Hero of the Week – Pastor John Girdley

Published 2:30 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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Pastor John Girdley of First Baptist Church in Greenville has been recognized as The Greenville Advocate Hero of the Week for his dedication to Butler County and the surrounding areas and for his prayerful community service.

Sue Arnold, a member of First Baptist Church, described Pastor Girdley as a “hometown hero and ambassador,” highlighting his commitment to the community.

“He took it upon himself when he moved to Greenville to become part of the community and to meet Greenvillians,” Arnold said. “The number of lives and souls he’s touched are innumerable!”

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In 2021, Pastor Girdley felt led to leave his congregation of 16 years in Florida and move his family to Alabama to become the pastor at First Baptist Church in Greenville. 

“The church there was growing and doing great,” Girdley said. “I had planned on staying there until I retired, but God had other plans for me.”

Since moving to Greenville, Girdley has been actively involved in the community, starting weekly prayer walks to get to know his neighbors and build relationships.

“The move has been a great fit for my family,” Girdley said. “The whole community has been so loving and welcoming. I’ve met people that I probably would’ve never met otherwise. The Bible says to love thy neighbor, and these walks helped me to really fall in love with the people here.”

Torie Thomas, who works at ASE Credit Union in Greenville, shared her experience with Girdley.

“He came in one Friday asking if anyone had any prayer requests, and I thought it was really kind of him,” Thomas said. “Now he comes in regularly on Fridays, and we all look forward to it. When he says he’s praying for you, he really means it.”

For Thomas, the Girdley’s prayer walks were just the beginning she said, noting that even though she’s not a member of the First Baptist congregation, Girdley’s spiritual guidance has been invaluable. 

“When I haven’t seen him for a while, I’ll get a text saying that he’s thinking of me and praying for me and my family,” Thomas said. “Those texts always seem to come in when I really need them.” 

Rochelle Kelley met Pastor Girdley when her children attended vacation Bible school. She praised Girdley’s involvement with the kids and emphasized his genuine care for others.

“He’s a great listener and he’s just very sincere and caring,” Kelley said.

In 2023, Pastor Girdley was honored with the Chamber of Commerce’s “Unsung Hero” award, recognizing his dedication to helping the community behind the scenes.

Girdley’s commitment to prayer, community service and building relationships has made him a beloved figure in Greenville, earning him the title of Greenville Advocate Hero of the Week.