What’s your story? Even into my 60s, God is still growing me

Allan Higgins is seen with FBC Beaumont Lead Pastor Chris Moody. Submitted Photo

When I was 11, a group came to our church to lead a lay witness weekend—that was a thing back in the late 1960s—and I made a profession of faith. Uncertain about that decision, I made a real profession of faith when I was 30.

My wife, Lori, and I lived in Georgetown and we loved it. We had friends there and raised our family there. I worked for ACME Brick and stayed in that desirable part of Texas until I was in my mid-50s. I retired from that job earlier this year. 

Well, there was a management position that came open in Beaumont about 11 or 12 years ago. They kept asking me if I would take this position … and I was like, “I’m not interested in going. I am 54 years old. I’m not interested in making a move like that, going to a place where I don’t know anybody.” But we visited just to placate management. My wife and I came over to Beaumont to visit so we could check the box [and be able to say], “Hey, we visited, we’re not interested. Thanks for asking.”

End of the story. 

But that was just the beginning of it.

We came here on a visit, and on the way back, both of us were talking about how we were being drawn to Beaumont. As we got halfway home, I said, “That wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, and I’m really kind of being drawn there.” My wife agreed. I didn’t know one person in Beaumont. Not one. I really think it was the Holy Spirit leading us to Beaumont to sit under Chris Moody’s leadership at First Baptist Church. He is a fabulous pastor. 

I didn’t get discipled until I came to First Baptist Beaumont when I was about 54, 55 years old. I never heard of it until I came here. And none of the churches I was in had a discipleship program like what we have here. We’d have Sunday school or small groups, but nothing like this. 

I think the ministry is important because Jesus was a small group guy. He had the throngs of people who followed Him all over the place, and then He broke it down into 12 people and then into three. He discipled those three on a very personal level. He focused on them in a different way than He did the other nine. Our goal is to follow the Scriptures and follow His lead in small group discipleship.

Higgins is pictured with two men he has discipled, David Helling and Ross Guidry. Submitted Photo

"What’s my story? We trusted God as he uprooted us and moved us to Beaumont."

It makes a huge difference that my pastor is very serious about this ministry. When I was pretty new to the church and to my new job, Chris called me and asked me to join him and another man in a small discipleship group. The pastor would lead our group. So I agreed to do that with them. The drill is, you meet once a week and there’s memory verses you’re supposed to be prepared for every lesson. Some of the verses were pretty long. We were meeting at lunch at a restaurant, and I didn’t always have the memory verse memorized. So after about the third or fourth meeting, I got a call from Chris and he goes, “Hey, Allan, how’s your discipleship training going?”

I said, “Well, you know how it’s going.” I had missed some meetings and I wasn’t prepared. And he said, “Well, I’ve got somebody to take your place. Why don’t you step away from our group and then we can get back together again later when your work situation settles down and you have more time?” That was his way of kicking me out of his class.

I didn’t know Chris that well at the time, but when I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, “He’s serious about Bible study. He’s serious about people growing their faith.” I wasn’t offended at all. I was very appreciative of him demonstrating his commitment to discipling people.

About a year later I went through the program with our executive pastor, Mark Adams. And I’m now in my third cycle of facilitating younger men in our discipleship process. These young men are the age of my children, but I learn more about following Jesus every time I go through the material. I’m at a different stage of life than they are. It’s just very cool. I really enjoy it.

What’s my story? We trusted God as He uprooted us and moved us to Beaumont. I believe that was the whole point of us moving, to meet Chris Moody and to sit under his leadership at First Baptist Beaumont. I really think that is the biggest thing in my life that I’ve done—stepping out in faith like that and doing something that God used to impact my life.

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Allan Higgins
(as told to Gary Ledbetter)
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