George W. Truett, SBC Leader
1867 to 1944
Pastor, University President,
Young George Washington Truett followed his parents to Whitewright, Texas, where he joined a local Baptist congregation. In a short time, the leadership and people of the church became very much impressed with his teaching and speaking abilities. He was elected to be their Sunday school superintendant. The young man would also take the pulpit in the pastor's absence.
Even though Truett had enrolled in the Grayson Junior College, the Whitewright congregation had other plans toput his gifts to work for God.
The membership of the church encouraged him to consider God's calling to the ministry. So much were they convinced regarding his talents and abilities that they urged him to be ordained on a Saturday in 1890 and then did so on Sunday.
Little did they know that their being used of God to spur Truett on to enter the ministry would begin a series of events in his life that would tremendously impact the Southern Baptist Convention of that day.
Truett followed God's leading by enrolling as a ministerial student at Baylor University. Again, his gift of oratory was noticed. He came to the attention of the university leadership and was asked to serve as their financial secretary. He amazed everyone by raising the sum of $92,000.00 (an amazing amount of money at that time) to pay off the school's indebtedness. He accomlished this in just twenty-three months. It was only after this goal was met that he enrolled as a freshman.
While studying for the ministry, he also pastored the East Waco Baptist Church. He married Josephine Jenkins, a fellow student, on June 28, 1894, and they raised three daughters.
Just two years later, 1897, Truett became the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. He continued to lead the church for forty-seven years until his death in July of 1944. During his long and successful pastorate, the membership increased from some 700 to over 7,800. He also led 37 annual summer "Cowboy Camp Meetings" in West Texas to encourage pastors. He was constantly in demand as a speaker due to both his strong emphasis on evangelism even when presenting theoloical sermons. In fact, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to preach to the Allied Forces for six months during World War I.
Truett served as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and of the Baptist World Alliance from 1927 to 1929. In 1930, he was the only American speaker to be invited to London, England to address the Spurgeon Centenary.
Between 1934 and 1939, he served as a trustee for the Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Baylor Hospital.
Truett's fourteen volumes of sermons and a biography are still available.
Would anyone disagree with the Whitewright congregation for having pushed the young George W. Pruett toward the ministry?
[From "All About Baptists" via the Internet. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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