Men and Women Who Are "SEVEN"
Gene Arthur Armstrong was born in 1945 in the “French City of the Gauls” called Gallipolis, a rural community in the Appalachian hills of southeastern Ohio. He is one of 12 children born to very hard working blue-collar parents. His father, Earl Sr., in order to support this large family, worked hard labor in Dayton, Ohio. There were no major interstate highway systems to rural Ohio back then, so this was a 3½ to 4 hour trip (one-way). His father would stay in Dayton with relatives during the week, and drive home on weekends. While away at work, his wife, my grandmother, took care of 6 boys and 5 girls during the segregated times of the 1940’s and 50’s. To help, she also worked as a beautician in Gallipolis, becoming one of the few minority-owned businesses during that period.
It was watching his parent’s mindset of “doing-whatever-it-takes” to keep food on the table, that gave my father and all his siblings such a drive and determination for giving a hard day’s work for a good day’s pay. After nearly 40 years of dedicated service, dad retired from Kyger Creek Power Plant in 2008 as a Master Welder. This was one of the highest positions in the plant that a minority could achieve, and he held that position for nearly 20 years before retirement.
My grandmother was very deeply rooted in her faith, and was known for morning, noonday, and evening prayer. This took place daily (regardless of what you were doing, or whether or not you had friends or guests visiting), if you were within ear shot of Margaret Armstrong, she made sure you stopped to have scripture and prayer with her and her children. These times were mighty moments and seeds of faith planted in my father’s heart at a very young age.
With age, those seeds began to grow in the life of my father. As a result, I have had the unique experience of watching my father grow in his Christian faith following his rededicating his life to Christ when I was 9. By the time I was 11, dad had taken on the responsibility of being Sunday school teacher, by my 14th birthday they had asked Dad to be a deacon and when I reached 16, dad was a lay minister. I will never forget his accepting his call to a preaching ministry when I was 18, and then becoming a pastor, during my senior year of undergraduate studies. This took place in the same church in which I grew up where we attended as a family.
Today, my father is the senior pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church Bidwell, Ohio, and will be celebrating his 19th year as pastor this November. My “preacher’s kid” experience did not give me the typical response of many “PK’s” that watched (and had to share) their father in ministry with the church throughout their entire childhood; I came to appreciate the transformational power of the Lord and the word of God as my father grew in the word before my very eyes. His growth, and my mother’s support of him and our family throughout that time, is the foundation upon which I stand.
Earlier this year, my father reached the pinnacle of seminary training by obtaining his Doctorate of Theology Degree from Trinity College of the Bible and Trinity Theological Seminary. Dad, I will forever be grateful for the many truths you have planted in my life. Thank you for being who you are in Christ. – Phil
Pastor Armstrong, this SPOTLIGHT is for YOU! As founders of A Mighty Sound and SEVEN, Janie and I are joined by the Founding Members of SEVEN in welcoming you, to our SPOTLIGHT. In addition, by unanimous endorsement by the members of SEVEN, we celebrate both your past accomplishments and your continued commitment to your family and the members and friends of your congregation, by naming you, Pastor Gene Arthur Armstrong, an Honorary Member of SEVEN.