As long as I can remember, numbers and dates are very significant to me. I remember special dates and reflect with God on their significance to my journey with Him. And, wow, I never thought I would see these numbers together. It has now been 41 years since I confessed Jesus as Lord in the home in which I grew up. In the same place where I had experienced deep hurt and confusion as a child, I received my Lord at 19 years of age. That was a day I have never regretted or forgotten.

It was 35 years ago that I began this journey into missions and trusting the Lord for my path and direction. This journey has taken me to Chicago and Birmingham, serving in four different ministries, always moving forward in this journey of serving the Lord, called to serve the inner city with the Gospel of Christ, remaining in the center of His will.

I know the Lord led me to CSM 8 years ago to serve our city in Gospel ministry through the building of bridges of reconciliation: the body of Christ (the churches) working together to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Lord. This journey has increased the Gospel presence and effectiveness in Birmingham and throughout the country as people have come to serve with CSM. God said He would build His Church, and we have partnered with Him to do just that in our partnerships and relationships here in Birmingham.

In the same place where I had experienced deep hurt and confusion as a child, I received my Lord at 19 years of age.

On September 8, 2018, I will be 60 years old… a point in time where we join AARP (HA!). I will celebrate these special times by doing some amazing things. This year I am taking a 10-day journey of reflection. On day one I will spend time with Richard, who I discipled as Jr. High/ High school student and with whom I have reconciled after 47 years. On day two, I will be with college friends in full time ministry in Indiana. The third day, I will be with a ministry couple I have know for over 30 years in who are also in the disciple-making ministry. And then I will spend a few days in Chicago, with my wife Mary Jo, where we spent our first years in ministry. I will see friends like Ralph, Andrew, Richard, Pedro, Zackary, Brian, Tonisha, Sandra, Beatrice and many others with whom I have walked for many years. It is all about the people we know, love and invest our lives in. The fruit of our lives is reflected in our family, friends and disciples for 41 years of living for Christ, 35 years of serving Christ, 8 years of serving Him at CSM and 60 years of life here in God’s creation.

I am thankful for these 60 years and the opportunity God has given me to serve His people.

“For we are God’s Masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus, to do good work which he preordained for for us.” Ephesians 2:10

Tracy Hipps

Executive Director