Your gifts to the Ministerial Relief Fund help provide for PCA pastors, widows, and ministry workers in need. Recently, retired Pastor, Rev. Al Bennett sat down with us to share his testimony of God’s faithfulness and provision.
Al’s Early Years
“I will be with him in trouble.” Al Bennett returns to these words from Psalm 91:15 regularly. From his childhood through his years in ministry, Al has encountered trouble in various forms: an absent father, a hiking accident, and disability following an auto accident. Yet, Al is quick to say he has also experienced the presence and grace of God through it all. We recently spoke with Al who agreed to share how God has been with him in the midst of trouble.
Al Bennett was born in 1951. His father returned from World War II with medals and commendations but the effect of war lingered over him. He became addicted to alcohol, something Al believes was likely his way of medicating undiagnosed trauma. Though his father used alcohol to numb himself from the pains of life, it also numbed him from the joys of relationships with his children. As Al tried to earn his father’s approval through schoolwork, his dad never acknowledged his son’s success and did not even attend Al’s college graduation.
The Call to Ministry
After years of feeling fatherless, Al finally discovered the love of God as a sophomore in college. His faith developed quickly and he began sharing his testimony with youth groups at local churches, where he discovered a sense of call to ministry. He soon headed to seminary after meeting and marrying Diann.
Upon graduation from seminary, Al would fill various ministry positions in Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida before finally settling in North Carolina. Al’s childhood had been characterized by relationship issues. Now, his adult years would become characterized by physical issues. The trouble began during his time as Ministry Director at Ridge Haven. He was leading a hiking expedition through the Appalachian Mountains when he fell and seriously injured his back.
The road to recovery included multiple surgeries and physical therapy. Following his third back surgery, he was involved in a car accident that would compound his medical issues and drain his finances. The direct hit he took on the driver’s side damaged his heart to the point where it only works at 28% of its capacity. Moreover, the insurance company of the driver at fault refused to cover the costs of Al’s medical care.
As medical bills began to mount, some fellow ministers encouraged Al to seek help. He contacted PCA Retirement & Benefits who provided Al and his family with structured financial assistance. As a result, they’ve been able to manage the medical bills among normal life expenses. With a weak heart and back, the most basic tasks are challenging for Al. He is not physically able to work or pastor to produce income for his family. The Ministerial Relief Fund provides financial assistance for pastors in need like Al Bennett, made possible by the generosity of churches and individuals.
What does Al want to tell the donors of The Ministerial Relief Fund? As Al puts it, “To the people and churches who support PCA Ministerial Relief, I would say thank you so very, very much. There are brothers and sisters in need in the PCA who are being helped with life’s problems and necessities because of your gracious giving!”
Al Bennett has experienced more than his fair share of trouble. Yet, as he points out, the Lord has been with him. He specifically cites the financial assistance from PCA Ministerial Relief as one of the evidences of God’s grace.
Consider how you and your church can extend God’s grace and look after widows and pastors in need through your gifts to PCA Ministerial Relief.
Geneva Benefits Group serves those who serve others, providing practical support for the financial, physical, and mental wellbeing of people who work in full-time ministry.