Dr. G. Douglas Ripley, was raised in Greenville, Tennessee. He grew up in a totally non-Christian home. At the age of 17, his brother Jerry (who had been saved only a few weeks) told him how Jesus had changed his life and how He would change his if he would receive Him as Savior. That night, January 1, 1970, he heard the gospel for the first time and invited Christ to become his Savior. He immediately began to read the Bible and attend church. Within a few weeks he felt the call of God on his life to be a pastor, so he enrolled in Gulf Coast Bible College (Anderson Church of God) that fall. He traveled as a student evangelist representing the college through his Junior year.
Bro. Doug met his wife Katy in April, 1972, while preaching a revival in her church, and they were married in November, 1972. At that time he stopped traveling and became an interim Pastor in a nearby city. After that, he became a minister of music in an area church until he completed his education in December 1973.
That same month he and Katy moved to Morristown, Tennessee where he became Pastor of the First Church of God. The church pulled out of the Church of God in 1980 and became Open Door Baptist Church. In their 12 years there, the church grew from 16 to over 1000 members, went through one relocation and four major building programs.
In December, 1985, Bro. Doug, his wife Katy and their children, Jeremy and Jessica (Jeremy went to be with the Lord in August, 2004) moved to Decatur, Alabama where he became Pastor of Moulton Heights Baptist Church. This new ministry role brought great joy and also great challenges. Moulton Heights began to grow rapidly as many came to personal faith in Jesus Christ. Under Bro. Doug’s leadership new ministries were started to help those converts grow in their new found faith. From the beginning he led the church to disciple those new converts; first though a program called Discipleship Evangelism and later through Life on Life Discipleship. Through these ministries countless lives have been changed for God’s glory.
By the late 80’s the church had outgrown its Old Moulton Road property and decided to relocate to 30 acres on Danville Road in Southwest Decatur. In the spring of 1988 the new campus was completed and on a Sunday night the church began the service at the Old Moulton Road campus, traveled in a processional to the Danville Road Campus, and completed the service in the new facility. The church grew rapidly and it wasn’t long until there was a need for additional space, at that time the church completed the balcony in the auditorium and added educational space in the family life center. In 1993 the church added a new office complex with additional educational space and in 1999 a new preschool and elementary wing were added. The church’s continued growth called for the addition of a new sanctuary and on February 8th, 2004, the moved into the current sanctuary. The first service in the new sanctuary had over 2000 in attendance.
Under the leadership of Bro. Doug the church has given almost 20 million dollars to the cause of world missions over the past 34 years.
Today there are 10 families on the mission field, 9 men serving as lead pastors, and 10 men serving on pastoral staffs, all trained at Decatur Baptist Church under Bro. Doug’s leadership.
Decatur Baptist began in 1898 as one of twenty-seven churches that established the Morgan Baptist Association of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1960 the church pulled out of the convention and became an Independent Baptist Church but in 2005 the church returned to their roots and again became part of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Bro. Doug’s passions are: 1) his family, 2) World Missions, and 3) Discipleship, Evangelism, Leadership Training, Preaching/Teaching and Church Growth. For recreation, he raises “gaited horses” and loves to trail ride with his granddaughter, Kyleigh.
Bro. Doug has and continues to travel the world with missions, spreading the Gospel and training other pastors to plant churches and lead the way. Here are some of the places he has visited, Cambodia, the Philippines, Mexico, Belize, India, Romania, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Argentina, Nicaragua and El Salvador as well as the Honduras. He was one of the first pastors to visit Albania as the opened the way for evangelical churches to enter their country.
Over the years Bro. Doug has worked diligently and served obediently as the church has grown…He has had several church relocations, rebuilds and upgrades. The property as it stands now has a property value of over 15 million dollars and is debt free!