By Ashley Perham
Baptist & Reflector intern
BROWNSVILLE — Brownsville Baptist Church, Brownsville, has had only two pastors in the last 60 years: H. K. Sorrell and Bob Connerley, who is celebrating 30 years at the church at the end of the month.
“I don’t know how much that says about him and me, but it says a lot about the people here that they would put up with two guys for 60 years,” he said. “That’s kind of unusual.”
Connerley, who is also a member of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, has also served as pastor of churches in Mississippi and Arkansas. He was called into the ministry as a senior in high school.
“As I was contemplating my graduation and what I wanted to do, I began to pray about it, as I’d been advised by some of my Sunday School teachers,” he said. “The Lord just began to speak to me and call me into the ministry.”
One of his favorite memories of the past 30 years at Brownsville Baptist has been working with Life Action Ministries, a revival ministry focused on spiritual renewal.
“We’ve had about three or four revivals with them, and those were some of the real highlights of the time I’ve had here,” he said.
Connerley said the mission emphasis of Brownsville Baptist has been a joy to be a part of.
“Our church has always been in the Top 100 in giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for the Southern Baptist Convention,” he said. “We’ve had a heritage of a lot of missionaries who have been connected to our church or come out of our church.”
Pastoring for 30 years can have challenges, Connerley said, such as coming up with a sermon every week. “It’s always a challenge every week to come up with a fresh new message for people, especially after you’ve been somewhere 30 years. They’ve probably heard everything you’ve got to say,” he said.
Along with pastoring, Connerley is serving in his second term as a member of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. He said he really enjoys getting to fellowship and meet with pastors from across the state.
“Our state is so long and wide and divided into three segments that sometimes in West Tennessee, you’re isolated from East and Middle Tennessee,” he said.
“Getting to know more of the pastors and Baptist leaders across the state has been a great joy to me,” he added.
Connerley said he is not retiring yet, and next year, Brownsville Baptist will get to continue its streak of only having two pastors since 1959. B&R