Church voted unanimously to ask Pastor Bigham to serve as the interim pastor until they are through their present crisis and a future pastor is found.