Trinity Baptist Church’s new pastor has come full circle in Vicksburg

Published 4:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2021

In a way, a part of the Rev. Bill Wright’s life as a minister has come full circle.

In June, Wright became pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Vicksburg; the same church where he preached his first sermon after being called to the ministry.

“My father-in-law, the Rev. Mickey Bounds, pastored here at the time I surrendered to preach,” Wright said. “I came here and preached my very first sermon 25 years ago. Now, 25 years later, I’m back here pastoring the church.”

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A North Louisiana native, Wright graduated high school in Missouri and attended Missouri Valley College for a year, where he played football and baseball before returning to Louisiana, where he met and married his wife, Rhonda, 38 years ago. They have two children and four grandchildren.

His call to the ministry, however, took some time.

“I was in the consumer finance business for about 15 years and then God called me to preach,” Wright said. “I was involved in a men’s prayer group and men’s ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in Shreveport (La.) and through that, God began to work in my life and I felt His call into full-time ministry.

“I surrendered to preach; I left my job and we went to New Orleans Baptist Seminary, and while I was attending school there, I was called to a church in Lincoln County.”

At the same time he was being called to preach, Wright said, God started working on his wife.

“She never thought she would be a preacher’s wife; she never started out to be a preacher’s wife but God fooled her and called me after we got married,” he said. “She felt the call at the same time; it was really one of those things where God called both of us to the ministry together.”

Because they received that special call from God, Wright said, he and his wife do a lot of ministries together.

“A lot of things we do at church we team up on — she’s been real involved with different children’s ministries, women’s ministry; she goes with me for counseling with others.”

About two months after he began studies at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, Wright said, he went to his first church. When he graduated from the seminary, he pastored in Lincoln County for six years before going to First Baptist Church in Purvis, where he was the pastor for 17 years before coming to Trinity.

And through the years, he’s benefitted from the wisdom and support of others.

“I always felt like my father-in-law was a great preacher and I was always intimidated about preaching in front of him, but he was always a great supporter and encourager,” Wright said. “I’ve been blessed to have some other pastors who have been great mentors to me.”

Wright said the call to go to Trinity was a unique situation.

“After leaving Purvis, my wife and I were just trying to search where God would have us to be and our prayer was that God would send us to a spiritually dark place,” he said. “A place where we could really share the gospel and bring hope, and also at the same time we prayed God would send us to a smaller church than where we were at. That we would go to a church that needed to be revitalized.”

They didn’t know where that particular church they were seeking would be, Wright said, adding that when Trinity reached out to them, “it took us 8 to 9 months to finally realize that this was where God was leading us.”

“There’s a lot of people in our congregation that we already knew, and yet there were some who were new faces that we didn’t know; we’re enjoying getting to know them.”

Wright said he spends his mornings studying to prepare for preaching and teaching, “And then I spend a good bit of my time building relationships and talking with people.”

The family’s decision to live in the Downtown Vicksburg area gives him the opportunity to meet and talk with people.

“My wife and I, when we came and surveyed the area to determine where we wanted to live, we decided to live downtown,” he said. “We live in one of the condos downtown and we love to be out on the street, meet people talk with people and just get to know the people of Vicksburg.

“We love to get out. We love to run, walk, get exercise and ride bikes and living downtown affords that opportunity to get out and mingle with folks.”

Presently, Wright said, he and his wife are getting to know the members of their church.

“Right now we’re getting to know the people and personalities, so we’re kind of evaluating things right now; we’re not making any changes in anything,” he said.

“I think my responsibility is to lead the church, not to dictate, so we’re going through a process. We’re having some church family meetings every Wednesday night where we’re discussing everything we’re doing in church, why we’re doing it and how we’re doing it, and from those discussions, it will lead us into some self-discovery and hopefully, it will rebuild the changes that we need to make.”

Looking back, Wright said he never had any doubts about his call to the ministry.

“In the process of coming here (Trinity), there were doubts but once that decision was made, we just felt confirmation from God that this was the right decision and we’ve never looked back.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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