Let me get right to today’s featured subject, none other than Mr. Jimmy Gentry. Jimmy was three years ahead of me as we both passed through Trigg County Public Schools. I had always known of Jimmy as we had attended the same church, Cadiz Baptist. Our paths didn’t really cross, however, until I got in high school. When I was a freshman, basketball coach Jim Wallace persuaded me to run cross country. One of the senior leaders on that team was Jimmy Gentry. As a matter of fact, that cross-country team was packed with quality senior leaders. Henry Cunningham and James Hobson were also seniors on that team. Since I was only a freshman, I did a lot of observing that year. Through my observations, I came up with a definite conclusion. There isn’t any substitute for leadership that comes from within the team. I also learned that Jimmy, Henry and James were true leaders and the epitome of what student-athletes were supposed to be.
I would like to tell you two more quick stories of my relationship with Jimmy Gentry. Later on during the winter of Jimmy’s senior year, Henry Cunningham asked me to ride to Hopkinsville to watch Christian County play basketball. We were sort of scouting them in case we played them in the region later on. I was just a freshman and didn’t have a T-Jacket yet, even though I had qualified for one in cross country. Jimmy loaned me his T-Jacket that night. Believe you me. I was walking tall that night in senior Jimmy Gentry’s T-Jacket, leather sleeves and all. Back then, they didn’t have your name on them.
Later still, in the summer of 1975, our Cadiz Baptist youth group went on a mission trip to Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. My roommate for the weeklong trip was Jimmy Gentry. I will never forget it. We stayed at the home of the Dan Kaufman family, who lived on the lake and had a dock complete with a diving board hanging over the deep crystal blue water.
Now let me get to the point of this column, if you will. I want to introduce Jimmy Gentry to those of you who have not yet made his acquaintance. I also want to tell you that he is coming home to lead Cadiz Baptist Church in revival.
Jimmy, the son of the late James and Lilly Gentry, graduated from Trigg County High School in 1975. He excelled in cross country and track as an athlete. He was also a big part of the marching band as he played the trombone. Speech was Jimmy’s forte, as well. He excelled in extemporaneous speaking and was a mainstay on the debate team. In 1975, Jimmy won the State Voice of Democracy Contest, which was put on by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He traveled to Washington D.C. to represent the state of Kentucky.
Jimmy said the following about his involvement in extra-curricular activities in high school. “All the after-school activities I was in gave me balance. They made me a more whole, well-rounded, better person.” Jimmy went on to say, “Cadiz Baptist Church meant so much to my development as well. The church and people there nurtured me and provided me a place to experiment with my calling. Cadiz Baptist Church played a big part in molding me into who I am today.”
After high school, Jimmy attended and graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1979. He then got his Masters of Divinity from Southern Seminary in 1982. Finally, Jimmy got his Doctorate of Ministry in 1993. Jimmy has served as the pastor of Emanuel Baptist and Greenwood Baptist in Bowling Green and Lewis Lane Baptist in Owensboro. For the last 12 years, Jimmy has been the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist in Carrollton, Ga. Tabernacle Baptist is a church of 2,300 members. Carrollton is just a little ways west of Atlanta. According to Jimmy, it is exactly 342 miles from Cadiz.
Jimmy Gentry and his wife Jackie have been married for 32 years now. They have two children, Emily and Nicholas. They are ages 25 and 22 respectively.
As I said earlier, Jimmy is coming home to preach a revival at Cadiz Baptist next week. His theme for the week is going to be “Making Sense of Life.” The dates and times are as follows:
Sunday Sept. 9 – 10:45 a.m. – Running Through the Cemetery
Sunday Sept. 9 – 6 p.m. – Resolving to do the Right Thing
Monday Sept. 10 – 7 p.m. – Not Deserting Jesus
Tuesday Sept. 11 – 7 p.m. – Hanging in There When It Comes to Prayer
Wednesday Sept. 12 – 7 p.m. – Living the Benefactor Factor
Jimmy also told me he would touch on why bad things happen to good people. I’m sure many questions that you and I have pondered on before will be addressed by Jimmy.
Let me be the first to invite our entire Trigg County Community to all these revival services. I can pretty much assure you that you will be blessed with great preaching. I have always considered Jimmy Gentry to be a rock star in the world of preachers (he will get a kick out of that one). You will be blessed by music from contemporary to bluegrass as well. Once again, please join Jimmy, the good folks at Cadiz Baptist and myself for four nights of Christian fellowship and revival. We are the so-called big church (size of building) downtown across from the Bank of Cadiz. Our fellowship and hospitality, however, are as country as it gets. We will leave the light on for you. See you there.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to email@example.com.