Elmin K. Howell
of Kerens, Navarro County, Texas


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Kerens native honored

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AMARILLO — Texas Baptist missions leader and Kerens native Elmin K. Howell Jr. received the W. Winfred Moore Award for Lifetime Ministry Achievement during a presentation held in conjunction with the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting in Amarillo.

Baylor University and The Baptist Standard presented the award during a Friends of Truett Seminary dinner.

Elmin Howell’s philosophy of ministry centers on a simple conviction — the spiritual needs of the world are too great to be met by preachers alone. From the colonias along the Rio Grande to an urban neighborhood in transition, he has focused on mobilizing all God’s people — clergy and laity — for missions and ministry.

In the spring of 1968, Howell — a former coach — put his team-building ability to the test when he accepted the challenge of launching a ministry to meet spiritual and physical needs along both sides of the Texas/Mexico border. Initially, the Baptist General Convention of Texas and its State Missions Commission envisioned a two or three year program, and administrators told Howell his salary would have to be funded entirely through the Mary Hill Davis Offering because no Cooperative Program funds were available. Howell led what came to be known as River Ministry for 30 years, coordinating the work of more than 10,000 volunteers a year much of that time. During his tenure as River Ministry director, 706 churches and two Baptist associations were started on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande, six children’s homes were established and 67 health clinics were built. Under Howell’s leadership, River Ministry developed a volunteer field staff of 45 regional consultants, and about 900 summer missionaries served in hands-on ministry along the border.

After he retired from the BGCT Executive Board staff, Howell discovered 40,000 people representing nine ethnic groups lived within a five-mile radius of Shiloh Terrace Baptist in Dallas, where he and his wife, Betty, are members. He also found out more than half lacked medical insurance. In response, the church helped give birth to Mission East Dallas, and Howell served for a time as president of the nonprofit ministry’s board of directors. Mission East Dallas has provided health care for more than 5,000 patients in eastern Dallas County, and at least 600 people have come to faith in Christ through its ministries.

Most recently, Howell has helped to launch a Bible study in at the civic center in Canton to coincide with First Monday Trade Days — an event that brings 7,000 vendors and up to 300,000 visitors to the East Texas town each month.

The W. Winfred Moore Award for Lifetime Ministry Achievement recognizes a Texas Baptist minister, in any area of specialization, for a lifetime achievement in ministry. A minister meriting consideration should have a cumulative record of service that exemplifies commitment, stability and effectiveness.

W. Winfred Moore, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, exemplifies lifetime achievement in ministry because of his presence, perseverance, preaching and practice of the Christian faith.

Published: November 25, 2007 11:37 pm

 

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