By Chuck Bailey
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Don Vaughn writes a regular article for this publication “Vaughan’s Vocabulary”. His article, most of you are familiar with, provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.
Don was recently named pastor at Crossroads Baptist Church in Choctaw County. The Church is located at 1580 Crossroads Church Road, about 2 ½ miles southeast of Mathiston at the intersection of Reed and Crossroads Church Roads off Highway 15. The congregation has Sunday school at 10 a.m. and services at 11 p.m. with a Sunday evening worship service at 5 p.m.
“We are so thankful and grateful to have such a wonderful man to lead our Church,” says song leader Mary Sue Kelly. “I truly believe the Lord sent him to us.”
She added that November 1 is Vaughan’s official first day as Crossroads’s Pastor and he will be conducting baptisms. She explained that this will be the first baptism since the sanctuary was built last year.
As Pastor Vaughn begins his forth pastorate in his 26 years of pastoral ministry, he recently discussed his new role:
Tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in the Center Grove community, about 12 miles East of Starkville. I’ve been married for 32 years to Sharon Taylor Vaughan of Eupora. Sharon has been such an encourager to me in the ministry and in all of life. I have a daughter, Noelle, who lives in Birmingham and a son, Paul, who is a senior at Mississippi State. We live in two homes. On the weekends we’re sometimes at the home where Sharon grew up; during the week we’re at the home in which I grew up.
Although I’ve lived in Jackson, Mississippi, Tuscaloosa, and Tupelo, most of my life I’ve lived in Oktibbeha and Webster Counties. I have been a bi-vocational pastor ever since my first pastorate started in May 1989. When Self Creek Southern Baptist Church, southwest of Starkville, graciously gave me my first opportunity to pastor. I also was the morning personality at a radio station in Tupelo. Sharon and our daughter Noelle, who was four at the time, gladly moved from a small apartment in Tupelo to Self Creek’s spacious pastorium.
Not long after that, I became the morning personality at WSS0-AM and WKYJ-FM, which had been a competitor of WKOR, where I was the midday personality from 1977 through 1983. During a significant portion of the time that I worked in radio, I could sense that the Lord’s plan for my life was to teach communication courses in a college setting and to serve as a pastor. In the 1980’s Sharon and I were members of First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa and Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo. Before I was married, I was a member of Maben Baptist Church. The people in these churches encouraged me in my calling to preach. My first three times in the pulpit were at First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, Maben Baptist Church, and Self Creek Baptist Church. Of all of the pastors who were at Self Creek Baptist Church during its 114-year history, Vaughan served the longest (1989-2007).
I did not let it bother me that I was a pastor and an on air personality who played secular music. It made me feel better when, in the early 1990’s, a friend of mine told me that her sister made the comment, “It looks like that church wouldn’t want him playing pop music on the radio” to which she responded, “They’re not narrow-minded like you.”
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s there was a weekly radio show on WKOR called “The Silhouette Shack” with hippie pastor John Rydgren. Several of us kids at Center Grove Baptist Church would be late, on purpose, to catch the first few minutes of the show, which featured Bible teachings and latest top 40 music. This Sunday morning program taught young people like me that being a follower of Christ is cool.
Throughout my 26-year pastoral ministry, I’ve never been a pastor without either working in radio, or teaching on a college campus. From 1997 through 2008 I taught at Mississippi State’s Communication Department in McComas Hall. In 2008 I started teaching public speaking and other communication courses at East Mississippi Community College, Mayhew campus.
I put in about a 10-hour day in Mayhew each week during school. My responsibilities there are I am a public speaking professor. In the spring, I direct the theatrical play we have each year. I am also the general manager and morning personality of, WGTC (92.7 FM), EMCC’s college radio station.
As far as education goes, I received a Bachelor of Arts in 1987 from The University of Alabama in broadcast and film. I have a M.A. Degree Certificate from Southern Baptist Center for Biblical Studies in Jacksonville, Florida, that was conferred July 30, 1993. I also received a Masters in Journalism in 1997 from The University of Mississippi. I received my Doctorate in Mass Communication in 2006 from The University of Southern Mississippi.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I like attending theatrical productions, reading plays, and watching recorded theatrical performances. I also like writing plays. Kathleen Cody, who had roles on CBS’s “The Edge of Night” and ABC’s “Dark Shadows”, and I have been writing a play titled “Eggplant” that my theatre students at East Mississippi Community College in Mayhew will be doing in the spring.
I also like listening to music from the 60’s and 70’s; especially songs that I remember hearing on great top 40 stations like WLS (Chicago) and WKOR. I do the morning show on the radio station at the college and enjoy playing the 70’s at 7.
Who or what influenced you to enter into ministry? Did you have a divine calling? Or did a mentor challenge you?
I sensed the Lord calling me as a man in my late 20’s and early 30’s. What a joy and privilege it is to stand in the pulpit with the Bible in hand and to preach His Word.
Who inspires you today?
Dr. R.C. Sproul of the “Renewing Your Mind” broadcast.
Who are some of your favorite authors and books they have written?
David Jeremiah- “Sanctuary: Finding Moments of Refuge in the Presence of God”
Rick Warren- “The Purpose Drive Life: What on Earth am I Here For?”
William Shakespeare-More than three years ago I started learning more about the plays of Shakespeare. Each semester in my Theatre Appreciation and Public Speaking classes, my students and I watch a recorded performance of one of his plays, choose a topic about it from a list I’ve compiled, and give oral presentations. I choose a different play each semester. The assignment engages the student (and me) in critical thinking. It exposes us to a Shakespeare play (that we might not ever see, had it not been for the assignment). It also improves articulation (listening to a professional troupe’s excellent articulation cannot help but improve ours), and gives us a public speaking opportunity.
What conferences do you enjoy attending?
I love attending the Choctaw County Baptist Associational meeting. I’m so blessed to be a part of this association with great men of God such as Brother Roy Hawkins.
What churches have you grown the most in?
The churches where I’ve grown the most were First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa because of the excellent preaching and Sunday school ministry there. Self Creek Baptist Church was another church where I experienced a lot of spiritual growth.
As I mentioned earlier, it was my first pastoral experience. The flock there allowed me plenty of time to study and prepare.
Tell us what you know about Crossroads Baptist Church?
The people are wonderful. They demonstrated such resiliency in building a beautiful edifice after the fire in the winter of 2014. I know that they want to grow spiritually and numerically. When I was the guest speaker at Crossroads Baptist Church’s summer revival, I thought it would be great to be the pastor of this church.
Do you have anything that you will be trying to implement at Crossroads Baptist Church?
One thing that I am led to implement is outreach. Christians need to knock on the doors of the homes of un-churched people and remind them that the church is there for them. That Christ is there for them. As my friend Brad Latham used to tell me, “We may be the only Bible some individuals read.”