Who’s going to say grace at Thanksgiving?—Baptist families in ministry

Four pastors in the Crosby family (left to right): Danny (First Baptist, Cleburne), Sam (First Baptist, San Saba), Tim (Trinity Baptist, Gatesville) and David (emeritus, First Baptist, New Orleans).

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Ask almost any Baptist minister about family, and you stand a good chance of hearing about fathers, grandfathers or great-grandfathers who were ministers.

My own family includes several pastors and missionaries on my mother’s side. My father-in-law was a pastor and is now a director of missions. I recently ate breakfast with a pastor who traces the pastorate back four generations in his family. Marv Knox, my predecessor here at the Baptist Standard comes from a family of ministers. We are just a few examples of the legacy of ministry in some Baptist families.

Danny Curry

In September 2018, I learned of the Crosby family coming together for their First Family Conference to celebrate at least 60 years of ministry by their family. Having known of the Crosbys and ministering in the same association as Danny, I wanted to know more. Joannah Buffington, daughter of Sam Crosby, compiled a list of family members in ministry, a small portion of which is included here.

Then I discovered the Curry family has a similar legacy and so invited them to be part of this story. Danny Curry thrilled in writing a history of his family legacy, some of which also is included here.

The Crosby family legacy

Russell and Donna Crosby raised 13 children during their 61 years of marriage, many of whom serve or have served in ministry. Their family now counts 72 grandchildren and 83 great-grandchildren.

The Crosby family was built on the deep faith of Russell and Donna and their commitment to serve the Lord and to lead their family to serve the Lord. Their abiding Christian faith is a living testimony of their devotion to Christ and the deliberate decision to practice Christian habits in their home that would shape the faith of generations to come.

Russell and Donna’s family has seen multiple children and grandchildren attend and graduate from Texas Baptist schools, including University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Baylor University, Hardin-Simmons University, Howard Payne University and Houston Baptist University; and Baptist seminaries, including New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Truett Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and others.

Today, members of the Crosby family are part of churches across the state of Texas and beyond as children and student volunteers, Sunday school teachers, deacons, elders and worship leaders, to name a few of the roles in which they serve.

Of the 13 Crosby children, four are pastors—Tim (Trinity Baptist, Gatesville); Danny, who is fluent in Spanish and electric bass (First Baptist, Cleburne); Jon (Turnersville Baptist); Sam (First Baptist, San Saba)—and David is pastor emeritus of First Baptist New Orleans, where he was the pastor during Hurricane Katrina.

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Four of the sons—Tom, Joe, James and Matt—have served on church staffs in other ministry positions, and three of the daughters are married to ministers.

Ten of the Crosby grandchildren are either serving in ministry positions or are preparing for them, and the importance of ministry continues to be evidenced among the Crosby great-grandchildren.

The Curry family legacy

Hugh Franklin Curry was ordained in Arkansas in 1878 and moved his family to MacGregor in 1883, where he organized several churches before heading out to the Texas frontier to serve as a Baptist General Convention of Texas missionary.

Hugh’s son, John, married the daughter of a pastor before becoming a pastor and associational missionary himself. John pastored numerous churches, many of them in West Texas.

Joseph Curry, one of John’s 11 children, moved out near the New Mexico border. During a meeting at the church he and his family attended in Plains, he and his son Billy Joe accepted Christ. Bill later attended Wayland Baptist University to prepare for ministry and was a pastor of churches in Texas and New Mexico, even trying to start a church in San Diego, Calif.

Eddy Curry

Bill’s son, Eddy, followed in his father’s footsteps, attending Wayland and serving as pastor of churches in Texas and Curry County, N.M. He also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and now serves as the education minister at Pioneer Drive Baptist in Abilene. Eddy’s son, Kade, attended Hardin-Simmons University and Logsdon and has been a Presbyterian minister in Texas and Arkansas.

Craig Curry

Another of Bill’s sons, Danny, also attended Wayland and pastored several churches throughout Texas before joining the BGCT staff as the area representative for Area 9, which stretches from Tarrant County to Wichita Falls and down to Stephenville.

Danny’s son, Craig, continues the Curry legacy as pastor of First Baptist in Plano. Craig already was leading in ministry before he attended Hardin-Simmons University and later Logsdon and Truett seminaries.


The Crosby and Curry families’ reach and dedication to Christian ministry truly are remarkable. Not only are their families shaped by the local church, missions and theological education, but they have shaped countless other families and individuals for the sake of Christ and will continue to do so for years to come.

This Thanksgiving, in many ministry families, the pastor at the table will be expected to say grace. But in the Crosby and Curry families, they may have to play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to decide which pastor will pray.

The following people contributed to this story: Joannah R. Buffington is the daughter of Sam Crosby and is the editor and social media coordinator in the office of the president at Houston Baptist University. Danny Crosby is pastor of First Baptist in Cleburne. Danny Curry is the area representative for area 9 of the BGCT. Eric Black is the executive director, publisher and editor of the Baptist Standard.

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