No. 963



The English statesman and orator Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This is so true and applies to much of our society today.
A good friend of mine in Conway is the Rev. Dr. Larry Pillow. Larry is originally from Monette, Ark., and grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. Despite his upbringing he succeeded in getting an education, including a doctoral degree. He began working in the campus ministry at the University of Central Arkansas, then as associate pastor at First Baptist Church and later becoming pastor at Second Baptist Church, one of the largest in our community.
However, in a span of six months (September 1999 to February 2000), he suffered three major losses -- the loss of a marriage of 30 years, the loss of a ministry at the same church of 17 years, and the death of his mother. By this time his children were grown. Four years later in September 2003, his middle son died from a drug overdose in Dallas.
Naturally he was devastated, but his pain became a catalyst and motivated him to address the terrible problem of addiction in our community. (This is true for practically every other community in America, and probably includes yours.) In just four years he has helped to start a residential recovery program that came to be known as Renewal Ranch.
James Loy, who had also become an addict but was saved from addiction through the power of Jesus Christ in a ministry at Batesville called John 3:16, has served as Executive Director since it opened in January 2011. Renewal Ranch accepts no help from the government and is supported entirely by the faith community. Typical treatment programs run by the state offer no spiritual help and only keep an addict for 30 days, not nearly enough time for addicts to get the help they need. On the other hand, Renewal Ranch will work with men for 12 months and help them find a job, at no cost to the individual.
This ministry has now been in existence for more than three years. Their motto is “Restoring Broken Lives through Christ.” The men get a steady diet of prayer and Bible study. Fifteen pastors and several laymen from churches in our area help them day by day to discover their true identity as new creatures instead of addicts. For more information visit their website: These men visit a variety of churches, plus they do volunteer work in the community. The program has a 70 percent success rate, in contrast with secular (not faith based) programs that are less than 10 percent.
Earlier this year, men from Renewal Ranch conducted the evening service at our church. It was a tremendous blessing to hear the testimonies of these men who had caused so much pain, suffering and heartache for themselves and their families. It was wonderful to see 26 men from the Ranch lined up across our stage at church and our members gave them a standing ovation numerous times.
Larry Pillow is the Founder and Chaplain for this ministry. He is also a founding member of the Conway Bookcase Project Committee. He is truly giving back and I know it blesses him deeply to see what God has done through his life and ministry.
Here is the bottom line and, regardless of where you are reading this column, the reason this ministry got off the ground is because one man, the Rev. Dr. Larry Pillow, was not willing to “sit back and do nothing.” Edmund Burke would be proud. I believe you will agree that we can all do more to make our communities a better place to live. Go ahead and get started.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)