Alabama’s Roger Willmore celebrates 50 years in ‘unbelievable’ ministry

Alabama’s Roger Willmore celebrates 50 years in ‘unbelievable’ ministry

Roger Willmore took his grandmother’s hands to pray for her, just like he’d always done before when he’d visited her, and she started to weep.

“I asked her why she was crying and she said she had always prayed for me that I would become a Christian at a young age,” he said. “And she said that she’d always prayed that God would call me to preach.”

Fifty years later Willmore, who says he never imagined he would be able to speak in front of people, is looking back over the answer to his grandmother’s prayers — a rich half century of ministry.

“There’s only one word for what God has done — unbelievable,” he said. “I’m proof that whatever God calls you to do He gives you what you need to do it.”

Willmore, now associational missions director for Calhoun Baptist Association, has served 42 years as pastor of several Alabama Baptist churches. Through the years he’s served in various roles in Alabama Baptist and Southern Baptist life, including president of the state convention from 2006 to 2008 and as a trustee for the University of Mobile, Judson College in Marion and LifeWay Christian Resources.

He says a highlight of his ministry has been the mentorship of expository preacher Stephen Olford and getting to participate in Keswick conventions over the years. He’s preached in 15 countries, including Japan. Baptists there recently presented him with a certificate honoring him for 50 years in the ministry.

Willmore said he’s grateful for God’s blessings and for the support of his wife, Sandra, who has been there every step of the way.

“It’s a privilege to have been a pastor,” he said. “I hold that position in high esteem.” (Grace Thornton)