The last time the Rev. Robert Morgan led a retreat in Columbus, the evening was disrupted by a force of nature. It was the evening of March 1, 2007.
“We were interrupted by a tornado,” said Morgan, who returns Oct. 17 to headline “An Evening With Rob Morgan” at St. Mark United Methodist Church.
Morgan, 57, is the author of “The Red Sea Rules”; “My All in All”; “The Promise”; and “Lola Mazola,” among other works. For nearly 30 years, he’s been the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship, a Freewill Baptist congregation in Nashville. “My wife and I had been married a year,” he recalled. “We’d been about 2 1/2 years at my previous church (in Greeneville, Tenn.) It was an ideal place to get started but I was getting restless because there was no real population to draw from.
“Now I tell people we’re stuck because no one else will have us.”
Morgan was being self-effacing. Under his leadership, The Donelson Fellowship has grown from about 100 members to 1,000.
“We’ve grown steadily and a lot of people have gotten help,” he said. “I’m very grateful.”
Morgan’s presentation will come largely from “The Red Sea Rules,” his 2003 best-seller whose theme comes from the ancient Israelites’ precarious position between slavery and freedom.
“In 2000, I had a real serious problem that I didn’t know what to do with. I was on an airplane. My own pattern in the mornings is to drink coffee and read the Bible. I was alone by the window and we took off. I was reading Exodus 14. The Israelities were facing a hopeless problem. They were between Pharaoh and the Red Sea. ...
“It was very unusual. It was almost as if the Lord had sat down beside me. I got this message in rapid fire. These were originally 10 observations that were meant just for me. It turned into a sermon series, ‘God Will Make a Way.’
“I never expected (the book) to take off. There was no marketing or publicity,” Morgan said.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association recently ordered 60,000 copies of “The Red Sea Rules” for its Golden Library. With this book and about 20 other titles, he has more than 2 million books in print circulation, and is now a brand author of B & H Publishing. He is also a staff writer for David Jeremiah and Turning Points Magazine. Morgan’s books have been translated into Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Indonesian and Korean.
Morgan and his wife, who has multiple sclerosis, travel when they can to the east Tennessee bed and breakfast that they co-own at Roan Mountain.
“On any given day that’s where I’d rather be,” he said.
He has roots in that area. Morgan’s grandfather, who died in 1918, was a part-time farmer who walked across the mountains, holding revivals. “In 1905 or ’06, there was a spiritual movement that swept the world. My grandfather had so many conversions and there were churches established,” said Morgan.
“It was a highly Christianized area. I didn’t know people who didn’t go to church. We opened our school day with prayer,” he said. “That milieu gives you a lot of information that is stored away that is very helpful.”
A letter to area pastors about the Morgan event was signed by The Revs. Ashley Randall of St. Mark; Dexter James of Central Baptist Church in Phenix City; David Howle of Ladonia Baptist Church in Phenix City; and Marvin Schuster, CEO of Schuster Enterprises and a member of Edgewood Baptist Church.