The following biography was recently read at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet Thursday evening, Sept. 14, during the announcement of John Girdley’s selection as Unsung Hero Award.
This year’s Unsung Hero has been a pastor for more than two decades, has served as a continuous volunteer, a devoted husband and father, and a friend to all.
Born and raised in Indiana, the Camellia City has become home to Brother John Girdley, and for the last two years he has become “home” to its residents, businesses, and visitors.
Bro. John received his Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
He served as pastor at Parma First Baptist Church for four years and as pastor at Florida Avenue Baptist Church for 15 years. Bro. John settled right into his role as pastor of First Baptist Church of Greenville in September 2021 and has made such a high impact to church members and community alike.
He says that one of his favorite parts of Greenville and ministry here is the community. He loves just how welcoming the community is and how inviting they’ve been to him. And the community feels the same way about him.
Outside of ministering inside the church, Bro. John and the church regularly minister outside of the walls of church by holding community prayer walks the last Sunday night of each month, assisting local organizations with cleanup and restoration, and simple random acts of kindness with gas cards, gift cards, food vouchers, and much more behind the scenes community ministry.
Since moving to Greenville, Bro. John has adopted what is referred to as his Friday Prayer Walk which has made quite an impression specifically in the downtown community.
For close to two years, Bro. John has made a weekly prayer walk each Friday from the courthouse down to the Chamber of Commerce building, covering both sides of the street and everything in between.
He is intentional with these Friday walks. The door opens up and you see a friendly face and smile and hear his kind voice say……”Good morning! I just wanted to stop by and check on you and see how I may pray for you today.”
Depending on the visit and the day, some stops make take longer than others and may be a little more specific in prayer, but regardless of the need, Bro. John’s prayers are sincere and a visit from him warms the heart and soul.
In his spare time, he enjoys basketball, golf, and running. His favorite scripture is PSalm 51 verses 10-13: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
These verses are reminders of the love, grace, and transforming power of knowing Christ.