Reverend Lawrence Baldridge has impacted his community through his service to others and has truly walked the Purpose Road. He received an associate’s from Caney Junior College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he met his wife, Martha. Later in life, he earned master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville in social work and community development. His education equipped him to be both a strong preacher of the gospel and a leader who could spark the educational and economic improvements that were needed in the community.
He began serving as pastor for Caney Baptist Church in 1964. While the average tenure of pastors nationally is 3 to 4 years, Reverend Baldridge has already devoted 54 years of service to the small town of Pippa Passes. Throughout each decade he has made an impact and he continues to do so. Reverend Baldridge’s faithfulness and the strong bonds he creates within the church and community has drawn people not only from Pippa Passes but from the surrounding communities to his church. He has even been called a “true mountain renaissance man” due to his heavy involvement in community development.
Reverend Baldridge has had a major influence on the community by preaching but also by starting community outreach programs. He assisted with establishing the local Head Start program, which gives children a foundation for success in school, as well as the Senior Citizens Program that provides care for the elderly. During the summer, he coordinates with mission groups who come from across the nation to build homes and churches for those in the area who are in need. Reverend Baldridge has also taught at both The June Buchanan School and Alice Lloyd College. With this prolonged involvement on the ALC campus, he created a student Christian ministry that has evolved into the current Revive Student Ministries. Amongst all of this, he has taken time to participate in various international missions going to places such as Romania, Brazil, and Mexico.
Although Reverend Baldridge originally had plans of only staying in Pippa Passes for two years he and his wife quickly realized that God had plans for them to stay and make a difference in the lives of others. It is because of people like Reverend Baldridge that Alice Lloyd said, “The leaders are here.”
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