INDEPENDENCE—Veteran denominational leaders Bob Dixon and Paul Powell each received the Texas Baptist Legacy Award at historic Independence Baptist Church.
“When does a legacy begin?” asked Bryan Finley, a member of First Baptist Church at Kerrville and longtime Texas Baptist Men volunteer, when he led the Sunday morning Bible study at Independence. “Legacy begins by starting something God directed. It continues when others who are directed by God join the initiator who embraces them.”
Dixon was recognized for 30 years on the TBM staff, including 28 years as executive director.
“You’ll be amazed at what God can do with one, small bit of obedience,” Dixon said. “I’m grateful that the Father taught me early on that it’s his work and his kingdom. I’m just a recruiting director.”
Dixon pioneered disaster relief ministry among Southern Baptists, and the North American Mission Board annually presents an award named in his honor to volunteers involved in outstanding ministry to people affected by disaster.
“No one has done more for Texas Baptist Men and their work of ministering in times of disaster than Bob Dixon,” said David Hardage, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
The Texas Baptist Legacy Award represented an opportunity for Texas Baptists to “put an exclamation point” on Powell’s legacy, said Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, where Powell served as dean from 2001 to 2007.
“Some leaders have a deep impact in one area. Others have a widespread but shallow impact. Paul’s is both deep and wide,” Gregory said.
Powell, who has written more than 50 books, is a former BGCT president, former chief executive officer of GuideStone Financial Resources and regent chair at Baylor, and he has served as president of the Robert M. Rogers Foundation of Tyler.
He served 17 years as pastor at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler. He also was pastor of Texas Baptist churches in Belfalls, Troy, Taylor and San Marcos.
“To me, Paul Powell is Texas Baptists,” Hardage said.
Accepting the award, Powell quoted an African proverb he believes sums up his life’s work: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
He expressed certainty about two things—God put him in ministry, and God strengthened him for all he has done.
Independence Baptist Church is the oldest Texas Baptist church in continuous operation. Phil Hassell serves both as the church’s pastor and as curator of the adjacent Texas Baptist Historical Museum.
“In a church that birthed so much of Texas Baptists’ work and contains so much evolving history, there may be no better place to begin honoring those who started and continued a legacy,” Hardage said.