Back in November of 2003, Jason Strickland did his trial sermon (or whatever you call it) at Cadiz Baptist Church. This is something Baptists have you do before they call you to work. In Jason’s case, he was applying for the job of Associate Pastor and Youth Minister. Jason told a story during his talk. He said, “I will never forget one time growing up in south Georgia when my friend Josh and I went dove hunting. We had permission to hunt on a certain farm. As we began hunting, however, we realized we had left our hunting license back at home. As we began shooting, we noticed a vehicle pull up at the far end of the field. A man got out and started waving at us. We couldn’t tell who it was. We thought, however, that it was the game warden, so we ran into the woods and eventually made it all the way to Josh’s house.” Later that night Jason’s dad went to pick him and Josh up to take them church. Mr. Strickland said, “Jason, I have a question for you. Why did you two boys run from me today? I was just bringing you your hunting license that you left at home.” It then hit Jason. He had been running away from the very thing he should have been running toward. Jason then pointed out that so many people in life are trying their best to run away from Jesus Christ when he is their real source of help in life, maybe even their only source of help. To be honest, Jason had me hooked when he opened his talk with a dove-hunting story. I thought, “this guy is going to be a good fit in Trigg County.” And fit he has.
You see, Jason grew up in southwest Georgia. He was a Purple Hurricane from Fitzgerald, Ga., to be more specific. He wrestled and played football there. In other words, he grew up a lot like the youth in Trigg County grow up. Therefore, the transition to becoming immersed in our community was a natural.
Let’s talk about this immersion thing. If churches had bosses and I was that boss, I would want my youth minister to be immersed in the community. I would want him to be visible, active and helpful. Let me tell you how Jason Strickland has done just that. Jason serves our community by being the PA man for Wildcat football, basketball and baseball. He is also a watchdog in our school system. Continuing along this theme of serving our community, Jason is chairman of the complex board, Upward Basketball Commissioner and he serves on the Horizon Center board at school and the Community Education Board, as well.
As far as church related duties go, you may find Jason filling the pulpit on occasion, preaching the children’s sermon or organizing a vast array of youth activities. Each year, he chaperones young kids to Center Kid and older youth on various mission trips all over the Southeast. Jason also spends a part of his hot Trigg County summer working with Camp Cadiz, which is a local mission project. Ole Jason is a regular at every hospital within 100 miles of Cadiz as well as always making visits to check on the sick from our church.
Let me put it like this. I have often said that when it comes to making people happy in a small town, there are only a few jobs tougher than being a basketball coach. Two of those are being a pastor or youth minister. Along those lines, or any lines, nobody is perfect. That includes ole Jason and the writer of this column. If you would admit it, that even includes everyone reading this column. I mean, come on. The proof Jason is imperfect is very visible. He is a full-blooded Georgia Bulldog fan. Yes, even when they are playing our beloved Kentucky Wildcats. Like I said, nobody is perfect! (Georgia fan Ashley Plymale, please refrain from comment.)
In closing, after Jason Strickland had been in our community just a short while, my late father Gene Wright made the following comment. Dad said, “I really like ole Jason. I think he is going to be a good fit here.” Dad always was a good judge of character.
OT: Jason celebrates his birthday March 20. Wish him a happy one if you see him.
DOUBLE OT: I borrowed the title from Jason’s column that he writes for the Western Recorder.
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.