Faith & Family - Cullman, Alabama Spring 2020 - Page 36

Continued from page 34 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 all.” 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 36 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 Baptist Church. “I have felt the God’s call to every job I have ever had,” he said. Biblical wisdom 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 God.” “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