On Thursday, November 12, 2020, Dr. G. Dean Dickens became the 12th annual recipient of the Maples-Williamson-Daehnert (MWD) Award. The award recognized Dickens as the 2020 Texas Baptist Interim Minister of the Year. He was presented with a perpetually spinning globe, which represents his world travels around the planet and his life of multinational ministry. The award ceremony was held virtually and was attended by fellow interim pastors.
Dickens has served Baptist churches as an interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Texas City, Audubon Park Baptist Church in Garland, Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth and South Garland Baptist Church in Garland. His ministry has helped churches following extremely challenging situations. These circumstances include grief, conflict, financial crisis, and the need for new direction. Dickens has also served as a pastor, church starter, overseas missionary and professor.
Joining Dean for the virtual meeting and presentation was his wife, and co-minister in every place of service, Karr La Dickens. They have been married for 50 years.
Dickens delivered a keynote address, speaking on “Preaching in COVID’s Grip.” He asked his fellow interim pastors to reflect on the adjustments they were making to be more effective during the pandemic. He recommended pastors find a ministry peer they could go to for support when things were difficult and tough choices needed to be made. Dickens also encouraged the pastors to find a way to make church attendees feel cared about and connected to, whether virtually or in person. He asked the interim pastors’ group, “What adjustments are you making for more effective pastoral preaching during these stressful pandemic days?”
Dickens noted that battles were being started over whether a church should open or not, or if a sermon on ethics was too political, when it was just biblical. He emphasized the need pastors have for peer support.
He also asked, “Does your message address the needs of the day?”
Common needs during the pandemic include the loss of income, jobs, health, or family time.
Dean concluded by asking, “Are your listeners given an opportunity for a tangible response?”
The MWD Award was originally presented to its namesakes: Dick Maples, Charles Lee Williamson, and Jan Daehnert. These men brought the vision for a specialized interim ministry to Texas Baptists. Previous recipients of the award include Wallace Watkins, James McGlothlin, Nolan Duck, Les Robinson, Fred Meeks, Jimmy McLeod, Skip McNeal, Dwight Reagan, Levi Price and Rusty Walton.
The award reflects cumulative service, as all these ministers have helped multiple churches through difficult interim periods, excelled in peer reviews of their Intentional Interim Ministries, and provided additional leadership for the Interim Ministry Network of the BGCT.