CORBIN— With a heart for both the church and the community Alex Lockridge has returned to First Baptist Church Corbin as senior pastor.
He’s only been back a week but he’s hit the ground running and is thrilled to be back—home.
Lockridge was previously the church’s youth minister for five years. After approximately two years away, spending time as pastor of First Baptist Morehead, Lockridge returned, replacing Austin Carty who accepted an offer from Boulevard Baptist Church in Anderson, South Carolina.
He spent a good amount of time growing up in Nashville, Tennessee before moving to Ohio. In Ohio he met his wife and the two of them moved and attended Western Kentucky University giving them their first set of Kentucky roots. But Lockridge will tell you it was when he took a position at First Baptist Church in Corbin as the associate minister of youth and children in 2012 that those Kentucky roots deepened and seeds of home were planted.
He served in that position for 5 years before taking a senior pastor position in Morehead. Loving the Corbin area and First Baptist Church in Corbin, he and his family kept theirs eyes here.
“We have a heart for this church,” said Lockridge. “We’re back home now.”
He and his wife Maria are both from cities much larger than Corbin but there’s something about the community here that has become home for their family of four.
“It’s the people, this became the home that we never thought it could,” said Lockridge. “It’s the people of the church and the people of the community. There a lot of wonderful people here who want to do right and want to do it together.”
For the church Lockridge sees a continuation of what already exists and also looks ahead for opportunities in the future.
“When folks think about who First Baptist Church is we them to know we’re going to help you,” said Lockridge. “And that’s the end of the story. We don’t care anything about who you might be, we’re going to help no matter what.”
Looking forward he wants the community to realize that the church can be a valuable asset and a necessary neighbor.
“We’re here for any community need,” added Lockridge. “We’re really reaching the folks who need us most but I want to reach the whole community.”
Lockridge talked some about the Mustard Seed Garden and the White Flag Ministry and how those ministries continue to evolve.
“The ministry that most people don’t see is the stuff that happens everyday,” said Lockridge. “When people come in and they talk with one of out ministers or our missionary and the figure out long term ways to solve their problems. That’s what excites me.”
While he is still getting settled back in the church and back in Corbin, he hasn’t had time to meet with leaders and members, but he doesn’t plan to start changing things—rather to just absorb what is happening and see where the opportunities are. At some point he would like to reevaluate the space and assets to set how to best serve the community.
He calls First Baptist Corbin home and a family of faith even while he was away serving elsewhere.
And Minister of Music and Worship Paul Sims is just as thrilled to have Lockridge back.
“In his first tenure here, Alex already possessed the attributes that make for a good minister: intelligence, compassion, wisdom, commitment, and empathy. His time in Morehead served to hone and augment those good qualities,” said Sims who called Lockridge the quintessential people person. “People are drawn to him, not only because he has a great personality, but because he is genuinely interested in them. He is a good fit for our church, and he will be a great asset to this community.”
For now First Baptist Church Corbin is not holding in person church services. Lockridge said he feels that is the best way to be a good neighbor to church members and to the community. They are continuing virtual worship, but Lockridge is looking forward to the time when the can gather safely again. Small worship and study groups are beginning to gather in large areas. Lockridge reminds us that the church isn't a building rather it's the people.
“In ways that I can’t describe I feel like I’ve come back home,” said Lockridge.