A Heart for People

Lesa Moore Faith, Spring 2014

Dr. C. Alan Floyd ’89
Pastor, Cottage Hill Baptist Church
Mobile, AL

Secretly taking Bibles into China and Tibet; leading mission trips to Russia, the Philippines, and Turkey; and pastoring churches in three states are just a few examples of how Dr. Alan Floyd ’89 has spent the last 21 years ministering to and discipling others.

It is a ministry built on making people a priority.

Opportunity Awaits

Anxious and determined to fulfill his calling to the ministry, Floyd enrolled in his first class at then Mobile College just two weeks after graduating from high school. This summer English 101 class with Dr. Francis Garner had a lasting impact.

“Her class was tough – she really challenged me,” recalled Floyd. “I decided to double major in English and religion because of Dr. Garner. She always said the world needed more pastors who could actually write good sermons.” A native of Mobile, Floyd surrendered to the call to ministry at the young age of 16 while at his home church, Moffett Road Baptist. From that moment he hit the ground running, volunteering and working part-time at his church, taking advantage of any opportunity that came his way to be involved in ministry to others.

Just two years after starting college, Floyd became the student pastor for Navco Baptist Church. Soon after, the senior pastor became ill and church leaders asked him to preach. Floyd embraced the challenge and still continued to preach once a month even after the pastor returned. He also made the most of opportunities available to him at Mobile College.

“M-Days at Mobile College were influential in my life,” said Floyd. “Through those days, I had the privilege to preach in a number of churches, including some in Washington County. Through the pastors that I met there, even more opportunities opened up to preach throughout the area that summer.”

Growing Churches

After graduating, Floyd earned the Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He went on to pastor New Hope Baptist Church in Florida, then First Baptist Church Cliftondale in Atlanta. “Both of these were declining churches when I first arrived,” explained Floyd. “It was while I was in Atlanta that I realized God was calling me to be the turnaround guy – I had a passion to help churches relaunch.”

While in Atlanta, Floyd earned his doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with an emphasis in evangelistic church growth.

“My doctorate work specialized in developing strategies for plateaued and declining churches. The Atlanta Baptist Association still uses my work in this area,” he said.

This preparation led Floyd to pastor First Baptist Church Middleburg, FL where he served for the next 13 years, experiencing Sunday morning attendance grow from 400 to 1,800 with over 1,300 baptisms. Preaching four of their five services, Floyd also helped plant three additional churches and relaunch six others. With a heart for reaching the lost around the world, he emphasized the importance of the Great Commission and sent over 150 people per year on mission trips, leading many himself.

“The first couple that went on a mission trip with us from Middleburg are now IMB missionaries in Russia,” said Floyd. “Russia was the first country we had a partnership with. We backpacked and smuggled Bibles to China and Tibet and also served in places like the Amazon and an orphanage in the Philippines.”

He has been actively involved in Southern Baptist life, having served on the State Board of Missions for the Florida Baptist Convention, president of the Florida Baptist Pastor’s Conference and trustee for the Baptist College of Florida. He is currently a trustee for New Orleans Seminary and a frequent guest speaker for evangelism conferences and revivals.

Coming Home

“I always had a heart for Mobile,” Floyd recalled. “I prayed for spiritual awakening in Mobile, but thought someone else would be called to lead it.”

Floyd became pastor of Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile in November 2012. Since then, the church has experienced a 50 percent increase in attendance. He continues to lead mission opportunities internationally and locally to reach the city of Mobile.

Alan Fath ’98 serves as the worship pastor at Cottage Hill Baptist Church. When he arrived there nine months ago, he was impressed with the way Floyd’s “character proceeds him wherever he goes.”

“It’s this quality that was one of the things that actually drew me to Cottage Hill,” said Fath. “What I found was testimony after testimony of people who had not met each other, yet all said the same thing. They all stated that he loves missions, he is relational, he is driven, he inspires a fun atmosphere, and he absolutely loves investing his time in people. As I have worked close by him, I have seen all these things exemplified in his everyday life. I’m proud to call him my pastor and look forward to how God will use him in the life and development of this church.”

“It was just something about the phone call I received from Cottage Hill,” Floyd said. “God made it clear and put on my heart what Cottage Hill could be, and I believe greater days for this church are ahead.”

Legacy

Floyd and his wife, Kathy, have two sons, Christopher and Conner. Christopher was also called to ministry as a teenager. While on vacation in Mobile as a sophomore in high school, Floyd brought him to UMobile for a campus tour.

“The next summer we were talking about colleges and Christopher said he knew he wanted to attend the University of Mobile,” said Floyd.

Christopher is now a freshman at UMobile majoring in Christian ministries.

Floyd said he chose Mobile College because he knew he was called to be a pastor and was drawn to this Baptist college. He recalls fond memories of intramurals and fellowship with friends, saying that the friendships developed at Mobile College are the “strongest friendships I have today.”

“My advice for students today going into ministry is to invest in relationships, get involved in a local church and take advantage of practical hands-on experience,” said Floyd.

He shares wisdom he has benefited from as well.

“Early in my pastoral ministry, one of my mentors said to me, ‘A shepherd smells like his sheep.’ That stuck with me. There are certainly better pastors/ preachers out there. I just wanted to be the best pastor I could be…striving to be a life-long learner. A true shepherd smells like his sheep – meaning he spends time with them, loves them, cares for them, knows their needs. If I am to speak God’s Truth into their life week after week, I need to know where they are. At the end of the day, I want to smell like my sheep.

About the Author
Lesa Moore

Lesa Moore

Lesa has over 25 years experience in marketing and public relations including the high-tech industry, retail marketing and higher education. Numerous local and national advertising, PR and design awards have been achieved under her direction. Lesa received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of South Alabama and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mobile. She enjoyed a successful career as Director of Marketing Communication at Xante Corporation before joining the UMobile staff in 2002. She serves as Executive Director of Marketing and Public Relations as well as an adjunct instructor in marketing at UMobile, and is a member of the American Marketing Association, Public Relations Council of Alabama and Baptist Communicators Association. Lesa lives in Mobile with her husband and high school sweetheart, Jay, and their two children, current UMobile student Logan and high schooler Olivia. She is an active member and life group leader at Cottage Hill Baptist Church.