By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
HOLDEN, La. (LBM) – Russell Hinson served for 32 years as a pastor before his Dec. 31, 2022, retirement, but the last seven produced some of his most cherished memories when He saw God move in mighty ways at First Baptist Church, Holden.
“It’s been a good seven years. I was able to be a part of God’s work and what He is doing here,” Hinson told the Baptist Message. “Some people may think because we are a small church, God is not going to do that much. Through the Lord, I have challenged my folks there is nothing too difficult for the Lord. It doesn’t matter if we’re small or don’t have a lot of money. We know the one who owns the cattle of a thousand hills and He can accomplish what He wants. We can trust God and He can and will do mighty things.”
In 2022, Hinson was named a Louisiana Baptist Convention Exemplary Bi-vocational Pastor of the Year for his dedication to ministry.
Born in Amite, Hinson gave his heart to Christ as a 22-year-old during a conversation in his home with Ferrell McMorris, who at the time was pastor of Magnolia Baptist Church, Holden.
Ten years later, Hinson felt called to the ministry but believed he was inadequate to serve as a pastor because of a speech impediment.
Still, the Holy Spirit continued to remind him of that call to ministry and used him to serve as the director of both the Royal Ambassadors program and the Sunday school department at Magnolia Baptist. During a worship service there in 1990, he heard a message based on Isaiah 6:1-8. At that moment, Hinson finally surrendered to God’s call to preach the Gospel.
Shortly afterward he was licensed to the Gospel ministry, and he began to fill pulpits of area churches.
In 1991, Hinson enrolled at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and began his first pastorate at Tickfaw Baptist Church, Antioch.
He later was pastor of Agape Baptist Church, Holden (1993-1997), Beech Ridge Baptist Church, Walker (1998-2012), Chesbrough Baptist Church, Kentwood (2012-2015) and most recently FBC Holden (2015-2022).
While at FBC Holden, Hinson saw God provide during one of the two historic Louisiana floods during 2016. During August that year, water damaged the interior of their facilities.
Lacking flood insurance, Hinson asked members to set aside $20,000 in the budget to repair the kitchen and two bathrooms. Hinson, who has continued to work as a plumber throughout his ministry, told the church he could use his skillsets to begin work on the kitchen and bathrooms and God would provide the remaining funds to repair the worship center, education space and parsonage.
“They agreed to that,” Hinson said. “I told them I didn’t know how or where the money would come from or when it would come. But I told them this is God’s place and this is God’s house. Somehow, He would send funds in here to do all of this … after they stepped out in faith.”
Two weeks later, Samaritan’s Purse contacted Hinson about applying for a grant to cover the repairs. After an assessment, several weeks passed until the organization informed Hinson that they were the recipients of an $80,800 grant to restore their facilities.
“It was amazing to me what transpired,” Hinson said. “Our people understood if you are obedient to the Lord and if you step out on faith there is no telling what He will do.”
Though he no longer serves in full-time ministry, Hinson will continue to serve God as a supply pastor and missions volunteer. He also plans to spend more time with his wife, Lisa, and two grown sons, Curt and Joshua.
“I’m thankful the Lord has allowed me to be a part of His work,” Hinson said. “Receiving the award as a bi-vocational pastor of the year was a tremendous honor. For whatever reason, you sometimes get that feeling that you don’t matter. But upon receiving the award it really touched our hearts. I pray that the churches I have pastored continue to reach others with the Gospel.”