Elder Andrew Huffman
I was born in Atlanta and my family later settled in Memphis. There I enjoyed not only the benefit of my parents’ loving, diligent care and instruction, but also the Spirit-blest ministries of elders Zack Guess and Jimmy Barber at Grace Chapel. I was baptized after being convicted of and repenting from my sins, and thus began a lifelong journey of ups and downs that has steadily drawn me toward my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Second only to the Lord’s direct, inward, spiritual dealings with me has been the blessing of the Lord’s providentially joining my life with Rhonda’s (my wife). The Lord graciously brought our paths to cross while I was in school in Virginia. We married and moved further north. For several years we were under the pastoral leadership of Steven Bloyd (Mt. Carmel church, Maryland), and he encouraged me in the study and application of God’s word and occasionally invited me to speak before the congregation. Elder Bloyd inquired whether I had any thought that God had called me to publicly preach the word, and for a season my very definite thought was that God had not so called me. I preferred rather to limit my efforts to what I considered a possible gift of exhortation.
But about this time, in September 1996, the church in Wilmington, Delaware, began asking me to fill their pulpit regularly while their pastor was coping with health problems. From the first moment I visited the Wilmington congregation I felt my heart knit closely with theirs and desired to help them however I could. For their part, the church graciously received our family and warmly encouraged me in my efforts to speak the truth in love. I rejoiced greatly during seasons of felt liberty, but also doubted the validity of my efforts at times. Elder Guess encouraged me to consider as marks of a true calling (a) whether I had received spiritual teaching gifts from God, and (b) whether I had a real desire to use such gifts for the good of God’s people.
Finally, as I listened very late one night to a recorded message by Thomas Mann from the tenth chapter of Romans, my direction became clearer. I was overwhelmed with a sense that Paul’s heartfelt burden for his countrymen was my very own burden as well, in particular for the saints at Wilmington. The church there already had called for my ordination to the office of a bishop, and in due time Mt. Carmel assembled a presbytery to that end. On August 16, 1997, I was ordained to the full work of gospel ministry.
In 2001, through another series of providential changes in our lives and circumstances, we began to be led south to a lovely little congregation in Chattanooga. Since 2002 I have served Chattanooga Primitive Baptist Church, where the Lord again has graciously woven together the fabric of hearts and lives among pastor, elders, and congregation.
I now find not only a weighty delight in studying and publicly expounding the truth of scripture, I have found a deep joy and satisfaction, mingled at times with palpable pain, in the labors of a one-on-one personal ministry of empathy, counsel, and spiritual instruction. It is a special blessing to be able to serve alongside two dear, wise, loving fellow-laborers in Christ, elders Joe Hildreth and Eddy Flick.
I am blessed beyond expression with my wife Rhonda and our nine children – six boys and three girls, all priceless to my wife and me.
My testimony is uncomplicated. I am weak. God is good. Church is home. Christ is everything. And the word of God, through the eternal Spirit, supplies all our deepest needs and answers throughout life.
To our guests and visitors – I would love to hear the story of God’s work in your life! Come worship with us, and let us sit and visit together about “how great things the Lord hath done.”
Elder Joe Hildreth
Born in Alabama in 1931, Elder Joe Hildreth grew up attending the Primitive Baptist Church. He began speaking in the worship service in 1950 and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1955. For a short time he served his home church in Opelika Alabama. After moving to Atlanta he served several churches in that area, including Shoal Creek Church near Newborn, GA and Utoy Church in Southwest Atlanta. He moved to Chattanooga in 1971. In this area he served Sweeten’s Cove near South Pittsburg, Friendship near Ringgold, and Chattanooga Church. For thirty years he was pastor of the Chattanooga Church, were her and his wife, Virginia, have been members for forty years and continue to attend regularly.
Elder Hildreth has been involved in several church-related publications. In 1954 he was instrumental in beginning a church paper, The Christian Pathway, which he edited until 1974. In 1957, he became associtated with the publication of the Old School Hymnal, and helped organize the Old School Hymnal Co. Inc. He is currently chairman of that company. During the 1990’s he wrote a booklet, She Called Me to Her Side: A Story of My Two Mothers, in which he relates God’s providential guidance not only in blessing him with a wonderful adoptive mother, but also in searching for and reuniting with his birth mother.
For nearly fifty banking was Elder Hildreth’s secular occupation. In 1997 he retired from First Tennessee Bank in Chattanooga. One of his keen interest has been traveling to Bible lands, where he conducted five tours during the years from 1972 to 1999, He and Virginia have been blessed with three children and eleven grandchildren. They reside near Ringgold, Georgia.