Rev. Earl W. “Buddy” Duggins has seen many changes at Forest Home Baptist Church over the years. The pastor is marking his thirtieth year at FHBC and took time to reflect on the occasion Friday.
In his time as pastor, he has seen FHBC build and dedicate an 1100-seat Worship Center in 2010, the addition of a Children’s Building, a Student Ministry Building and a building which includes a gym and fellowship hall.
Looking back over the years, Duggins feels blessed to have led the congregation for this length of time.
“Wonderful. It’s a wonderful feeling,” Duggins said.
Asked what has inspired and motivated him to continue in his work at FHBC for three decades, Duggins’ answer was clear and direct:
“Seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ change lives.”
While many congregants have come through the doors of FHBC in that time and the church itself, which was originally founded in Kilgore in 1889, has seen changes to its structure, Duggins views the mission of the church as focused on spreading the message of Christ.
“I don’t know that we’ve got any more changing to do (to the church building.) Our work now is to continue what we’ve been doing: reaching people, continuing our mission effort. Forest Home is a strong missionary-minded church,” he said.
FHBC takes their missionary work very seriously and makes a point to contribute strongly to this effort.
“The average Southern Baptist Church contributes somewhere around five percent of their income to the Cooperative Program, which is our mission program. We give fifteen percent and I’m very happy about that. It makes us a leader at not only the state, but the national convention,” Duggins said.
FHBC’s missions span the globe.
“I’m very proud of our student ministry,” the pastor said. “Our church has sent as many as 40 people on mission trips from Guatemala to New York City. Every year, the youth group goes someplace on a mission effort.”
According to biographical information provided by FHBC, Duggins has been in the ministry over 55 years. He has preached over 450 revivals in 10 states and has had over 50 sermons published. He has also been on the program three times at the Texas Evangelism Conference, and has preached at the Arkansas State Pastor’s Conference.
He is a native of Kilgore, TX, and proudly served in the United States Marines. Prior to his arriving at Forest Home, Duggins served as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Winnsboro, TX for 10 years.
Pastor Duggins and his wife of 58 years, Connie, have three daughters: Jana Whitney, Kary Kay Reed and Angel Smith.
Mark Fried, FHBC’s Minister of Music, said of his friend and pastor:
“Bro. Duggins preaches with a passion for souls and great encouragement for the saints. He has traveled an unusual path as his wife has battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since 1990. With a heart of greatest compassion, he comes to the pulpit prepared and delivers a sure, powerful, and good word from God.”
Duggins, who celebrated his eighty-first birthday Friday, hopes he is remembered for a legacy of pastoral dedication to the Christian message and for the love he feels for all.
“I would like for people to remember that I love them and preached Jesus Christ.”