Danny Cochran retires after a long and fruitful ministry


CHATSWORTH, Ga. — After 45 years of a pastoral, teaching, and mentoring ministry and almost a quarter of a century as pastor of Holly Creek Baptist Church in Chatsworth, Dr. Danny Cochran has retired from full-time ministry. His fervent prayer is that he will be able to continue to encourage pastors and help churches as God grants him the opportunity to do so.

In reflecting on his ministry, Cochran explained, “My greatest joy has been seeing the Lord bring transformation to individual’s lives through His Word. There is no greater thrill than seeing lives changed through God’s amazing grace.”

While serving the Lord at Holly Creek, Cochran was privileged to see 717 believers baptized into the fellowship of the church, the ordination of eight souls into the Gospel ministry, and the ordination of two dozen deacons. In the course of his service to the Chatsworth church, a Christian Life Center was constructed, providing the perfect venue for Upward Basketball and multiple events for every demographic in the Chatsworth area. 

Cochran added, “The Christian Life Center was a major accomplishment for our church and became the perfect place for our church members to enjoy athletics, fellowship, share their faith and see God change lives.”

Cochran has been a champion for the cause of Christ not only in Chatsworth, but in Georgia and beyond. He has served on the GBC Executive Committee, the Board of Trustees for Shorter University, various GBC Committees, and was elected as one of the Convention's vice presidents. He has also been on mission in Honduras and Romania.

Darey Kittle, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Dalton and Missionary for the Conasauga Baptist Association, testified, “Danny Cochran has done more to mentor and train young preachers than almost anyone. He has taken disadvantaged and unlearned men who have been called by God to preach and taught them how to build sermons and serve churches. He has given them confidence and ongoing support with his knowledge and concern for their ministry – and he has done this on his own in addition to pastoring a wonderful congregation and teaching at Tennessee Temple."

Cochran’s involvement in the community has been extensive. Murray County Sheriff Jimmy Davenport sometimes thinks of Cochran, who is the chaplain of the sheriff’s department and the Chatsworth police department, as a father figure since the death of his own father six years ago.

Davenport commented, “Danny Cochran is a pillar of the community. When a tragedy in our county calls for grief counseling, I call Danny and he has never failed to respond to my request for help. I love him as a Christian brother. He is a genuine Christian. If we could all be like him, the world would be a better place.”

The interests of Danny Cochran have been extensive and fascinating. Through the years he has enjoyed hunting raccoons, riding his bicycle six miles up Fort Mountain and making a circuitous route of 30 miles back to his home. However, nothing surpasses his love for Christ and his commitment to preaching the Gospel, teaching college and seminary students and studying the Greek language.

The Holly Creek pastor has been known for his rich, folksy quotes. Robert Richardson, the church’s worship pastor hailed Cochran as a faithful, selfless leader, but also cited some of his quotes like: “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.”

Ricardson added, “For people who think more highly of themselves than they ought to think, the pastor would say, ‘I would like to buy them for what they are worth and sell them for what they think they are worth.’

“He would talk about the time when as a boy he found a puppy, just a mutt, but his dad refused to let him keep it. Danny was heartbroken, but days later his dad came home with a beautifully-bred Black and Tan Coonhound. He would use that as an illustration to tell us that too often we settle for a mutt, when God wants to give us a thoroughbred.”

Russell Jackson, family pastor at Holly Creek, stated, “Our pastor has been a loyal, devoted servant of God. He has been thoroughly involved in the life of our community, has demonstrated a great compassion for the lost and has earnestly attempted to lead them to Christ. He has been a friend to everyone and has treated everyone with the same kind of love and respect.”

Pastor Cochran received a bachelor’s degree from Luther Rice College, earned a master’s degree and Doctor of Ministry Degree from Liberty University, and received a Ph.D. from Piedmont International University (now Carolina University). He also taught at Tennessee Temple and Piedmont International University. He is an avid student and devotee of the Greek language.

 “I am probably the only preacher in Georgia who would go raccoon hunting with a Greek vocabulary list in the pocket of his overalls,” he quipped.

Cochran explained, “I taught Bible and ministry related classes at both undergraduate and masters’ levels. Then I became the director of the Doctor of Ministry program which involved teaching some of the D. Min classes and serving as project supervisor for some students.

“Before teaching at Tennessee Temple, I had a ministry-based partnership with Moody Bible Institute offering undergraduate classes on campus with undergraduate credit being granted through Moody.”

The thought of retirement is difficult for most pastors, but Cochran hopes to gracefully shift gears to a slower pace. He stated, “If I could start my ministry all over again, I would try to moderate my type A personality, to be less busy, and focus on strengthening relationships. I would want to do fewer things with better quality.   

“I have been asked to continue writing articles for the local newspaper and hope to do some supply preaching. My first preaching assignment will be at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Snellville.

“Having more time for hunting, hiking, and bike riding are on the agenda. I also hope to visit Alaska, and New England again and may even include a road trip out West.”

When asked about being available for his wife Tina’s “honey-do” list the retiring pastor exclaimed, “I become a nervous wreck when I begin to ponder the ideas that will hatch in her brain now that she knows I will have more discretionary time. However, to be perfectly honest, I look forward to doing work around the house together with her without being conscious of time.”