Pastor Doug Anderson retires

Doug Anderson, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Princeton, is pictured with his wife Betty. Anderson retired in October after 61 years in ministry.

A ministry journey of 61 years ended this month for Doug Anderson, who described those years as a “wonderful journey.”

“I can’t fault it in any way,” said the 80-year-old Anderson. “The Lord has blessed me far beyond what I deserve. I’ve loved the journey with the Lord and His people.”

The lingering after effects of COVID-19 contributed to his decision to retire.

“I was in intensive care for two weeks,” he recalls of his COVID experience, but said he is thankful that he didn’t have to be put on a respirator. “The Lord laid his hand on me and brought me back. I lost so much muscle strength that that I couldn’t walk when I got out of the hospital.”

Even though he began physical therapy, he still needs the use of a walker, and he preached while being seated.

When he went to Second Baptist more than 12 years ago, he told the congregation that if his age ever hindered him, for the church to let him know.

“They promised to do that, and I think they were too kind. It’s been the most beautiful, kindest church I have pastored anywhere, and this has been the most beautiful years of pastoring that a man could have,” Anderson said. “When I told them I was retiring, all said that they understood and wanted me to do what I needed to do and take care of myself. They absolutely loved us (he and his wife, Betty) into retirement.”

Anderson, a native of Lyon County, answered the call to preach and soon was called as pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in his home county. Afterward, he pastored in Frankfort, Dyer, Indiana, Nashville, Tennessee, Buffalo, Kentucky, Oscar, Kentucky, New Bethel in Lyon County, Northside in Princeton, in Madisonville, Livermore, Ballard County and Henderson Memorial in Hopkinsville.

He wrote an Easter drama, The Christos, which was staged for a number of years at churches he pastored as well as other churches. Also, early in his ministry he was assistant director and chaplain at Spring Meadows Children’s Home.

“In these last few years, it has been a good reunion with the city of Princeton, the people of Princeton and the church of Princeton, as well as with my family. I don’t guess a pastor could ask for more — it’s as good as it gets. But it has gotten to the point where it is a challenge to get dressed and get ready to go anywhere — I’m not able to maneuver and don’t have much stamina. It’s a struggle to get out of the car and into church, then preach and do the whole cycle again going home.”

Even though retiring, his days of encouraging people in the gospel are far from being over.

“I’ve started putting devotionals and personal stories on Facebook, I call them earthly stories with a heavenly meaning — parables. I have a lot of stories about different things in life. It’s had great response, and has amazed me, so I will continue telling those life stories and inspirational stories, too.”

One of the early stories he shared came from his childhood and involved his brother, who was a lifeguard at Kuttawa Springs swimming pool.

“I could swim, but I wouldn’t get in the deep water. One day he picked me up and threw me in the deep water, and I swam like a duck. The point is that the Lord says, ‘Come on, you can do this’ — He throws you right in the middle of it and takes care of you and good things come out of it.”

Anderson said he recounts stories from mission trips to Kenya, Russia and Jamaica. “I am going to try to publish those every Saturday,” he said, noting that it’s a good way to connect with shut-ins. His audience includes one man who watches from Guinea.

At his last service as pastor, about 40 family members were in the congregation, along with a former music minister, Charlie Cotton, who traveled from Missouri and led the singing that day.