Faith & Family - Cullman, Alabama Spring 2020 - Page 36
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wanted to send him.
“I loved it at Westminster,” said
Teal. “It was so different from public
school. I got to keep my Bible on
my desk, and when I had to apply
discipline, we would open up the
Bible and see what God’s word said
about it. I fully expected that I would
finish up my career at Westminster.”
But that was not to be. Two
years into that job, he received a call
from First Baptist Church in Athens.
And, again, while he hated leaving,
he remembered he had told God he
would go wherever God wanted him.
Welcome to First Baptist
When he arrived at First Baptist,
Pastor Aaron Johnson told him, “I
know the job of associate pastor
and director of administration and
education is a lot. I want you to
do administration and I want you
to do education, but I want you to
remember that you are also a minister
and I want you to be a minister first of
Teal said he’s been trying to be
that ever since. He said he learned a
lot in his 14 years at First Baptist. It
was a big job, but he had good office
staff and good administrators for the
preschool, which made his job easier.
“My main role at the preschool
was to stand out in the hall and let the
little kids hug me,” he said.
Program director June Grantham
disagrees. She said he was a leader
who taught her skills and lessons for
which she’ll always be grateful.
“He always seemed to know
Faith & Family | April 2020
everything. And his love for the WEE
program helped make it the success it
is today,” she said.
In 2013, Teal decided to retire but
leave himself open for whatever the
Lord still might have for him to do.
He continued preaching and teaching
throughout the Baptist Association,
and four years ago, he accepted the
call to be pastor of West Highland
“I have felt the God’s call to
every job I have ever had,” he said.
Earlier this year, Teal once
again had heart surgery to repair an
artery, a procedure that kept him out
of the pulpit for only two Sundays.
When asked if, at his age of 73, his
wife Bonnie wouldn’t like for him to
completely retire, Teal referred to an
exchange between Ruth and Naomi
in the Bible.
Ruth 1:16 of the New King
James Version reads, “Entreat me
not to leave you, or to turn back from
following after you; For wherever
you go, I will go; And wherever you
lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall
be my people, And your God, my
“Bonnie has lived by that for
our entire marriage,” Teal said. “She
was a really good coach’s wife, and
I think she is a really good pastor’s
wife. A coach’s wife or pastor’s can’t
be too sensitive.”
He related how, early in his
career as coach, he came home after
a ballgame to find Bonnie crying her
eyes out. She was upset at the way