Who was Batsell Barrett Baxter?
Batsell Barrett Baxter was an influential leader within the Churches of Christ. Baxter was the face of Herald of Truth on the television program that aired nation-wide in the 1960s and 1970s. He preached at the Hillsboro Church of Christ in Nashville (1951-80) where many of the congregational recordings were filmed. Baxter played a huge role in the Kingdom, and he left a legacy for all to follow. The impact of Baxter has been and will be felt for generations to come.
What is the Legacy Award?
Legacy is a powerful word. One of the dictionary definitions is “something of great value passed down.” When we hear that word, certain people come to mind. People who have left a legacy. Maybe you think of a grandparent, and ancestor or a mentor. Maybe you think of a preacher or an elder. Herald of Truth has chosen to name an award after Batsell Barrett Baxter to not only honor Brother Baxter for his legacy, but to also recognize individuals, congregations and/or ministries that have had a lasting impact on the Kingdom of God.
Vince Swinney served Herald of Truth on both the Board of Directors and as the President of HTM. After a successful career as a police officer and Denver, Colo. then as a commercial airline pilot, Swinney was an adjunct professor in the Abilene Christian University College of Business. While in Abilene, Swinney was asked to serve on the HTM Board of Directors. He later took over the presidency and secured a long-lasting future for the non-profit ministry at a time when HTM was struggling. HTM owes a large debt of gratitude to Vince Swinney for his efforts to keep this evangelistic ministry alive. For that reason, Swinney was the first recipient of the Batsell Barrett Baxter Legacy of Ministry Award.
Dr. Cecil May
Dr. Cecil May, Jr. was the dean of the V.P. Black College of Biblical Studies at Faulkner University for 15 years until May 2013. A graduate of Harding University with his bachelor’s degree and two master degrees, May was awarded an honorary LL.D. from Freed-Hardeman University. He also served as the president of Magnolia Bible College, Dean of Heritage Christian University and as a Bible teacher at Columbia Christian College. May also served in the pulpit and preaches and lectures around the southern United States. A prolific writer, May is recognized as a leader in the Churches of Christ who has taught and mentored thousands of preachers and Christians. He was the second Baxter recipient.
Dr. James Moore
Dr. James Moore’s legacy runs deep throughout Central Florida and throughout the United States. Moore has been involved in ministry through the founding of the Spiritual Growth Workshop (now Equip) and Sonquest, his work with children and parents at Mt. Dora Children’s Home and Mt. Dora Christian Academy, and his preaching. Moore has been a beacon for unity in the Churches of Christ in the state of Florida, and his efforts have been said to have helped with racial reconciliation throughout the Churches of Christ. Moore has helped teach thousands of individuals and strengthen their Christian walks. Because of his efforts, Moore was the third Baxter Legacy of Ministry Award recipient.
Hillsboro Church of Christ
Herald of Truth presented the Baxter Legacy of Ministry Award to Hillsboro Church of Christ for its longtime involvement with Herald of Truth and more importantly, for its desire and efforts to share the Good News across the ocean, across the nation and across the street. From 1951 until his retirement in 1980, Brother Baxter was the preacher at the Hillsboro congregation. Many of the congregational recordings for the HTM television show, both the the preaching and singing, were recorded here in the auditorium. When the television program stopped its filming, Hillsboro didn’t stop being a center of outreach for the Gospel. The leadership encourages people to be active in local missions. Because of its involvement with the HTM television program in the 1960s to its current partnership and involvement with Herald of Truth’s newest initiative Mission: Evangelize America, the Hillsboro Church of Christ continues to fill an important role of leadership in evangelistic efforts.
Jim and Mary Creech
Jim and Mary Creech have been a part of Herald of Truth for many years. Jim has served on the Board of Directors for many years after spending seveal years as a fundraiser and point man for the ministry. Mary has been an encourager and has worked tirelessly with Jim in the ministry. The couple has spent many years in service to God. Jim has served as a pulpit minister and chaplain in several different places. As one friend said, “that if anyone deserves this ministry, the Creech’s do.” And another said that the Creeches deserved this award because “it is truly a legacy that they leave behind as evidence of all the people they have come into contact with.”
Dr. Milton Sewell
Dr. Milton Sewell served as the president of Freed Hardeman University from 1990-2008, and is currently the chancellor of the University. Dr. Sewell has spent his career ministering to students from Mars Hill Bible School (Florence, Ala.) to FHU. After spending 10 years in public education, Dr. Sewell became the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at FHU before becoming the president at Mars Hill. He returned to FHU and has received numerous awards for his dedication to Christian education. His leadership has helped to further the Kingdom of God in many ways.
Steve Ridgell has served the Kingdom in many different ways. From youth and college minister to preacher and seminar instructor, Ridgell’s love to share the story of Jesus has been known and seen by many. Ridgell has been a longtime member of the HTM staff serving one time as its Vice President. He currently serves as the Director of Domestic Ministry, which has him traveling the country to equip people on how to tell Jesus stories to their friends, family and neighbors. Along with his part-time role at HTM, Ridgell serves as the Local Evangelism Minister at Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene, reaching the community with the story of Jesus.
Name an Honoree
If you would like to give in honor of someone who has left a legacy of ministry in your life and they are not listed above as one of the Baxter Legacy of Ministry Award recipients, you can honor them with a gift of at least $100, and their name will be listed on this page.
Just put their name in the “Comments” section on the form below:
Names submitted by people who have left an impact on their lives:
• Joe Barnett
• Batsell Barrett Baxter (honored by his son, Richard Alan Baxter)
• Randy Becton
• Cecil Bunch (honored by Dan and Deborah Goldsmith)
• John Allen Chalk
• W.T. Colburn (honored by Betty Colburn)
• Harold Hazelip
• Abe Lincoln
• Dolly Harris McKinney (honored by Janis Sneed)
• Bill McInroe (honored by Bob Reynolds)
• Richard Melton
• James Walter Nichols
• Glenn Owen
• Richard Rogers
• Landon Saunders
• Ken Stegall (honored by Carlton and Linda Merriman)
• Esther Wicker (honored by Fances Mays)
• James D. Willeford
• Carrie Louse Williams (honored by Dennis and Karen Williams)
• Dennis Williams (honored by Karen Elizabeth Thompson Williams)
• Walter Samuel Williams (honored by Dennis and Karen Williams)