Jim Wright receiving Network 1:27’s Lifetime Achievement Award
from Vicki Rhodes on December 10, 2020. He will be retiring after 27 years as
Executive Director of Childhaven in Cullman, Alabama.
Born James Houston Wright on Sunday October 10, 1954 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to Nora Ann and Olney Houston Wright Jr. Jim had younger sister Nancy Ann Wright, and younger brother William Olney Wright.
The family moved to Maryland for a short time where his dad served in the military. They made a couple more moves before finally settling in Huntsville, Alabama when Jim was 8 years old. In Huntsville, his dad worked as a mechanical engineer with NASA. His mom was a devoted, loving parent who, as an elementary school teacher, made sure her family was well-cared for and understood the importance of education. Together they taught Jim the love of Christ and the importance of service and mission. Jim’s devotion to mission work developed as his parents hosted many missionaries in their home. As a result, since his teens, Jim has worked in the mission field, both in the United States and abroad.
In January 1972, while a senior in high school, Jim met Deborah Gail Foote, who would later become his wife.
On December 29, 1973 Jim married Debbie at Mayfair Church of Christ. Recently they celebrated their 46th anniversary. Together, they raised three children – Daniel James Wright, Elizabeth Ann Wright Nichols, and Richard Olney Wright. As their children have grown up and married, the little family of two has grown to fifteen including spouses and 7 grandchildren. Jim is a devoted and loving father and grandfather.
After graduating from Grissom High School in June of 1972, he attended David Lipscomb College earning a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology along with a certification in Secondary Education in 1976. As all students who attended Lipscomb at that time, he earned the equivalent hours of a Bible minor while attending the required Bible classes. While a college student, he also began to preach bi-monthly for Pleasant Hill Church of Christ, a small rural church located in Knob Lick, Kentucky. They taught this young preacher so many things about service as they guided him, loved him, and fed him delicious Sunday dinners!!! During his senior year at Lipscomb, he began preaching at Sycamore Chapel Church of Christ in Ashland City, Tennessee located just outside Nashville, Tennessee.
After graduation from Lipscomb, Jim began working full-time with the congregation at Sycamore Chapel. He and Debbie’s first two children were born during these years and they continue to have a relationship with friends from those days. While serving the congregation, he earned his M.A. in clinical counseling from Middle Tennessee State University in June of 1981. His training in this field was needed and useful as a minister.
Jim remained there until January 1982 when he moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. There he began serving as the minister for North Central Church of Christ. In addition to preaching, teaching, and making hospital visits he also provided counseling to members of the congregation and the community. Jim and Debbie welcomed their third child while living here. During his time in Indianapolis, he began taking classes towards a Doctor of Ministry degree. It was also while living in Indianapolis, his brother was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1987.
In 1988, Jim made the difficult decision to leave North Central Church and head back south to a new work closer to family. Arriving in June of that year, he became the minister for the Woodstock Church of Christ located in Woodstock, Georgia just NE of metro Atlanta. Again, while fulfilling the responsibilities of local church work, counseling in the church and community, and leading and loving his family, he continued to pursue his doctorate. He served the church in Woodstock for five years.
Little did he know as God led him to Childhaven in Cullman, Alabama in October of 1993 that he would spend the rest of his career here and love the work! Jim also completed his studies and earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in the spring of 2000 from Southern Christian University (now known as Amridge University) located in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to his work at Childhaven, he taught Bible classes, led grief support groups, and served as an elder at Cullman Church of Christ for eleven years. Along the way he served in leadership roles for many boards, booster clubs, service groups, and foundations at the local, state, national and international level.
As Executive Director, he found a place to passionately serve for the past 27 years. He still says, “I have the best job in the world!” But it has really been more than a job, it has been a passion. God is so good.