Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sharpsburg Baptist Church Awards Dr. Watson E. Mills Pastor Emeritus Status

Sharpsburg Baptist Church recently celebrated the legacy of their beloved pastor, Dr. Watson E. Mills, who retired June 22. At the time of his retirement banquet, former Mercer University “professor emeritus” had served SBC for 27 years, 5 months, 4 days, 6 ½ hours, but who’s counting? Several friends and colleagues “roasted” Dr. Mills at the banquet, among whom include Terry Daviston of McKoon Funeral Home and Dr. Rollin S. Armour, a former colleague from Mercer University’s Department of Religion.

The congregation surprised Dr. Mills on his last Sunday by granting “Pastor Emeritus” status. Deacons Bill Tinsley and Beth Clough presented the award during the invitation hymn and read the decree. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of “Emeritus” is: a veteran who has honorably completed his service. Also, “the giving of the honor celebrates the lifetime of ministry this person has performed, recognizes the conviction that ordination continues until life ends, and also brings honor to the congregation bestowing the title.”

Dr. Mills began pastoring SBC in 1981 while serving as Vice President of Research and Publication, as well as Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Mercer University in Macon. He commuted for 14+ years and ultimately moved to Coweta County in 1995. With Dr. Mills’ leadership, in 2000 SBC was able to build a worship, education and fellowship facility (11,200 square feet). Since that time the church has seen a growth of 150+ members. In 2003, SBC was recognized by the Georgia Baptist Convention as one of the fastest growing small Baptist churches in the state.

Mills has performed 200+ weddings, christenings and funerals, and provided pastoral care for members in all stages of life. He has delivered more than 1,075 sermons in Sharpsburg, as well as countries including the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Hungary and Switzerland. In 2004 he published The Vocabulary of the Faith, a collection of sermons delivered from the Sharpsburg pulpit. Additionally, he has published 130+ books and hundreds of articles during his career.

Among his many achievements, Dr. Mills also gave birth to the journal, Perspectives in Religious Studies. According to The National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, the first issue of Perspectives in Religious Studies appeared in 1974. “That year two issues were published, largely by the efforts and vision of Watson Mills, founder of the journal. The journal began as a ‘shoe box operation’ out of Mills' office at Averett College (and his garage). Later, graphics arts students at Chowan College, in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, honed their skills by publishing the fledgling journal as part of their course work.

In 1979 Watson Mills moved to Mercer University, in Macon, Georgia, to establish and build Mercer University Press. Naturally PRS moved with him. In the exciting atmosphere of a new venture, the journal matured rapidly. As the circulation of the journal in creased, the number of issues also increased. In 1976 three issues were published. Later, in 1984, the journal became a quarterly publication. By 1993 PRS could boast a circulation of over 700, including libraries in colleges, universities, and seminaries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. From humble beginnings the journal has gained an international readership in two decades. An index of the first fifteen years of PRS, edited by Watson E. Mills, was published in 1989.”

According to, Dr. Mills is ranked 52nd in the world, having traveled to 329 countries; and that number is about to increase, as he hit the “retirement trail” flying to Kyrgyzstan, China and India. SBC is proud to have had this amazing man as their spiritual leader for 27+ years. When people ask, “Where in the world is Dr. Watson Mills,” our response will be, “We hope back in Sharpsburg, Georgia near us and our hearts.,

1 comment:

Virginia said...

Dr. Mills' nieces are so proud of him and love him very much! Sandra, Karen, Cathy and Jaye