Coca-Cola, the PCA, and Generosity

John Albritton’s childhood revolved around two historic institutions: Coca-Cola and Trinity Presbyterian Church. Both shaped his life in their own unique way.

His grandparents were one of the first Coca-Cola bottlers in the US. They distributed Coca-Cola across southeast Alabama from their bottling center in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of going into the family business, John decided to pursue a career in law. His family’s business success introduced him to the usefulness of trusts and estate planning.

John grew up in Montgomery across the street from Trinity Presbyterian Church. He took the short walk across the street almost every Sunday. Looking back, he admits he actually became a Christian when he was 28.

“I didn’t know the Lord–even though I was a member of that church for more than 20 years,” John said. “Sam Patterson, the founder of Reformed Theological Seminary, was leading a spiritual renewal week. My wife and I went, and I had no thoughts of answering an altar call, but it was like someone else had control of my feet. That’s when I came to know Christ.”

His life was set on a different trajectory. He would spend the rest of his life finding ways to use his vocational skills to advance God’s kingdom.

After practicing law for ten years, he went to lead the trust department at AmSouth Bank in Montgomery. The Lord gave John success in his field. So much so, others began to notice.

“In 1981, I was peacefully minding my own business when I received a conference call out of the blue from Jack Williamson and Tom Leopard. They said, ‘Look, we’re forming a separate corporation for the PCA. It will be a foundation. You know about all of this type of work. Would you be interested in taking four years to get it off the ground?’ I replied, ‘Y’all need someone, but that person isn’t me.’”

Towards the end of the phone call, John accepted. He would take on the challenge of building a foundation. “But I’ll be there for no more than four years,” he said he told them.

Four years soon turned into 35 years. John has served and volunteered as a board member with the PCA Foundation in some capacity since 1981.

“When we started, the PCA Foundation used to be a two-person operation,” John said. “I’ve watched the foundation grow in staff along with the size of its assets over the years. We began with $225,000 and now have approximately $87 million. We have distributed about $160 million to Christian ministries. It’s amazing. God has been generous to this foundation.”

John set up the PCA Foundation to be entirely self-funded. “We’re not an agency that asks our denomination for money for our operational expenses,” John said. “We send the money out. We seek to see God’s Kingdom advance all over the globe through funding the work of PCA churches and various Christian ministries.”

The PCA Foundation facilitates generosity to advance God’s kingdom. Last year, the PCA Foundation granted over $5 million to local churches in the PCA–more money in one year than ever before.

The PCA Foundation has stewarded generosity well over the years, but “the best is yet to come,” John said. “I’m excited to see how the Lord uses the foundation to accomplish His ends. We’ve been faithful so far, and I’m excited to see how the generous impact of the PCA Foundation will change the world.”

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