Dr. Clarence Sexton is the pastor Temple Baptist Church, the founder/President of Crown College of the Bible, the author of such books as Following Christ and Fishing for Men: Becoming a Faithful Witness, and my pastor for about one year in college.
I spent one year of my college career Crown College in Knoxville, TN and thus attended Temple Baptist Church. I am thankful for the many friends I met there, but am most thankful as this was the place God used to draw me to Himself. For years before my relationship with Christ was mostly external. I knew the words to say and the things to do to make sure people didn’t think badly of me. Yet, there was not much of a spiritual life to speak of and I knew it. I denied it for years, but through the preaching ministry at Crown, my years of running away ceased. God got a hold of me one night in my dorm room. After lights out one evening I waked into my dorm supervisor’s room and we talked and prayed. The running was now over. Then I could say with certainty, I am saved. God used the relentless Gospel-preaching of Crown College and Temple Baptist Church to bring me to Himself.
What I remember most about Dr. Sexton was his vision. This man was never content to let things stay the same or to merely maintain. No, he wanted to do great things for the Lord. He was always thinking of new and innovative ways to reach the World for Christ without compromise. He was quite methodical in his thinking. He taught us the nuts and bolts of ministry right down the the mundane things we never considered before, such as why Temple didn’t have pew Bibles or the role of ushers.
Yet, at the same time, he also wanted us to have a connection to our past, a rich Godly heritage that was not to be forsaken. He was big on church history and wanted to impart to us a deep respect for those who came before us, plowing the ground we now walk. A vision for the future and an appreciation for the past are things that not often found together which is what makes Dr. Sexton stand out in my mind.
Dr. Sexton, thank you for your desire to train young men like myself for ministry. Thank you for taking the risks to start new ministries and the providing a clear vision that inspired people to join with you. Thank you for showing me what leadership looks like.