(Taken from American Preachers of To-Day by Edgar DeWitt Jones, 1933)
Thirty-five years as preacher and pastor of the same church and still giong strong, is a record. One must have a wealth of sermonic ability and a world of character stuff to stand the strain. In three decades the pastor of a large church would preach between three and four thousand sermons, marry about two thousand couples, conduct about the same number of funerals, hold thousands of conferences, attend myriad committee meetings, make annually a multitude of calls. Any way you look at it, here is a man’s job; and Dr. George W. Truett, minister of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, has to his credit this shining record.
Dr. Truett is numbered among the small group of powerful preachers in America. Some say he is the brightest star in the galaxy of sermonic geniuses among the Baptists. They are proud of him; no wonder. He is the preacher always, and a preacher of Christ. He never preaches any special sermons, or sermons to special groups. Not only so, but he never announces any subjects. It is enough to know that Dr. Truett will preach. What he preaches on or about is a secondary matter. His sermons are distinguished by clarity, earnestness, excellent illustrative material and evangelical fervor. He has been known to use the same sermon before thousands of a city’s most representative citizens in the municipal auditorium, before courses of students and before humble folks gathered in groves.
The people of Dallas generally call him “Dr. Truett,” but his own people usually address him as “Pastor.” He is away from home a great part of the time preaching, always preaching. He holds many evangelistic meetings. He has an iron constitution, appears to be in excellent health, is a tireless worker. His church is marvelously loyal both to him and the missionary interests of the whole wide world. His annual church budget prior to the depression was about two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars and nearly two hundred thousand dollars of this amount goes for missions, benevolences and educational work. Dr. Truett frequently preaches on giving. The doctrine of trusteeship is generally eaccepted by his congregation. They are a generous people and the spiritual pulse of the church is healthful. Prayer is stressed in this church; probably one out of every ten of the huge membership is competent to lead in public prayer.
Pastor Truett is a serious man but not austere or “bleak.” Brother ministers in Dallas call him “genial,” say he is an interesting conversationalist but not jocular and never frivolous. As he walks down the streets of Dallas, the citizens think, if they do not say it, “There goes a man.” Dr. Truett rarely speaks on civic affairs or takes part in meetings of general interest, but when he does it is an event, and Dallas listens. A man who preaches year in and year out in the same city, who holds many evangelistic meetings, must study, reflect, meditate. Dr. Truett does not have a study at the church and is seldom seen about the building except at the hour of services. He rarely attends the Sunday-School but occasionally he speaks at special meetings of the various groups of the congregation, and always on religious themes.
Returning to the gravity of Dr. Truett’s demeanor: a prominent deacon in one of the leading Baptist churches of the South is authority for the statement, “Dr. Truett has never been seen to smile.” Litterally this is not true, but there is some truth in it, and hereby hangs a story of heartbreak. Nearly everybody who knows Dr. Truett intimately is aware of the tragedy that came into his life when he was a young preacher and shortly after he went to Dallas. He was out hunting with one of the officers of his church and accidentally shot and killed him. He brooded over the accident, took it terribly to heart, and made adjustment by way of a high resoulution that he would abandon himself to just one thing–the preaching of the Gospel with every ounce of his strength, every atom of his personality. Such is the tragedy in the background of Dr. Truett’s life, the explanation of his serious face, and a certain noble somberness that distinguishes him from his fellows, his soul “a star that dwells apart.”
George W. Truett is a loyal Baptist, in a section where Baptists are Baptists. He believes without gainsaying that the Baptists have a special mission. But the man is greater than a denomination. He belongs to the Church Universal. One of his friends remembers having heard him say that he would get up in any hour of the night to defend any man, Jew, Catholic or what-not, whose religious liberty was being encroached upon. This same friend expresses the belief that Dr. Truett would like to see every man, woman and child in the world in the Baptist Church, and is doing all he can to bring that about. In times like the present it is refreshing to find so sturdy a defender of his own particular interpretation of Christianity, who at the same time finds something divine in every man, woman and child, and is measurably healping to usher in the great consummation.
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.