This June, Texas Baptists is proud to honor two people who have helped mold the direction and effectiveness of Baptist ministry. The 2017 Legacy Award recipients will be Elmin Howell, founder of Texas Baptists’ River Ministry, and Dr. Paul Stripling, executive director emeritus of the Waco Baptist Association.
Howell helped make it possible for all people, not just clergy, to serve those in need. In 1968, he launched River Ministry for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, to meet the spiritual and physical needs of people on both sides of the border.
During his tenure, 670 churches in Texas and in Mexico plus two new Baptist Associations were started on the Mexico side of the border. Six children’s homes and 67 healthcare clinics were established in Mexico. He coordinated the work of more than 10,000 volunteers per year. Howell also developed a volunteer field staff of 45 consultants and about 900 summer missionaries. Many of these became denominational leaders and foreign missionaries.
After retiring, Howell served as president of the board of directors for Mission East Dallas Medical Clinic for three years. Mission East Dallas is a ministry of Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church that has provided healthcare for more than 7,000 patients and at least 400 people have come to faith in Christ through its ministries.
In 2005, Howell helped to launch a Bible Study in 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 Bible Study is still going under a dedicated leadership.
Early in his ministry, Howell led mission and recreation programs at First Baptist Church of Beaumont. He later repeated this role in First Baptist Church of Shreveport, LA.
Stripling, executive director emeritus of the Waco Baptist Association, was ordained by his first pastorate, Emmanuel Baptist Church in White Oak, Texas.
Stripling received his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Baylor University. He also earned Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Dallas Baptist University.
Stripling has written numerous articles for the Sunday School Board, Southern Baptist Convention and other publications. His published books include: From Me to You, The Mustard Tree, Turning Points in the History of Baptist Associations in America 1707-2007, and Turning Points in the History of the Waco Regional Baptist Association 1860 – 2010.
Pastorates for Stripling include: Emmanuel Baptist, White Oak, Texas; First Baptist, Joshua, Texas; Baylor Baptist, Ennis, Texas; First Baptist, Golden Acres, Pasadena, Texas; and Gaston Avenue Baptist, Dallas, Texas. Stripling has also served as adjunct teacher at Baylor University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
The Texas Baptists Legacy Awards will be presented to these exceptional individuals at Independence Baptist Church in Brenham on Sunday, June 4. If you wish to attend the ceremony and lunch, contact Becky Brown at 214-828-5301.