Ordinary People / Extraordinary Lives

Randy Dodd and Sherri Wehunt grew up in Henry County where they attended Fairview Elementary and Stockbridge High. Randy, three years older, was first introduced to Sherri in the late sixties when Sherri came into the youth group at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Ellenwood. The youth group was a dynamic company of teens where every individual was given a substantial amount of mentoring, a public voice, and a nudge into active ministry. It was there Randy and Sherri surrendered for full-time ministry. And fell in love.

They were officially engaged the night Sherri graduated from Stockbridge High. Academically, Sherri had at that point accelerated through high school. She went on to fast-track through college as well. She graduated with a three-year degree from Tennessee Temple University at age 18. She and Randy married three weeks after she celebrated her eighteenth birthday.

They moved as missionaries to the Arctic country of Norway in the winter of 1976, serving under the auspices of an independent Baptist mission agency and receiving financial support from more than 70 independent Baptist churches around the nation. Sherri was 19 at the time of the move. Randy had been 23 for less than a month. Randy confesses, “they cried themselves to sleep in each other’s arms during their first week in Norway, wondering if moving so far away at such a young age had been a mistake.”

Trying to be confident in their “calling,” though, they eventually settled in and began learning the Norwegian language. Their intention was to plant a Bible-believing church for the Norwegian people. Contrary to their plan, the church that developed under their leadership became an international mix of people and cultures. They were eventually working with people from more than 35 different nations.

Within weeks of organizing the new church, Randy and Sherri found that the legalistic rules they were accustomed to in the south were being severely challenged. They had grown up under “spiritual” rules such as: No dancing. No rhythmic music. No drums. No electric guitars. No movie theaters. No alcohol consumption. No card games. No dice. No piercings. No tattoos. No mixed swimming. No beards. No English version of the Bible other than the King James. No slacks on women. The list went on and on.

They quickly learned—from an international perspective—that many of these “legalistic” rules were simply cultural mores, southern traditions, and personal convictions of generations past. And, that God happened to be a bit more gracious. They were ultimately cut free from their far-right mindset.

Randy, out of the pain of relearning, eventually wrote a novel to illustrate the destructiveness of legalism in the church—the strict imposition of man made rules taught in the “name of God.” The novel, titled ‘Wisdom Hunter’, was published in 1991 and became a national bestseller. The president of Randy and Sherri’s mission agency fired the fifteen-year veterans the same day he read the book. The 5,000 independent Baptist churches directly associated with their mission agency blacklisted the couple because of the book’s “offensive” message.

Randy and Sherri, shortly thereafter, joined a non-denominational mission agency, raised new monthly support from “more grace-oriented” churches, then went on to plant international churches in Munich and Berlin, Germany.

The couple returned to the states in 1998 after serving overseas for twenty-two years. Randy claims it took him several years to readjust to the states. His motorcycle, he claims, reintroduced him to grassroots America and restored his love for the south. Since their return to the states, they have based their ministry out of Stockbridge for the purpose of being close to Randy’s mother—their only surviving parent—who turned 99 on November 1. His mother, raised near Stone Mountain, has now lived in Henry county for fifty-four years.

Currently serving as the European representative for Global Ministries Foundation, a non-denominational mission agency, Randy recruits, trains, and leads short-term mission teams to serve alongside evangelical churches in Europe. He has now led over 75 trips to more than 15 different European countries.

In addition, he has continued to write bestselling novels. He writes under the name Randall Arthur. He is currently working on his fifth novel. You can preview the books on Amazon.

For fun and therapy, Randy rides motorcycles. In 2001 he established a motorcycle group called AOK (Acts of Kindness). The group is made up of Christian businessmen, many from Henry County. The group takes several multi-day rides each year. Along the way, they do home-repair projects for needy families, work at orphanages, and lead church services. Their rides have now taken them to hundreds of locations throughout the eastern-third of the United States. Randy incorporated many of these adventures in his latest novel, Forgotten Road.

Since returning to the states, Sherri has founded and led a nonprofit organization called Advance Global Coaching (www.AdvanceGlobalCoaching.com). AGC is an organization that brings life coaching to the world of missions. Sherri and her team of coaches have now coached missionaries in over 40 countries. They also coach mission pastors, missionary young-adults returning to the states to attend college, and the parents of missionaries. AGC’s biggest partner to date is Andy Stanley and North Point Community Church in Alpharetta. AGC is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Randy and Sherri have three adult children. Their two daughters were born in Norway. Their son was born in Germany. The oldest daughter lives in Arizona as a wife and mother of three. The second daughter lives in Spain where she has served as a missionary for eight years. Their son is currently taking a break from Georgia Tech.

This year, Randy and Sherri celebrate 42 years of marriage, as well as 42 years of ministry. It all began for them in Henry County. In Randy’s words, “Sherri and I are just ordinary people who have been fortunate enough to live extraordinary lives.”

To contact Randy and/or Sherri about the mission trips, the novels, the motorcycle trips, or the life-coaching, you can reach them at rdhus@aol.com.