The tragic automobile accident that killed his father caused Terry Moncrief to turn his back on God. After all, he reasoned, how could a loving God do that to his family? He struggled with that question, but two years to the day later, he made a profession of faith.
“On August 20, 1965—the day my father died—I declared there was no God,” said Terry. “I was disenchanted with what I thought was a racist church.” To add to his misery, a month after his father’s death, his atheist girl friend broke up with him, and he almost flunked out of Georgia Tech.
“There was a fellow student at Georgia Tech who wouldn’t leave me alone about God, though,” remembers Terry. “Ken Parlan was in love with Jesus Christ. Through his witness, God began working on my heart. I accepted a job at Ridgecrest Conference center in 1967.” That time allowed him to hear about and experience God in a new way.
“In a chapel service on August 20, 1967—two years to the day when my father was killed—I went forward and gave my life to Christ. The couple who counseled me were David and Helen Beal, directors of Techwood Baptist Center in Atlanta. I told them that God might want me to be a missionary in the city, and they told me all about the ministry at Techwood. David said he had an immediate need for a football coach for a group of 9- to 12-year old boys. He gave me a challenge: ‘If God wants you to be a missionary, come and throw some football with these guys and coach their team. I’ll lead them in Bible study. Come see if God is indeed calling you.’”
Terry took the challenge and God affirmed the call. Still, Terry had no way of knowing then that God would place him years later—after seminary and service in another Baptist center—as pastor/director of the same Techwood Baptist Center, taking over after David Beal moved to another ministry position in the Atlanta Baptist Association. Terry has now served the center for 31 years.
In that first experience as a coach at Techwood, one of the boys who made an impression on Terry was nine-year-old Kenny Cash. “When I returned to the center in 1972, Kenny was in high school. Kenny was such a strong witness. It was obvious God was working in his life.”
Several years later, Kenny contacted Terry about volunteering at the center. “I told him that I had these teenage boys who needed a basketball coach,” recalled Terry. “He came and served faithfully as Bible study leader and coach. Today he’s on the staff at Techwood as youth pastor and a Mission Service Corps missionary.”
The residents and area surrounding Techwood was originally low-income and impoverished. However, in 1991, when Atlanta got the Olympics, the neighborhood experienced a renovation. Today it is a mixed-income housing development, with low income residents making up 60 percent of the population and the other residents more economically stable. Yet, many of the residents who were displaced and dispersed throughout the city during the renovation are still actively involved in the ministries of the center.
“God is using those who used to live in the low-income housing project to light up the city all over,” said Terry. “We have 13 families in the southeast and southwest part of the city who host home Bible studies. There are 50 families who have committed to hosting a house church in their homes.”
One of Terry’s favorite verses is Titus 3:4: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
He remembers the kindness and love shown to him and is eager to pass that along to others. “Ken Parlan was a young Georgia Tech student who loved me unconditionally when I was angry and bitter toward God,” said Terry. “My parents had loved me unconditionally. I’ve learned that there’s nothing too hard for God, so I’m not going to give up on anyone.”
Pray for Terry and his family in this challenging and rewarding ministry. He and his wife Becky will celebrate 34 years of marriage in December. They have three children, Karen, Lori, and Cathryne. They have five grandsons and are expecting another grandchild soon.
Terry’s prayer requests:
Pray for the training of “shepherds” and “assistant shepherds” for the house churches.
Pray for the families we are working with to become strong godly families and for the young people to be able to be godly people in their neighborhoods.
Pray for the new mission at Centennial Place and for volunteers to help us establish learning centers as we start the house churches and the ministry closer to the people.
Pray that Southern Baptists will continue their collecting and giving of soup labels to our ministry so that we can receive a free van.
If you would like to send soup labels to Terry, do so by sending to:
Techwood Baptist Center
156 Parker St NW
Atlanta, GA 30313-2140