Draper Rogers has had a wonderful journey to the ministry. College basketball to a successful corporate career and then a career change – God called – and Draper joined the staff of Gardendale First Baptist Church.
Adding a devotional columnist has been something I wanted to see in The Gardendale News since launch. When it was time, the first person I thought of was Draper Rogers. We are honored to have him.
Tell our readers a little about you and your journey?
My name is Draper Rogers, and I have the honor of serving on staff at Gardendale First Baptist Church as the Pastor of Young Families. I am married to Tinker Rogers, and we have two girls, Zoe and Piper. Tinker and I met at Auburn University Montgomery in June of 1999 and have been together ever since. We moved to Gardendale in 2006 because of the close proximity to our jobs at the time.
You played basketball in college. What lessons did you take from basketball into your life after sports?
I learned two crucial lessons from sports that have benefited me immensely in life. The first lesson is discipline. With any sport, to be good at it, one must be disciplined. The same is true in life. To be good at anything, you must be disciplined to work at it even when things are tough. The second lesson is teamwork. Teamwork is crucial in life. Being part of a team requires a person to think of themselves less and think about the team more. Sometimes in life, you have to sacrifice what you want and desire for the better of the team.
You moved into the corporate world after college and had a successful corporate career. It’s a big change to leave a successful corporate career and go into the ministry. Was that a difficult decision to make?
Yes and no. Let me explain. The process of leaving corporate to go into ministry was not an overnight decision. In fact, it was more than four years in the making. I enjoyed being in corporate America. I had a lot of good friends, and I enjoyed my job. I thought that was what the Lord wanted for me, but I was never satisfied or happy for some reason. After taking my first mission trip to Northern Africa, I told the Lord that I was unsure what he was doing, but I would follow. From that point, I just started to prepare myself by saying “yes” to the opportunities that the Lord brought my way. I actually started seminary while I was still working in my corporate role. I always thought that the Lord would use me to minister at my place of employment. I was shocked when he called me to serve full-time at a church.
You are young families pastor at GFBC, and you also have teenage girls. Has being a dad to younger kids helped bring a different approach to the way you relate to those parents at GFBC?
Yes. My approach to ministry has been shaped by multiple things and events. Tinker and my girls are constantly shaping my approach to ministry. Ministering to families nowadays is not a one-size fits all model. Sometimes, the best way to minister to families is to put an arm around their shoulders and give them an encouraging word or a listening ear. Parenting is tough, but we must remember that God has chosen us to parent the children that He has so graciously given us. Helping parents focus on the truth that they are chosen by God to parent the children that they have helps keep us on the right track.