By Peggy Norris / Sun contributor
On July 2, Dr. Leonard Markham will begin his ministry at Fairfield Glade First Baptist Church. He and his wife, Debra, moved to the Glade this week from Hendersonville, TN where he served as senior pastor at Bluegrass Baptist Church. While in Hendersonville he led the church in many mission endeavors and meaningful ministries which used the gifts and talents of the congregation.
Debra taught art at Lakeside Park Elementary School in Hendersonville and sang in the church choir. She also served in ministry placement — helping people find a meaningful and effective place of service in the church.
Leonard was born in Knoxville, one of five boys and the son of a preacher. Leonard grew up going to church as often as the doors were open.
While in high school in Maywood, IL, Leonard felt God calling him into pastoral ministry. Upon graduation, he made plans to attend Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, TN. During college he ran cross-country and track while he began his basic studies. It was here he began dating his childhood friend, Debra Johnson, who had been a member of one of the churches his father had pastored. Leonard and Debra were married in August 1968. They have two sons, Larry Wayne and Nathan Andrew. They have three grandsons, Luke, six; Garrett, nearly five and Eli, three.
Leonard received his BA in 1970 from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, KY, while also being pastor to the First Baptist Church in Elk Valley,TN. Later, while serving as bivocational pastor at West End Baptist Church in Knoxville, Leonard was director of adjunctive therapy in the psychiatric department at the University Medical Center.
The family moved to Louisville, KY where he attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1974.
While attending seminary he served as youth minister at Christ Church United Methodist in Louisville, later accepting a full time ministry position at the Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY.
In 1975, Leonard was called as pastor of the Ball Camp Baptist Church in Knoxville. Ball Camp was a church in transition from a rural community to a population of subdivisions all around the campus. The church grew substantially during his seven-year tenure. Leonard completed his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1981 while at Ball Camp. His thesis was written about the transition of the community and how the church shared Christ with a community as it changed.
First Baptist Church in Sweetwater called Leonard as pastor in 1982. He served there for seven years and became "Everyone's Pastor" through the radio broadcast of the church's evening service. Many residents considered Dr. Markham their pastor.
Leonard moved to Hendersonville and was pastor there for 17 years before accepting the call to come to Fairfield Glade First Baptist Church.
The pastor search committee worked for almost a year to find the man that God chose to be our pastor. We feel so blessed and thank God that He has sent Dr. Markham to us. He has a strong, evangelistic style of preaching and we feel he will inspire and challenge us and lead the church to reach its full potential.